January 28, 2022

Parley’s Canyon Update

Many simultaneous processes are unfolding on the mining proposal in Parley’s Canyon. This project threatens so much of what our region holds dear: land, water, wildlife, air quality, and persevering the majesty of the Wasatch, to name a few. At a proposed size of 600+ acres, after being dug, blasted, and hauled away, the areas north of Grandeur Peak and Mt Aire would be permanently scarred. Leaving our communities including non-human populations to live with the degraded habitat, water, and air. 

Into the Smog by Maeve Reiss

Over the past few weeks, the Save Our Canyons community has generated over 7,000 comments to state and county officials on the Parley’s mine. Of course this is in addition to the nearly 25,000 people who have signed a petition demanding Gov. Cox protect Parleys Canyon from a damaging mine. As a community, you’ve taken over 32,000 meaningful actions to protect Parley’s Canyon from a destructive mining proposal. 

While the County has been responsive and on Tuesday April 11, 2022 formalized an ordinance prohibiting new mining and gravel pits in the Wasatch, the State as they are on most issues concerning public and environmental health is disturbingly absent. It begs the question, how many people need to petition the State of Utah to protect our land, air and water? They respond to one developer and their politically connected operator Granite Construction who made a $10,000 contribution to the Utah Republican Party shortly before being announce as the operator and the 2022 Legislative Session, but ignore the pleas of tens of thousands of Utahns who have to live with the ramifications of Utah’s hostility toward protecting our environment. 

So what is going on with the Parley’s Mine proposal and what are the next possible actions. In March, the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM) rejected a request for policy review on Small Mining Operations (SMO) and granted a request by Tree Farm to withdraw their simultaneous applications for an SMO and Large Mining Operation (LMO) then granting them the ability to resubmit the SMO separately. This procedural sleight of hand effectively requires DOGM to advance analysis of the SMO, ignoring the LMO which they reserve the right to refile — but DOGM cannot evaluate the impacts as thoroughly as SMO’s are in effect a rubber stamp exercise. 

Save Our Canyons will continue to monitor the state agencies DOGM,  Division of Air Quality and Division of Water Quality, and post updates with pertinent info and actions to protect the wildness and beauty of the Wasatch Mountains and our beloved canyons and foothills. 

The million dollar question is — will the State of Utah, Tree Farm LLC, and Granite Construction recognize and respect Salt Lake County’s ordinances and our communities overwhelming conviction to protect our lands, our air and our water — Our Canyons?

SOC supports the following revisions of Salt Lake County Ordinances:

  • It prohibits the uses of “mineral extraction and processing; mine; quarry; gravel pit; including crushers or concrete batching plants used in connection with and as part of an operation for the removal of sand, gravel and/or rock aggregate in the Forest Recreation Zone and in the Foothills and Canyons Overlay Zone." 
  • It establishes a process for the County planning director to decide whether or not a use not listed is prohibited or related to a conditional or permitted use in the relevant ordinances.
  • pdfMineral Extraction Ordinance

On December 10, 2021, the Salt Lake County Council unanimously initiated an ordinance change to two important zones that govern land use in the Wasatch Mountains of Salt Lake County - the Forest Recreation Zone (FR) and the Foothills and Canyons Overlay Zone (FCOZ). As long time members and supporters of Save Our Canyons know, we need policies that protect the Wasatch and while these changes are not as exhaustive as we'd hope, they are needed. 

In February, Salt Lake County held two public hearings before the Salt Lake County Planning Commissions and Mountainous Planning Commission, where 100% of the public comment was in support of the proposed changes to the ordinances. 

We understand that this process can be complicated, which is why we created a Parley’s Resource page, for more information about this process, a breakdown of all acronyms you might be unfamiliar with, and additional resources.  

This is a much larger issue for the Wasatch and our region. Save Our Canyons continues to work with the government, elected officials, and members of the community to gather information and answer important questions about this proposed mine. 

Parley's Canyon Resources

Donate to Protect Parley's Canyon

Sign Our Parley's Canyon Petition