December 09, 2021

Proposed Limestone Mine Threatens The Wasatch and Parley's Canyon

Recently, a 600+ acre limestone quarrying and mining operation application was filed before the Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining (DOGM). The area north of Grandeur Peak and Mount Aire, in Parley’s Canyon, once dug, blasted, and hauled away would be permanently scarred. Leaving our communities including non-human populations to live with the degraded habitat, water, and air. 

On December 10, the Salt Lake County Council unanimously voted on an amendment to an ordinance to eliminate mineral extraction and processing as a conditional use from the Forestry and Recreation Zones (FRZ). You can find the proposed ordinance and the Mineral Extraction Ordinance HERE

These types of extractive and impactful uses should be prohibited from the Wasatch’s Canyons. We are asking for your support to make that a reality. With the Utah Legislative Session beginning in January, as well as the ongoing county and state processes, securing funding for legal counsel to help us engage with this process at the correct and effective times is our best defense. Support the protection of Parley’s Canyon by making a donation.

Save Our Canyons, along with support from other organizations and residents believe we should be protecting these ecosystems for all that depend upon it. This is why we need strong policy and environmental regulations to be implemented and upheld so we can restore and preserve the Wasatch Mountains for current and future generations. 

Some people have pointed out the fact that Parley’s Canyon is already a main transportation artery or see it as significantly impacted habitat so why act to prevent this mine and protect the land? 

  • Wildlife Populations and Habitat: The area proposed to be mined is high quality habitat and migratory corridor for a variety of species. Elk, moose, black bear, mountain lion, as well as species like the golden eagle, three toed woodpecker, and the endangered Canada lynx are found there. While the company provides a fairly extensive list of animals, it’s silent about many of our other vulnerable friends: the porcupines, the red foxes, the tiny saw-whet owls, shy long-tailed weasels, flying squirrels, pollinating bees, skunks, grouse, hummingbirds, the susceptible Bonneville cutthroat trout. 
  • Recreation: Impacts to year-round recreation on land surrounding the proposed mine, including hiking trails on the northern hip of Grandeur Peak (from beneath which the company intends to extract rock), the Wasatch Trail, Parley’s Historic Nature Park, rock climbing wall The Iron Curtain, and the Parley’s Trail, as well as many bike paths, nature trails, and campgrounds in Millcreek Canyon will be significant. 
  • Traffic and Safety:  If approved over the initial 3-5 years, 500,000 tons of rock would be trucked down Parley's Canyon. This would increase to 2 millions tons after 5 years. Truck traffic, as well as stray rocks and gravel on the highway, pose a material risk to the 60,000+ vehicles that navigate I-80 past the mine site on a daily basis.
  • Wildfire: Extreme drought has created a wildfire risk that has taxed land managers across the west. Potential wildfire sparked by any one of the hundreds of industrial 18-wheelers driving off-highway during dry months could threaten the adjacent Mt. Aire community as well as the entire sub-range which extends to Millcreek Canyon, Summit Park, Lambs Canyon, and beyond. 
  • Air Quality: Fugitive dust is dust that is not emitted from definable point sources, such as industrial smokestacks. Sources include open fields, roadways, and construction sites. Windblown dust blowing off open pit mines contains coarse and fine particulate matter pollution that causes serious health effects such as increased hospitalizations, asthma attacks, lung disease, cancer, heart attacks, strokes and premature death. The dust also picks up toxic materials created by urban and industrial activities, such as heavy metals. 
  • Water: The Wasatch Mountains are our watershed. The application does not state quantity of water to be used however, the proposed mining operation would require significant clean water to control "fugitive dust" from impacting our communities.

For almost 50 years Save Our Canyons has worked to address capacity, conservation, and impacts from a growing populations on the Wasatch Range. This is a much larger issue for the Wasatch and our region. Save Our Canyons continues to work with government, elected officials, and members of the community to gather information and answer important questions about this proposed mine. We encourage you to learn more, sign our Parley's Canyon petition, contact your local officials, and share these resources with your friends, family, or neighbors. 

Parley's Canyon Updates 

Parley's Canyon Resources

Donate to Protect Parley's Canyon

Sign Our Parley's Canyon Petition