Grace Tyler

Grace Tyler

Wasatch Environmental Update for February 16, 2020

By John Worlock

Celebrating Wilderness - The Lone Peak Wilderness Party - 2020

         In these days of burgeoning population, Wilderness is no longer just a wild place with no human inhabitants.   A Wilderness Area must be so designated by an act of Congress, after which that patch of the earth is to be protected from human habitation and exploitation.

         We are wildly fortunate to have three such wilderness areas within sight and easy reach of the Salt Lake Valley.  That’s what you see when you look at the Wasatch Range from anywhere in the valley: reading from right to left, the Lone Peak Wilderness, the Twin Peaks Wilderness, and the Mount Olympus Wilderness.

         Save Our Canyons is working hard to get Congress to designate more Wilderness, but in the meantime we like to celebrate what we have already achieved.

         Here comes the celebration, then, and you are invited to participate. It’s the 18th annual Lone Peak Wilderness Celebration, on Saturday, March 7th.  Don’t rush around to get a pen and paper - you can get the details anytime on the website saveourcanyons.org. But put it in the back of your mind:  Saturday, March 7th.  The venue is a new one for us, at The Garden Place at This is the Place Heritage Center, on Sunnyside Avenue, out east of town on the road to Emigration Canyon.

         As you might have guessed, this celebration is also a fundraiser for the work of Save Our Canyons, which is dedicated to keeping those nearby Wasatch Canyons wild and beautiful. It is sponsored by Kuhl, the outdoor clothing folks, and there will be food from Mazza, the local middle eastern restaurant, plus drinks galore and live music throughout the evening.

         A silent auction will offer you a variety of bargains, including outdoor gear for your exploration of the Wasatch Canyons, art for decorating your home., an a night at the Opera!

         Here is how to get your tickets: one, on the website by clicking here or two. call us at 801-363-7283.

          Somehow just do it! Come out for Save Our Canyons’s Lone Peak Wilderness Celebration on Saturday March 7th.

Central Wasatch Commission "Mountain Transportation System Plan" Public Comment due on Sunday, March 1

February 11, 2020

The Scourge of Growth!

Wasatch Environmental Update for February 9, 2020

By John Worlock

The Scourge of Growth!

 

Growth is Good, isn’t it?  Yes, indeed, it is if you are a teenage aspiring athlete.  But I want to talk today about the Counties on Utah’s Wasatch Front.

How might a county grow?  A county has fixed borders, and possesses a fixed number of square miles.  But under the right circumstanees, it can grow.

When the Saints first came to Wasatch Front, they flourished, and they grew, occupying

 a pretty empty piece of property –that is to say, not quite but almost empty of human population.  Growth was a natural enterprise, growing not only population but also the enterprises that would house and feed the growing population.  That was growth, and it was good, I grant.

But now we have arrived at the year 2020, and the finiteness of the land, the water and the air above are beginning to suggest to some of us that further growth is unhealthy.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, in her recent message to her constituents, remarked throughout about the challenges of the county’s growth.  She knows that the roadways are often crowded with crawling and stalled traffic, adding to the hydrocarbon and particulate poisons in the air that threaten our health and even our lives.  Water authorities threaten to divert the streams sustaining the Great Salt Lake, leaving it high and dry and adding further to the air pollution. This water would slake the growing thirst of industries, people and even lawns on the Wasatch Front.

A new threat has recently sprung up, in the form of a proposed Inland Port, to be constructed in the northwest quadrant of Salt Lake City. Many of our leaders seem to believe that this dangerous concentration of trucks, trains, and other enterprises, is needed to accommodate the growth of not only the Wasatch Front, but the whole intermountain region, stretching over several states.  They are willing to sacrifice significant taxation income to this enterprise.

What is forgotten in the discussion is that such an Inland Port will not just serve the region, but will in fact stimulate even further growth.  I submit that it is both unnecessary and unwise to encourage further Growth on the Wasatch Front.

Pivot RnD, a Utah based gear development company stepped up their support this year by creating custom Save Our Canyons fanny packs and backpacks. Lead Designer CJ Whitaker reached out to SOC with the idea to get more mileage out of their annual donation to the organization by sourcing seconds from the materials they use in the development of their products to create these colorful, custom bags for your Urban and Backcountry needs.  

We have found these backpacks to be the perfect carrying device to get you from your home and onto the UTA Ski Bus! This Pivot RnD backpack fits your ski helmet, gloves, goggles, buffs, favorite snack/drink, and the quintessential phone,keys, wallet. 

Flashy and functional — we’re excited to have these bags to help us create more visibility for the organization, while raising funds that will go towards watershed protection, land use planning, recreation and transportation, public land protection, and ski area projects. All of backpacks and fanny packs are limited edition — so grab them while we have them! 

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Backpacks For Sale

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Fanny Packs For Sale 

We're excited to unite around our shared resources in the Wasatch Mountains during our 18th Annual Lone Peak Celebration, Presented by KÜHL, on March 7 at 6:30pm. This event is a fundraiser event benefiting Save Our Canyons and held at The Garden Place at Heritage Park.

Tickets are on sale now! 

Please use your membership code during checkout sent in our Action Alert Email Titled, "Thank You For Being A Member Of Save Our Canyons!". 

To get membership pricing all you need to do is renew/join our membership program today for $35 a year or $5 a month and we will send the discount code for your Lone Peak Tickets!

Finding where to enter the code on our ticketing page can be kind of hard. If you have any issues using your code contact or  801.363.7283! 

Here are step by step directions: 

 

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On this episode of The Utah Stories Show, our Executive Director Carl Fisher, got to talk about what can be done to further protect Little Cottonwood Canyon and other Utah canyons from the massive growth Utah is currently experiencing. 

Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah is synonymous with wilderness, natural beauty, remote uncultivated regions still in natural conditions—and recreating.It’s been forecasted that by the year 2060, Utah will have an estimated population of 6.84 million. Compare that to today’s estimated 3.22 million.

Yet today, 2019, the environmental infrastructure in place to accommodate both the protection of Little Cottonwood Canyon’s natural beauty and protect what’s left of it, as well as preserving the people’s rights to enjoy that which belongs to everybody as much as they wish,  is untenable. Something needs to be done about it, but what?

Little Cottonwood Canyon is under threat by Utah’s population boom September 10, 2019 by Arvid Keeson.

 

 

Compiled by Save Our Canyons for consideration and reference to inform the Draft Statement of Purpose and Need for Little Cottonwood Canyon Environmental Impact Study (EIS). Wasatch Mountain transportation recommendations from 30 years of study and planning.

pdfLCC Purpose Need Screening Comments

pdfSave Our Canyons UDOT EIS Reference and Citations

Wasatch Environmental Update for December 15, 2019

By John Worlock

Comments for Little Cottonwood EIS in 2019

Here are some words from those preparing the Environmental Impact Statement for traffic in Little Cottonwood Canyon:

“The purpose of the EIS is not to increase or decrease the number of people in the canyon. Rather, the underlying purpose is to solve a transportation issue that affects local travel and recreation and tourism experiences.

The USDA Forest Service has determined that many areas on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest may handle increased use, without significant resource impacts, while maintaining quality recreation experiences for visitors, and is therefore not presently considering limiting access.”

The comment period for the Little Cottonwood Environmental Impact Statement ended last Friday, December 13, but I thought you’d like to know what I told them about future traffic in Little Cottonwood Canyon.  Here’s my statement:

 “We are fortunate that there is a single public access point to the Little Cottonwood Canyon.  We must begin to plan NOW for the near future when we will have to limit human access into the canyon.  The Forest Service must begin the process of determining the ‘carrying capacity’ of the canyon's finite resources.  Plunging ahead with plans to increase without limit the numbers of humans entering the canyon is insane.  Zion and Yosemite National Parks learned this lesson long ago, and Arches is trying to learn it right now.  We should begin to think about electronic links between the canyon's mouth and some of the crucial access points, such as trailheads, resort parking lots and avalanche barriers.  There IS A LIMIT to the tourism that the canyon can entertain without serious degradation of its special, and precious, characteristics.  More buses and fewer cars might be a satisfactory stop-gap solution, but eventually there must be limits to visitation.  We are told of predicted Salt Lake Valley population increases of 50%.  It should be obvious that Little Cottonwood Canyon cannot support similar increases in visitation. 

So we need to begin to plan NOW to find the policies and practices that will be activated to preserve ‘the Wildness and the Beauty’ of Little Cottonwood Canyon.”

Just my own personal thoughts and hopes about the future of Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Wasatch Environmental Update for December 8, 2019

By John Worlock

The National Environmental Policy Act at 50

When we celebrate the New Year this year on January First, we will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of The National Environmental Policy Act, popularly known as NEPA.  It was signed by President Nixon in the heady days of emerging environmental awareness.  Nixon is quoted as suggesting that with NEPA,  “America pays its debt to the past by reclaiming the purity of its air, its water and our living environment.”

Adam Sowards, an environmental historian, writing in High Country News, tells us of NEPA’s optimistic promises, but then gives us a sobering analysis of NEPA’s significance and its disappointing development over its five decades.  It started with the belief that economic growth, environmental protection and human welfare could live in productive harmony.

But the procedural hurdle of the Environmental Impact Statement changed the ways federal agencies made their plans, requiring interdisciplinary studies and inviting public comment, in order to protect what the law calls “productive harmony.”

It didn’t take long for the courts to make the goals of NEPA flexible so that by 1989 agencies were no longer forbidden to undertake unwise activities, but only uninformed ones.  Thus Environmental Impact Statements are required, and options laid out, but agencies don’t have to choose the best one.

And so it stands.  Agencies must still go through the costly and time-consuming processes of preparing Environmental Impact Statements.  They are still valuable, especially to environmentalists, as the discovery and explication of a region’s environmental characteristics is worthwhile just by itself.

But there are current attempts to gut the NEPA even further, for example, exempting the Forest Service from its rules.  They can argue that, underfunded and  understaffed as they are, they cannot afford the expense and the delay.  The counter to that argument is that a nation that values its environment should provide the resources to protect it. 

In closing we’ll quote NEPA’s opening section, which asserts that “ each person should enjoy a healthful environment, and each person has a responsibility to contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the environment.”

It’s time for  us to get together and add to our environmental responsibilities, that of reviving the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970.

Dozens of movies ranging from Wall-E to Blade Runner have depicted a population that has ruined all ecosystems and filled the world with trash – among other things. The levels of garbage that we produce has humans is overwhelming. A World Bank report projects that the amount of solid waste we generate on earth will double by the year 2025. If current trends continue, we are likely to go from 3.5 million tons to 6 million tons per day by that point. If that’s not bad enough, the figures predict that trash production will only keep growing for the foreseeable future. 

Plastic, it turns out, is a much worse and more immediate problem for ocean life than climate change. It’s clogging waterways, leading to flooding in underdeveloped nations. It’s killing birds and fish who consume it, and much much more. Our abundance of trash isn’t just impacting oceans, but the Wasatch Mountains as well. 

This past year during our Wilderness Stewardship Project we picked up three (42 gallon) bags of trash within Lone Peak Wilderness Designation Area and 21 (42 gallon) bags of trash during five highway clean-ups — averaging over 300 pounds of trash within the Wasatch Mountains that we removed! We are not the only ones within the community concerned about the levels of trash entering into the Wasatch. On average during the summer we are tagged in over 30 Instagram posts highlighting trash in our watershed, and over 67 posts encouraging people to practice the 7 Leave No Trace Principles. 

Between water bottles, coffee cups, and beer cans explorers of the Wasatch are setup to create garbage unless they have the correct tools. Lucky for you, we have created a partnership with Liberty Works to produce custom Save Our Canyons 20oz, 32oz, and 64oz bottles to help reduce waste in the Wasatch and beyond! Eliminating single use products is our best defense against the problem of trash in the canyons. We have also integrated the 7 Leave No Trace Principles within our Wilderness Stewardship Project and SOCKids programs. 

When purchasing one of the Save Our Canyons Liberty Karma bottles 10% will be donated back to Save Our Canyons to help protect your backcountry lines, crags, trails, and water quality.

Buy Yourself Something Nice Today

Next time you stop to get coffee before climbing up Little Cottonwood Canyon use our SOC coffee thermos. Or before you head out into Lone Peak Wilderness fill up our 32oz water bottle that not only helps to reduce waste, but also helps to show your support for #KeepingGrizzlyGulchWild. Then stop by your favorite hydration station to fill up our 64oz growler with your favorite brew. 

We would like to give a big thank you to Liberty Works for contacting us about the partnership and for creating these amazing items. Let’s end 2019 by taking a strong stance against trash in the Wasatch Mountains.

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