March 25, 2020

You Are The Change; Wasatch Updates

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During this time we know that there are many people with very different struggles and hope all in our membership and community are staying healthy by adhering to recommendations from health professionals and governmental agencies.

Please let us know if there is anything we can do, or try to do to help pull the amazing Save Our Canyons community together to help you in this trying time (email ).

Last week's earthquake was an unwelcome occurrence, as have been the aftershocks, but it barely made the record skip in terms of projects being worked on. Visit our website for current issues and join in the conversation on our Instagram and Facebook pages for the latest on proposed Wilderness adjustments for the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, SOCKids, and Wilderness Stewardship and our public lands in the Wasatch

To me, there are several beacons of hope in all of this the primary is that I’m in awe of how quickly our communities fundamentally altered our behaviors. It is a good reminder that this is a time when the only innovation is self-determination, an alteration of habit, and affront to convenience and the norm, for the betterment of those in our community. I hope that as we face new challenges, be it with this pandemic, in our personal lives, with the health of our planet or here in the Wasatch, that we remember we are all in control of ourselves and that with collective action we can work toward a healthier future.

Secondly, a nod of thanks to our local elected leadership. Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, Salt Lake City Erin Mendenhall, and Mayor Erin Mendendall and their dedicated teams who have shown thoughtful and thorough guidance while managing two crises (State of Emergency due to COVID-19 and earthquakes). These issues have stressed our systems, but you wouldn’t know it. It seems for the time being we are being told to just stay put, when going out make sure to employ good social distancing in effort to cull the spread of disease as we work toward flattening the curve — act as if you have the virus and try to not spread, rather than acting healthy and avoiding to contract.

There has been a lot of confusing info out there about the status of the canyons. Actions at the National and State level, like making National Parks free and some county commissioners telling people to “go back to normal” confuse the public. We have always tried to call it like it is, and will continue to share info as we get it.

No, the canyons aren’t closed and your water is safe! However, many of our societal systems may be progressively stressed as we collectively work to #flattenthecurve.

We know, this goes against everything we stand for. Being outdoors is in our nature, it’s who we are, but right now, our community’s health is a greater need than our want to go out on the trails. Yesterday, driving by Sugarhouse park looked like the 4th of July – social distancing does not mean having a picnic at the park. 

We are working with our local community partners and the Forest Service to keep you up to date, but we would encourage you to give our canyons, government services, and workers time to regroup — #dontsressthesystem. 

When we are in a state of emergency and triage is the name of the game, some services are essential and some are elective. While it is important for us to maintain our health, physical and mental, let’s try to make choices that don’t unnecessarily add stresses to some of the elective services and systems. It might seem blasphemous, but recreational activities are certainly on the elective side of the scale.

For the time being, let’s try to take it easy as we try to grapple with global issues. Maintaining your health both physically and mentally, is critical. Just try to remember that recreation and exercise don’t always have to equal a trip to public lands. Try to embrace some of the unexpected benefits of this behavioral shift. Our air quality in the valleys has drastically improved, roads normally choked with cars are now much more pleasant to walk and bike upon. In my neighborhood, it seems like people walking to run errands or just walking for pleasure has increased 10 times. DO go out for bike rides and walks in your community - enjoy routes that have less auto traffic.

Here are a few important messages

  • Climbing: The Salt Lake Climbers Alliance is asking that people “Empty the Crags”. Climbing areas, due to the nature of the activity (sharing holds, ropes, proximity, etc) could lead to a spread of the virus. Please embrace this call to action.
  • Ski Areas: All of the Cottonwood and Park City Ski Areas are closed. Please consult resort websites about uphill access. Ski Utah put out some info about this a week ago, click here.
  • US Forest Service land message: "The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest is not closing the tri-canyon area to forest users, but we do support the efforts of our partners to minimize risk to visitors, the environment and employees.”

Save Our Canyons will be sending emails out and providing updates in various ways in the coming days, weeks, months. If you have been adamantly against social media, we encourage you that during this sensitive time you download Instagram and Facebook so you can join our virtual meetups to discuss current issues and campaigns in the Wasatch Mountains. Become our friend today on Facebook and follow us on Instagram (@saveourcanyons). Go view our new Instagram post today. 

We were heartened to get this reminder in an email from our forest supervisor over the weekend, “The mountains will still be there.” Indeed they will, and that gives us solace in a time of uncertainty.

Stay tuned, stay healthy and remember your behaviors can help take the stress off of stressed systems and our canyons! 

Keep your chin up. We are here for you and for the WasatchCarl Fisher

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