November 13, 2019

Above and Beyond the Wasatch

By John Worlock

“Above and Beyond the Wasatch”

            For close to half a century, our organization, Save Our Canyons has focused its attention to the Wasatch Range, and more specifically, the Central Wasatch, and even more specifically, the special canyons that have given citizens of Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake Valley the immediate access to mountain recreation and solitude.

We speak, of course of the Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons and the Mill Creek Canyon.  Those are the canyons we have, according to our name, been trying to save.

            We’re still trying, and much of our attention today is focused on the proposed federal legislation called the Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Act.  It is the natural offspring of the multi-year and multi-partner project called the Mountain Accord, intended to arrest the piece-meal commercial development of those beautiful canyons, leaving them wild and welcoming to those seeking the restoration of spirit that they offer.

            Please go to the website of the Central Wasatch Commission to learn more about that important legislation.  While you’re at it, go to saveourcanyons dot org and see what Save Our Canyons would like you to do to ensure its congressional success.

            But now, let’s take a wider view and ask what is the origin of the threats to our natural environment.  It doesn’t take a wizard to see that our opponent is the widely accepted ambition forGrowth.  Our ski resorts claim to need more space and infrastructure in response to what they see as Pressureto accommodate the growing numbers of people seeking the Best Snow on Earth.  Nearby, the Great Salt Lake is threatened by a plan to divert its benevolent Bear River to support the presumably desirable Growth of housing and business in the Salt Lake Valley. 

            Regulators and planners have no answer to this commercial drive for more houses, more businesses, more traffic, as exemplified by the proposal to use tax incentives to grow the Utah Inland Port.

            We are horrified to think what our lives will be in thirty years when the population of the Wasatch Front has, according to predictions, doubled.  It is time to find the brake-lever and suppress the dangerous need for Growth.