Central Wasatch Commission Holding Tuesday Evening Public Forum

Sep 10, 2019

The Central Wasatch Commission is hosting a public forum Tuesday evening at Park City High School. The commission is looking to protect parts of Big and Little Cottonwood canyons. They’re also looking to protect an area in Summit County.

The Central Wasatch Commission is hosting a public forum Tuesday evening at Park City High School. The commission is looking to protect parts of Big and Little Cottonwood canyons. They’re also looking to protect an area in Summit County.

The Central Wasatch Commission, or CWC, is a regional governmental entity created to help draft federal legislation to conserve the Wasatch Mountain range. Summit County is represented on the commission by Chris Robinson, while Mayor Andy Beerman represents Park City. Although a large portion of the proposed Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area make up land in Salt Lake County. A small portion of the area does include Summit County. CWC Executive Director Ralph Becker explains.

“There’s a piece of federal land, Forest Service land, the Monitors area that would be protected as forestland and limited in terms of any future development,” Becker said. “So, it's currently used heavily for dispersed recreation purposes and this would assure that continues.”

The 975 acres of the Monitors area is currently forest service land with protections on it. Summit County Council member Chris Robinson says including the land in the legislative act would result in greater protections for the area.

“The Forest Service drew its boundary following section lines and stuff and the County line follows ridge lines,” Robinson explained. “So, there's this strip of land that’s above Park City Mountain Resort. There’s a general plan in the Forest Service lingo that prevents it from being expanded into by the resort but this would add another layer of protection. I can remember very well several years ago, when we were involved with the Mountain Accord of which this is the successor, that the public was very excited to see that we were adding additional protections to this very favored backcountry area.”

Right now there are no plans to develop the area but Robinson notes that the forest plan could be changed through lobbying, if a congressional act was passed that would make development of the area that much more difficult. Becker adds that the other reason Summit County residents should be invested in the area is because the two regions are tied together.

“These mountains are a regional resource for all of us,” Becker continued. “Whether you think of it economically, or the transportation issues are now interwoven. Watershed issues are tied together a lot of the water from Park City actually comes from the other side of the mountain and comes out through mine tunnels over here. It's much more a function of we are now a region. Thirty-years-ago you could say well the Wasatch Front, the Wasatch Back as it relates to these mountains are separated. Today that's not true. People from Park City recreate over on the Salt Lake side and people from the Salt Lake side recreate over on the Summit County and Wasatch County side.”

Becker says that the legislation is getting close to being ready. You can find the draft legislation at CWC.Utah.gov.  The Tuesday meeting will take place in the Cafeteria at Park City High School at 6:00 pm. Those unable to attend can find comment opportunities on the CWC’s website through September 19th.