Wasatch Environmental Update for May 8, 2016
By John Worlock, Member of the Board of Directors of Save Our Canyons
Alta Ski Resort’s new insult to the Wasatch
If you go up Little Cottonwood Canyon this spring, as you approach the Alta Ski Area at the top of the canyon, you will begin to hear an ominous rumbling. It’s not dangerous, it’s just the response of the mountains to the latest insult of its human occupiers. That insult is the burden of our message today.
The Alta Ski Resort has recently proposed twelve amendments to its Master Development Plan, but one of them stands out as the insult to the mountains that has started the ominous rumbling. We’ll get back to it, but first talk about our responsibility for the future of the Central Wasatch.
Almost all of the Alta ski resort sits on public land under the governance of the U S Forest Service. Consequently all the “improvements” must be studied and analyzed by that agency under the provisions of the federal Environmental Policy Act, and that fact gives us, as citizens, a right and a responsibility to study and comment on the proposed changes.
To study Alta’s proposed changes in their ski resort, and to learn how to make your comments to the Forest Service, go to the website save our canyons dot org.
Some of the proposals in the Master Development Plan are more or less housekeeping, but some are dangerous as they involve the removal of vegetation, the building of roads, the creation of a new lake for the storage of snow-making water and the invasion into some Forest Service territory for new parking lots.
But nothing is as insulting to the mountains as the proposal to build a tram-line stretching from Germania Pass over to the top of Mt Baldy. Those of you who are familiar will understand that this tram would run across the iconic Mt Baldy Chutes, those nearly vertical snow-patches much beloved by those willing to hike up for the thrill of skiing down into the Ballroom. This tram would be an insult to skiers but also a blot on the iconic landscape of the ancient glacial cirque that is occupied by Alta.
Take a trip up the canyon to listen to the rumbling. Then go to save our canyons dot org, organize your thoughts, and tell the Forest Service!