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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Ski & Snowboard News / Alta's spin on Mountain Accord

Mar 04, 2015 07:44PM ● By Harriet Wallis

photo: Harriet Wallis

What is Mountain Accord? It's a multi-phase initiative that seeks to make critical decisions regarding the future of the central Wasatch Mountains. It will focus on four areas: environment, recreation, transportation, and economy. Mountain Accord is a collaboration between public and private interests, including state and local governments, federal agencies, and business and grassroots organizations.

Mountain Accord recently released a draft blueprint of their direction for a 40 day public comment period that goes until March 16.

The Blueprint’s goal is to meet Mountain Accord’s purposes, which include responsible stewardship of natural resources, preservation of quality recreation experiences, establishing an environmentally sustainable transportation system, and contributing to a vibrant economy.

 For Alta Ski Area’s part, we will try to balance the recommendations of the four system groups of Mountain Accord with the hope that at the end of the project we can still have a high quality ski area and summer recreation place for you to enjoy. Additionally, we will take great care to preserve your watershed and forest health, while at the same time working to improve transportation for all of us in and out of the canyon. Lastly, we will try to maintain or improve a position for our company that keeps us economically sustainable so we can continue to offer high quality recreation. 

We have not offered up recommendation about a transportation option, only that we would like to see a more reliable, avalanche resistant option. We will leave transportation planning to the experts.

As part of the Mountain Accord process we may be able to pursue a land trade that could do two things:

Trade our upper mountain private lands for Forest Service base area lands. This would get the Forest Service out of base area development issues to best focus on forest health and recreation. The trade would allow us planning flexibility to deal with base area issues such as a possible transit center with the Town of Alta.

Trade 120 acres of our land to the Forest Service to be dedicated to uses other than commercial skiing and allow the public to own and control land from State Highway 210 to the Emma Ridge-something that does not exist today.

We are still working with the Forest Service, Salt Lake City, the Town of Alta, Save Our Canyons and other user groups relative to Grizzly Gulch. Today we own most of the land to the top of Grizzly Gulch where it joins up with Solitude. We are all working to see if there is an acceptable replacement for us ever giving up that land.

The Mountain Accord website has a wealth of additional information to help you stay informed on this important quality of life issue. 

Best Regards,

Onno Wieringa, Alta's Mountain Manager