Central Wasatch Commission/Mountain Accord

Here are the GCC documents regarding the Mountain Accord-to-Central Wasatch Commission Interlocal Agreement proposal. These are the documents presented to the SLCo Council at the “Townhall (public hearing) Meeting” on 15 Nov. 2016.

The file will download to your computer when you ‘click’ on it.






The latest (March 2015) message that I received from the Mountain Accord Program Manager is as follows, with links to the ‘final Accord’ documents:

“System Group Members:

I want to personally thank each of you for all the time and effort you have invested to make the Mountain Accord happen.  We have reached a major milestone and we couldn’t have done it without you.  I hope you will take a moment to read the culminating product of the last year of work and negotiations – the Final Accord is attached and will be posted to the website tomorrow. You have been a part of a one-of-a-kind effort that has been 30 years in the making.  I extend a sincere thank you each and every one of you for your contribution to preserving the Central Wasatch.

Feel free to join us for the Executive Board meeting Monday July 13, 2:30 at Sandy City Hall (Multi-Purpose Room), where we anticipate the Executive Board will approve the Accord. And look for an invitation to a (much more fun) signing event later this month.

Laynee Jones, Mountain Accord Program Manager

801-231-1160 cell”

Links: Final Accord July 9 2015, Draft Legislation, Mountain Accord Maps

“Mountain Accord”               http://mountainaccord.com/

is a term that people have been talking a lot about recently and wondering how this group of people may make decisions that will affect them.

Who are these “people?”  Go to:       http://mountainaccord.com/contact/

Latest report on Mountain Accord Proposed Blueprint: I attended the Mountain Accord public meeting and Q&A last night (2/11/15),  took some notes and looked further at their website.

I invited Laynee Jones, Mountain Accord (MA) Program Manager, at their last community council meeting to attend a Granite Community Council meeting soon.  She said she’d be happy to and we expect to have her at our next, March 4th meeting, 7 pm, Metropolitan Water District office on Danish Road.  Please come and bring your questions.  The timing will be ideal as their public comment period ends on Mar. 16.

The next public meeting of MA is on Feb. 25 at Skyline High School, from 6 to 8:30 pm.

The MA website, mountainaccord.com, now has the proposed blueprint on it, so please take a look, particularly since some of my notes below refer to it. The proposed blueprint
attempts to balance all of the 4 system group areas’ goals: environment, economy,
recreation, and transportation.  You can make comments directly on the website, at the
public meetings, or at our council meeting.

The main components of the blueprint: 1) preserve watershed and recreational environment. Only want development at base of ski areas. Want federal lands protected. 2) expand the recreational trail network. 3) economic and recreation centers are noted (on maps), including Sandy, Draper, and South Jordan. 4) we want high quality transit alternatives.

The panel members included Ralph Becker, Dave Whittediend (USFS supervisor), Andy Beerman (Park City Councilmember), Carl Fisher (Save Our Canyons), and Ski Utah.

The panel participant representing Ski Utah, Nathan Rafferty, noted that the ski industry
depends on snow, connectivity, and accessibility.  Accessibility is becoming an
ever-increasing problem with car traffic in the canyons. If people get stuck for 90
minutes going to or coming from a resort here, they’ll go elsewhere.

When you look at the MA website, select the ‘proposed blueprint’ and look at page 4, on
the right, to see the map of private lands vs. public lands, as one of their goals is to
change some of these out, to be more effective.  Also, a rather large expansion of
protected (by those nasty feds!! eek) lands from the Wasatch Front to the Wasatch Back
(Summit Co) is a goal.

Nathan was asked why they want to connect the 7 ski resorts in our canyons and he
responded: 1) marketing–having the ability to connect 7 very distinct ski experiences
with one visit to Utah gives us an edge over our competitors in Colorado, Calif, Canada.
2) it provides transportation efficiencies. 3) it provides safety improvements, e.g.,
evacuation of canyon after avalanche or other disasters (earthquake, overturned oil
trucks, etc.).

The proposal would include, not ski lifts between canyons, but tunnels connecting Little
to Big and Big to Summit County.  Although ‘transportation management’ strategies will
help with short-term improvements (incentives to drivers who carpool, disincentives for
single occupancy vehicles (SOV) like high parking fees in ALL of the canyons, etc.), both
bus rapid transit and rail are proposed for Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC). [At a bicycle planning meeting, also on 2/11, Danny Paige of UDOT reported that in a recent study, 60-80% of vehicles traveling up LCC were SOV’s.]

No tram up LCC is proposed due to slow travel times.  Also, improving Guardsmans Pass for winter travel has been tossed from consideration (see rationale on website: first see
page 8 for transportation stuff, then click on left: corridor purposes and alternatives.
Also look at frequently asked questions (FAQ), p. 6.

I was somewhat surprised to see that rail up Parley’s directly to Park City was not in
the plan, but rather just the rail from either Murray/Cottonwood Heights down Wasatch, up LCC or from Sandy straight up LCC were being proposed.  Summit County folks had seemed quite adamant about getting rail service directly from the airport to Park City, but I guess that suggests who maybe has more political clout, with regard to having perhaps a
more fair distribution of the tourist dollars.

But, those of you who live along LCC Road, don’t put your houses up for sale yet!  Once
this stage of the work is completed in April, it goes into the NEPA (Nat’l Environ. Prot.
Act) and EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) process, which are expected to take about 2 years.  I expect that some of the proposed changes, such as transportation management
ones, can be started sooner, and that rail, if it happens, would be the last, due to its
very high price tag.

So, provide your comments to MA in any of the many ways they’ve made available. Come to our next community council meeting if you can.

I certainly got the impression from everyone on the panel yesterday, just as I have at
other meetings, that these folks are all about preserving our very precious
treasures–our mountain canyons, so that our kids & grandkids and their grandkids can
enjoy them, and so that our water will maintain and improve its quality, despite major
increases in population.  We’re seeing some changes proposed that are scary to many of
us, but they are not just to bring in the tourists and their money–they are to protect
our canyons from being ‘loved to death’ by us, as well.


The last meeting of the Transportation System Group took place on October 29, 2014. Next we’ll have a joint meeting with all the system groups (transportation, environment, recreation, and economics), along with the Executive Board, on Nov. 19. The Executive Board will have the grueling task of taking all the recommendations from each group and layering them together using a systems approach to develop final recommendations. These then will, as appropriate, going into an Environmental Impact Statement (a lengthy study) to determine feasibility. There will again be opportunities during that process for public comment. The latest recommendations from the Transportation Group are provided at the bottom of this page.

Background: As some of you may know, Salt Lake County has in recent years headed up a number of different studies which resulted in a variety of different plans and ideas being documented. These resulted in a Mountain Transportation Study, a Cottonwood Canyons Parking Study, a Little Cottonwood Canyon Transportation Study, a Foothill Canyon & Overlay Zone(FCOZ) Study, and others.  The point of most of these studies and plans was to try to figure out how to handle the expected growth in population and usage of our precious canyons and roads over the next 30-40 years.

The Mountain Accord is an attempt to focus on four areas: transportation, environment, economics, and recreation, and trying to bring diverse groups of people together to  optimize the best solutions in all areas.  We (I am a member of the transportation system group) will be meeting and working over the next year to try to find the best solutions, then those that require it will undergo environmental impact studies. During this process, public input will be sought at every opportunity.

You can go right now to the Mountain Accord website, read more, or just give them your comments: www.mountainaccord.com

Latest recommendations from Transportation System Group:
The group sent forward two distinct recommendations that could be considered either as quite disparate plans or the first could possibly be an interim step towards the second. The first was to improve transportation in our canyons mainly through bus-rapid transit (requiring additional lanes on transit corridors and in canyons), incentives for high occupancy vehicle traffic, and disincentives for single occupancy vehicles. These were the main components of this simple, relatively low cost and low impact proposal.

The second proposal would include rail going from the airport through SLC and up Parley’s Canyon to Park City, along with a second rail line going through either: 1. Cottonwood Heights to the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon (BCC), down Wasatch, and up Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC), to connect with the rail in Park City, via BCC, OR 2. come out of Sandy City Center/Front Runner station, across 90th, up Little Cottonwood Rd., and up our canyon. Either would be extremely expensive (about $4-5 billion) and find lots of opposition from residents, but would probably be supported by local governments, who would derive considerable economic benefit. It will undoubtedly be a lengthy process, both for the Executive Board and the EIS, but please continue your public input to this process.

Discussions included a proposed route up the canyon that would stay on the north side of Little Cottonwood Rd. until the rail was well east of Wasatch Resort, then crossing over the road to continue up the canyon.

No plans for development, other than a transit hub, were proposed for the mouth of the canyon. One of the considerations was evacuating both BCC and LCC in the event of an extended road closure/catastrophe. Consideration was also given to having UDOT open up Guardsman Pass to winter travel, both for emergency and regular usage.

Mary Young