Second, Garber, always the conservationist, is keeping his eye on the SkiLink debate. SkiLink is a proposed ski lift that will connect Solitude and Canyons resorts.
Third, the photographer is preparing for a free presentation that will include a digital presentation of his photos, a book signing and a panel discussion about his concerns.
The presentation, hosted by the Swaner EcoCenter, will be held at the Jim Santy Auditorium on Monday, Oct. 29, beginning at 7 p.m.
"During the discussion, we will talk about about the role of ski resorts in the Wasatch and address the watershed, the wilderness and what we would like our mountain range to look and be like in the next 50 years," Garber said. "Right now, there is a big controversy about SkiLink, and that's only one of the many lifts that have been proposed on our mountain ranges."
Issues such as SkiLink and protecting the Wasatch Front's watershed are the main reasons why Garber published his book.
"I wanted the book to be a fine-art photography book, but I also wanted it to be a conservation book," he said.
To do so, he asked 22 authors, scientists and elected officials to contribute some writings for the publication.
"Some of those people I asked are Stephen Trimble, Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker," Garber said. "I had them write about the topics they were familiar with."
Trimble's piece is about the Shoreline Trail, and Garber asked Mayor Becker to write about environmental planning.
"Ralph was an environmental planner and had an environmental consulting company before he became mayor, so it was natural to ask him to write about planning," Garber said. "And Congressman Matheson has a wilderness bill he wants passed, and he also has a creative idea to accommodate helicopter skiing in areas that would subsequently become wilderness."
A piece about the Salt Lake City watershed, which includes land in City Creek, Emigration Canyon, Parleys Summit, Mountain Dell, Lambs Canyon and Big and Little Cottonwood canyons, was written by Salt Lake Public Utilities Director Jeff Niermeyer.
"Salt Lake used to have one of the worst water qualities in the nation because we had grazing and mining in the canyons," Garber said. "The city took over management of the watershed and developed a relationship with the Forest Service.
"So, now, even though we have intense recreation in our mountains, in spite of that, we have superb water quality," he said.
Another writer featured in the book is Brooke Hopkins, an English professor at the University of Utah. "He was a guy who loved the Wasatch Mountains, and skied, hiked and biked for many years, until he was involved in a terrible bicycle accident that left him a quadriplegic," Garber said. "The idea he wrote about was what if our mountain range became one big ski resort, and addressed the questions 'What would we lose?' and 'Does it make sense to put all our eggs into one basket?'"
Regardless of the issues raised in Garber's book, the photographer wants to make it clear that he is not against ski resorts.
"I have skied at every resort in Utah and they've contributed a lot to our economy," he said. "However, I think there is a difference between the existing resorts and the unlimited expansion of these resorts.
"That's one of the issues people are concerned about right now, and people are needing information right now," Garber said. "When I talked to Jeff Niermeyer, he showed me a map that showed all the ski lifts in the Wasatch, and he showed me 10 proposed lifts that people have talked with him about in the past 10 years."
Niermeyer showed Garber how all the proposed lifts would increase the imprint on the mountains by 30 to 40 percent, which would also impact the watershed.
"Envision Utah, a nonprofit organization who works in conjunction with Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County and UTA, did a study in 2009 and 2010," Garber said. "They did a survey of 16,000 Salt Lake County residents and asked about the future of the mountain range."
The survey showed that 94 percent of the respondents said they didn't want any ski-resort expansions, he said.
The heightened interest in these issues indicate to Garber how much people love Utah's wilderness.
"We have so much here in our mountain range," he said. "One of the things I learned while doing this book is that there is almost 7,000 feet of vertical relief from the airport to the top of Lone Peak.
"There are very few places in the world that have a major metropolitan area smack dab in an area like this," Garber said. "Many people here don't understand that uniqueness."
The Swaner EcoCenter will host a free digital presentation, book signing and panel discussion featuring nature photographer Howie Gardner at the Jim Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library and Education Center, 1255 Park Ave., on Monday, Oct. 29, beginning at 7 p.m. Park City Mayor Dana Williams and Laura Briefer, Water Resources Manager for SLC will also be on hand to present a program about conservation challenges in the Wasatch in the face of increasing population and competing demands for resources.
Dolly's Bookstore will be selling copies of Garber's book, "Utah's Wasatch Range Four Season's Refuge: 25 Years of Photography," at the event. For more information, visit www.swanerecocenter.or <www.swanerecocenter.org/education-calendar/calendar/2012/10/29/howie-garber-book-talk-and-signing.html