Vail's Echo program rescues watershed initiate

Editor:

The Summit Land Conservancy has been working since 2009 to protect the Weber River Watershed by preserving the farms and ranches that line the river as it runs through Eastern Summit County. The Weber provides 30% of the water to communities along the Wasatch front. As a blue ribbon fishery, the river provides an important recreational amenity that supports our tourist economy, and it is also a critical natural resource for wildlife like bald eagles and Bonneville Cutthroat trout.

Today the Weber is lined with a patchwork of small farms and ranches, but that may not always be the case. As development pressures mount, these small farms and ranches are subdivided into smaller private residences. This type of land use drives out wildlife, reduces angler access, and most critically, disrupts the natural systems that protect the water quality.

The Summit Land Conservancy preserves the Weber and its tributaries by bringing together a group of funding partners and generous landowners who are willing to conserve property. These projects are expensive, but extremely critical. This year, the Conservancy completed Phase 3 of its Weber River Watershed Initiative with the permanent preservation of 50 acres near Henefer in February and we were poised to complete Phase 4, but our funding sources were drying up.

Phase 4, the Dog Holler Organic Farm near Hoytsville, sits atop the springs that provide culinary water for 10 homes in the neighborhood.


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The property shelters ¼ mile of Cottonwood Creek and provides critical winter range for elk and deer. The Conservancy had secured funding from the federal government, state government, private foundations, businesses, and a number of generous individuals, but we still didn't have enough. If we didn't raise the last of the money by the end of this year, we'd lose significant matching funds. Enter Vail Resorts, and the Vail Echo grant program.

Thanks to a generous contribution from Canyons/Vail Resorts, the funding gap has been closed. This grant allows us to access over $200,000 from funding sources outside of Summit County to protect local landscapes and watersheds. The Summit Land Conservancy's work to save the Weber River and its tributaries in Summit County will go on. Thanks to Canyons/Vail Resorts, and our other funding partners, the patchwork quilt of permanently protected open space has gotten a little bigger.

Cheryl Fox

Executive Director, Summit Land Conservancy

Bus drivers need to tighten up standards

Editor:

Another winter is arriving and once again I am seeing our bus system running at a low standard. Even though we have ample room in the bus stops the drivers see fit to stop in the middle of the street to drop riders off. This is a problem for many reasons. First, after talking to the Park City Police I found that it's illegal to stop in the roadway and obstruct traffic. Secondly it is lazy and inconsiderate to our guests and other drivers. People come from all over the world to vacation here and deserve a classier experience than being let off in the middle of the street and have to negotiate an icy walk through the gutter to get to the sidewalk.

Most importantly it is dangerous. Given enough room a car can pass on the right causing obvious problems. Also, I watched in fear as a family with small children tried to get on the bus at the Town Bridge. The parents had their hands full with ski equipment and the small children had to crawl onto the bus on their bellies. This was in the rear door where the bus driver couldn't see them and he started to close the door on the last child. The parents must have been horrified. This should not happen.

Buses in other resort areas can pull to the curb and years ago our bus drivers would do it too. I would suspect this is a result of incompetent management. The people in charge do not observe their drivers or hold them to a competent standard. I have had discussions with the bus management and can see my efforts have fallen on deaf ears. I feel new management will be necessary or the existing management step up and start doing their job. We are competing with other first-class resorts for business and should show a better, classier side to our guests. With the arrival of Vail we now have three world-class resorts here and to show anything less than our best side is unacceptable. Now is the time they are hiring and training new drivers for the winter. Make sure the new ones do a good job and get rid of the ones that won't.

Bill Dark

Park City