Guest Editorial, December 21-22, 2011 | ParkRecord.com

Guest Editorial, December 21-22, 2011

Tom Richardson, Ski Our Canyons Responsibly

Although Paul Flake did a commendable job being a senior in high school, regarding the SkiLink proposal between Canyons and Solitude, his guest editorial was loaded with inaccuracies and assumptions that have led me to write this rebuttal.

Talisker has never said that it will "open up more backcountry skiing for public enjoyment," nor will the act "bypass watershed rules as well as USFS construction mandates." Where did that come from? Talisker’s claim that the link would reduce traffic between the two resorts is factually correct. Although you can disagree with the "amount" of traffic that has been listed, you can’t dispute that reality. His claim that what they really "think" is that the company "would make a lot of money" over the other 2 PC resorts is way too big an assumption and misleading. The link will ultimately benefit all the resorts (certainly Canyons more so) and the Park City region.

Talisker has never implied that taxpayers would "unwittingly fund the project." They are buying the 30 acres, if approved, with their money at fair market value. As for where they drive from, if a PC skier wants to drive all the way to Solitude to take the SkiLink over to the top of Dream Catcher to get first tracks, go for it. I would prefer to do it the easy way and get some skiing in and enjoy the outdoors on the lifts and not have to then drive home, pay for gas, etc.

As for "destructive construction," a study of the environmental impacts has been done and indicated that construction would be minimally intrusive on the environment, just as lifts built before have been. Talisker has never said that it’s just about the environment, but also about the economic benefits as well. Again, you can disagree with the numbers, but you cannot disagree that it will have positive economic benefit, especially long term. I also don’t think Talisker would be "thrilled" if the project results in more traffic and air emissions at both Big Cottonwood and Canyons as he mentions, as the point of the SkiLink is to reduce traffic and emissions.

Talisker is openly discussing the project and management has attended two recent meetings of the Ski Our Canyons Responsibly group and listened and responded to the debate from both sides. They are not bypassing anything and, in fact, the project would have to go through the NEPA process if the bill is passed. There also has been no "end run" around public comment or federal protections, as folks that are both pro and con can weigh in to their legislators and then on the local level if it gets that far. Talisker is not "ramming" anything through and the process will take the normal course of action to get approved, which will likely go on way into 2013.

I encourage readers to go to skilink.com and read all the facts so you can understand the project thoroughly and take the emotion out of it. I also encourage locals to get involved if you are in favor of SkiLink. Join Ski Our Canyons Responsibly by "friending" us on Facebook and we will add you to our mailing list. Write your local legislators, whose address can be found on the skilink.com site. We will soon have a petition for locals to sign, so look for it to come out and then sign it.

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Hope this helps.

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