A canyons plan, but not that Canyons | ParkRecord.com

A canyons plan, but not that Canyons


Salt Lake County leaders are crafting long-range plans for three canyons — Big Cottonwood, Little Cottonwood and Parleys — that have long been closely watched by people in Park City and the Snyderville Basin even though they are outside Summit County.

It is not clear what sort of impact decisions made by Salt Lake County would have on Park City or surrounding Summit County, but the three canyons are within miles of the line between the two counties. There has not been apparent public interest locally in the discussions in Salt Lake County.

Salt Lake County is crafting a General Plan for each of the three canyons. A General Plan is a broadly worded document that guides growth or policies in an area.

Parleys Canyon is especially important to Summit County as the route of Interstate 80 between the county and the Salt Lake Valley. Four mountain resorts are situated in either Big Cottonwood Canyon or Little Cottonwood Canyon.

The upper reaches of Big Cottonwood Canyon back up to the higher elevations of the Park City-area mountains. Park City, meanwhile, is connected to Big Cottonwood Canyon via a seasonal road that traverses Guardsman Pass.

The General Plans will be focused on a growth strategy for privately held lands in the three canyons rather than publicly owned acreage.

Of the three canyons, people in the Park City area have seemed to be most interested recently in Big Cottonwood Canyon as it holds an important role in the discussions about the idea of connecting Canyons Resort with Big Cottonwood Canyon’s Solitude Mountain Resort with a gondola.

The SkiLink idea has split people in the Park City area and along the Wasatch Front. The critics decry the potential impacts on the environment, drinking water and the backcountry while the supporters point to the possibilities of a boost to the tourism industry and a reduction of traffic.

An open house about the General Plans is scheduled in Salt Lake City on Wednesday. It runs from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. on the first floor of the north building of the Salt Lake County government center, 2001 S. State St.

Save Our Canyons, a watchdog group based in the Salt Lake Valley, anticipates it will be represented at the open house. The group is more active in the Cottonwood Canyons than it is in Summit County, but members sometimes monitor issues in the Park City area as well. The group opposes SkiLink.

Carl Fisher, the executive director of the group, said the public offered opposition comments about SkiLink at an earlier open house focused on the General Plans. He anticipates people at the Wednesday event will broach the topic as well.

"They want to see less development take place," Fisher said, adding that people also want less resort expansion.

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