Environmental concerns should supersede connecting resorts | ParkRecord.com

Environmental concerns should supersede connecting resorts

Carolyn Frankenburg, Park City

I am opposed to the One Wasatch Utah ski resort expansion project that is proposed by Ski Utah. The proposed connection of the 7 ski resorts along the SLC Wasatch Mountains would introduce ski lift towers, chairlifts, power lines, litter and the forever-scarring dirt swaths cut for ski runs in the acres between our already-developed resort areas.

Given the distances between the Cottonwood canyons and the Park City areas, it is a stretch to expect tourists to leave the current ski area and use other access to the 7 ski resorts along the SLC Wasatch. All 7 resorts have the prime Wasatch mountain terrain to offer the million visitors to Utah skiing. The limited remaining backcountry terrain should not be sacrificed so a few businesses and developers might gloss up their brochures.

Ski Utah’s One Wasatch proposal is about business development and is extremely short sighted. It is narrowly oriented toward increasing tourism to Utah and doing this at the expense of those of us who live here. It is particularly shortsighted in light of the diminishing snow pack expected over the next 50 years. The project would threaten our watershed, wildlife corridors and backcountry enjoyment for those of us who want to get away from the crowds, the noise of equipment and the offensive detritus that is left in the wake of development.

The people pushing for this expansion have little scope in understanding what to expect in the next several decades of a warming climate. How could they understand the impacts when water issues become ever more contentious as warming trends continue?

Ski Utah should be encouraging mechanisms for RESPONSIBLE growth by participating actively in the Mountain Accord. Ski Utah is one of many stakeholders. Transit solutions, alleviating carbon impacts, controlling energy consumption and finding ways to act responsibly towards the great resources which have sustained their organization all these years, is where their growth potential lies.

Stop with the development and expansion philosophy. Address the problems we have created by our tourism industry and our population growth. We have serious issues involving air quality, transportation, wildlife preservation and sustainable economic development. The interests supporting One Wasatch and ski resort expansion are just one of the many stakeholders impacted by the population growth in Utah. Let’s address transportation, air quality, impacts of a warming climate and the population growth before we proceed with ski resort expansions. We must look at the long view. At this point in time, the One Wasatch project is wrong for most of us. The general population should not have to sacrifice irretrievable mountain terrain for the very few who will benefit from the One Wasatch ski resort expansion.

Go to info@saveourcanyons.org by March 28 and submit your comments on this very important issue.

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