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Start at the Bottom

By City Weekly Readers
Posted // March 13,2013 -

Thanks for the fine cover story on SkiLink that featured former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson and Save Our Canyons spokesman Carl Fisher [“Broken Link,” Jan. 10, City Weekly].

According to the story, after a few sleepless nights, lobbyist Wilson decided that SkiLink is good, although the only justification he can come up with in its favor is that it might reduce traffic in the canyon.

Wilson may have joined the bought-and-paid-for white-belt crowd, but he’s no dummy. So he must know the traffic ruse is baloney. Here’s why: First, the number of cars going from the Canyons to Solitude is a tiny fraction of Big Cottonwood traffic. Second, everyone knows that the ski resorts are salivating for interconnects in order to create a “European-style ski experience” that would be unrivaled anywhere in the world.

If SkiLink is popular, common sense dictates that it will lure more people to the resorts, not less. Some will figure it would be fun to ride from Big C to Park City. Up the canyon they go. For others, once people find out that the skiing in Big C is superior to Park City, and cheaper, they will decide not to waste time riding SkiLink and just drive up Big C directly. SkiLink will not reduce traffic.

However, the overwhelming danger SkiLink presents is the awful precedent it would set. If Congress can require the Forest Service to sell off wilderness-quality land to a Canadian real-estate and mining conglomerate, the floodgates will open for the ski resorts and other developers to get our lap-dog representatives to greenlight whatever pet project they are drooling over. Remember, these are the same folks who want to force the feds to turn over all of our public lands to the state.

There is nothing for we, the people, in SkiLink. It’s a public-land grab, ski-resort expansion and wilderness killer.

Ted Wilson dreams of a time when folks will be able to access the Wasatch canyons without ever touching the gas pedal. A fine idea. But, Ted, if you’re serious about reducing traffic in the canyons, the place to start is at the bottom, not the top. Luring people up the mountain with ski-links and other inappropriate diversions and sideshows is not going to “solve” or “improve” anything.


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Posted // March 18,2013 at 06:14

Great letter Steve!  I couldn't agree more.


Posted // March 14,2013 at 08:02

Steve Russell, 

Q: How do we accommodate Utah’s ski industry interests and Salt Lake City’s canyon interests while creating consensus between all users?

A: A possible solution is to create a ski resort crescent (arc)  from the Salt Lake City airport up Parley’s Canyon through Salt Lake, Summit, Wasatch, and Utah  Counties down Provo Canyon to the Provo City airport.   Create three new ski resorts or greatly expand existing resorts in the transportation crescent (arc)  from Parley’s Canyon to Provo Canyon.   Salt Lake City Airport to Provo City Airport connected by buses and gondolas interconnect these 6-7 ski resorts in the arc to create Utah-The American Alps experience. The Provo and Salt Lake airports are connected by UTA trains.   This creates a complete, bi-directional transportation loop around not through the Local Wilderness haven in the local SL canyons.

No interconnecting of ski resorts in Salt Lake County.   Shut down all development and future ski expansion in the local Salt Lake County canyons to create a back country users/skier haven - A Local Wilderness as part of the project. Develop a process with certainty and transparency  to transition private lands into public lands providing just compensation to private canyon land owners.

To end the conflict, we need to create two economic havens in Utah - 1) The American Alps generating $2 Billion annually (36,000 jobs) , and

2) The Local Wilderness Experience.   We don’t need to have the competing users constantly in contention over the same land when ther is plenty of land to go around.   There is no need for State interests and SLC interests in the canyons to be in chronic conflict.   Leadership and good faith collaboration is and was all that is needed to fix the canyon issue and fix Utah water rights.