Seven Canyons | Urban Living

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Seven Canyons

The Seven Canyon Trust

Posted on January 6, 2016, 4:00 AM

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If you were legally allowed to fly your new drone high over the Salt Lake Valley and photograph the mountains surrounding us, you'd see the snow-covered peaks and the water melting down into the valley to the Jordan River and out to the Great Salt Lake. As we've been in a major drought for the past four years, there hasn't been much runoff to actually appreciate. But El Niño has blessed us with snow this year, and the creeks will run high in the spring.

There are seven creeks running down from seven canyons on the east side of the valley: City, Red Butte, Emigration, Parley's, Mill, Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood. The creeks are considered by some to be among our most unique and important features, and there's a group out there that wants to protect and display the waterways for all of us. Although you can see the beginning of the water flow at the base of the mountains, the creeks usually disappear into pipes and tunnels under public and private roads. Salt Lake City Planning has had a draft on the table for the past decade to get City Creek above ground to run along a re-created creek bed/green space by the Red Iguana No. 2 out to the Jordan River. But alas, it's just a dream.

The Seven Canyon Trust is a nonprofit that has created a document to start the discussion about bringing the waterways back above ground in the next 100 years. They hope to raise awareness of the natural system that will eliminate choke points in culverts, reduce flooding due to clogs as well as improve water filtration.

The group evolved from a University of Utah class taught by Stephen Goldsmith in the spring of 2014. Students, instructors and local citizens found that the water running out of our beautiful Wasatch mountains should not only contribute to our health and well being, but be showcased to anyone who visits the capital city. "The journey the water takes from the Wasatch Mountains to the Jordan River should unify all the communities and ecosystems," the group declares.

Visit and become a member at no cost to get updates and learn of volunteer opportunities. Visitors might think that the river running through City Creek Center and in front of the LDS Assembly Hall is from City Creek itself. No, that water has not made it back to the surface. What runs by our downtown tourist destinations is plain old Salt Lake City tap water recycling back and forth to look like fresh creek water.

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