In 2013, stakeholders began a process of discussing the future of the Central Wasatch and examining four areas of concern: Environment, Recreation, Transportation, and Economics. All of these areas are the components of a comprehensive and holistic approach that will address our needs far into the future. This is not a shortsighted or piecemeal plan. In January, 2014, these stakeholders formally organized into what is now Mountain Accord. The goal of The Mountain Accord is to create consensus around solutions that will stand the test of time. Here you’ll find a rundown of the work so far.
An early scoping public comment period for Mountain Accord was held January 21 to March 28, 2014. A total of 958 comments regarding the future of the central Wasatch were collected over the 9.5 week period. Outreach efforts included:
Two public open houses, February 4th in Park City and February 5th in Salt Lake City. Meeting attendees were encouraged to submit written comments or to submit comments online. A comment wall was designated for attendees to post comments publically and to interact with one another, soliciting conversation and input.
Additional in-person outreach was conducted by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker’s office at Whole Foods, Salomon and Sports Den in Salt Lake City. The Town of Alta also held an educational open house and Park City highlighted the Mountain Accord at a Community Events open house
Additional comments were received by participating organizations specific to proposals that will be considered throughout the Mountain Accord effort and those comments will be included in the official Mountain Accord report.
Here is the Early Scoping Summary Report:
A summary of comments can be found below:
The Existing Conditions and Future Trendlines reports summarize the best available information on existing conditions and future trendlines for Mountain Accord’s Transportation, Environment, Recreation and Economy Systems. This information helped to identify the key needs and opportunities for each system, inform the development of a vision, goals and metrics, and establish a baseline against which to compare options for Idealized Systems. Each report is available for review below:
These reports were made available to the public for review and comment from April 18 – May 2, 2014. Final reports were approved by the Executive Board on May 12. A summary of comments can be found below:
Each System group developed a Vision statement that briefly articulates, in a broad sense, a shared description of the desired future state of that System in the Central Wasatch. It is meant to be inspirational and reflective of the communities’ values and highest desires for that System. The Vision provides a foundation for determining more specific goals. It is stated in the present tense, as though describing how that System will be performing in its idealized state in the future.
The Goals describe the specific desired outcomes for the System by the year 2040. They give more specificity to the Vision. They address the question: What are the key outcomes we need by 2040 in order to achieve our long term vision for this System? The goals are intended to represent outcomes that can be accomplished through the proposed actions that will be recommended through Mountain Accord.
The Metrics are essentially the criteria for evaluating potential Idealized Systems and Combined Scenarios. They will be used to measure how well proposed actions (project and policy proposals) address the Goals, using data or information that is available in Phase One.
Our Vision, Goals and Metrics Report is available to view below:
This information was made available for public review and comment from July 28 – August 8, 2014. The final information was approved by the Executive Board on August 18. Public comments can be found below:
To move toward a preferred future scenario for the central Wasatch Mountains, we asked each System Group to dream big and consider their system in a perfect world, taking into consideration the group’s Vision, Goals and Metrics. These ambitions are reflected in each group’s FINAL Ideal System, which can be reviewed below:
The public was invited to review and comment on a DRAFT of the Idealized Systems document between October 3 and November 20, 2014. All public comments provided before November 10 were wrapped into a report for the Mountain Accord Executive Board, for its evaluation of the Idealized Systems. That report was continually updated through the conclusion of the comment period.
In the face of a rapidly growing population, these resources are under continued pressure and at risk unless action is taken now. Mountain Accord was established to make critical decisions and implement solutions to preserve this treasured area and ensure long-term vitality. This unprecedented collaboration of diverse groups seeks to create a collaborative solution for the future of the Central Wasatch. Mountain Accord’s goal is to create and build a consensus that will include responsible stewardship of natural resources, preservation of quality recreation experiences, establish an environmentally sustainable transportation system, and contribute to a vibrant economy.
The process has brought together more than 20 organizations and nearly 200 stakeholders to discuss a plan for future that preserves the legacy of the Wasatch. We formed groups around four important areas — environment, recreation, transportation and economy. We filled these groups with technical experts, community and advocacy groups as well as folks from agencies and organizations related to each area.
These groups first established a baseline for the way each part of the puzzle exists today and how it may exist in the future , a collection of visions, goals and ways to measure progress and created a set of “perfect world” visualizations for each area.
This on-going work led us to the Mountain Accord Blueprint, a proposal that examined each area in detail and proposed suggestions and possibilities for the future. Then we asked you what you thought and received thousands of comments.
Now as we enter phase two we will be examining all of the ideas on the table once again and, in light of public comment and lessons learned, we will seek to take action. Some of these actions will require federal funding or federal agency approvals and will be subject to formal review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This may require that detailed analysis of the actions and their environmental impacts be recorded in a document such as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The NEPA process (or processes) in Phase Two may take two or more years to complete, depending on the nature of the proposed actions and their impacts.
As we enter into phase two, there will additional opportunities for public comment and input and we want to hear from you. The future of the Central Wasatch is important to all of its users in every season and for every use. Help us design a future we can all agree on. Help us come to Accord.
Now approved, the Mountain Accord will enter Phase 2, which includes significant research into each recommendation, continued public feedback and completing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as part of the required NEPA, National Environmental Policy Act, process.
The Mountain Accord represents the culminating commitment of more than 20 organizations who, through a voluntary, multi-year, public, consensus-based planning process agree to proceed with a suite of proposals designed to ensure that future generations can enjoy all the activities we do today, while preserving our watershed and natural environment. Download and read the final Accord here.