Mountain Accord is Approved
Historic Mountain Accord Receives Unanimous Approval to Move Forward
Sandy City, Utah (July 13, 2015) — The Mountain Accord, a historic agreement 30 years in the making, was unanimously approved by the Executive Committee today at the Sandy City Hall. The Accord is the culmination of two years’ worth of public feedback, stakeholder involvement and leadership decisions. 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.
“These mountains are a statewide asset and important for all of us,” said Alan Matheson, Executive Board Members of the Mountain Accord and Environmental Advisor to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. “We recognize that Mountain Accord doesn’t have the legal authority but it is unprecedented to get various groups to recognize this asset. We have come together and learned from each other and to find where we have common ground. We found a baseline that we largely agree on that will help us move forward in fulfilling our stewardship of these important lands.”
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. The Accord is intended to influence future, local, regional and statewide planning and to initiate efforts to enact meaningful protections and preservations for the Central Wasatch. Important highlights of the Accord as approved include:
—A Federal Land Designation that will lock down ski area boundaries
The Accord proposes to petition the U.S. Congress to create “A National Conservation and Recreation Area” in the Central Wasatch. The federal land designation will specifically prohibit expansion of ski areas onto public lands beyond the resort area boundaries. The ski areas are in support of the land designation, and are willingly agreeing to this preservation package.
—A nearly 3-to-1 conversion of private to public lands
A series of proposed land exchanges among the US Forest Service and ski areas, primarily in established base areas, will clean up the map and organize the piecemeal mess of land ownership in the Central Wasatch. This will enable better decisions and planning in the future.
The signers of the Accord recommend considering alternatives that improve transit and dis-incentivize single occupancy vehicle use in the Cottonwood Canyons. Transit solutions on the I-80 Corridor will also be examined.
The Accord proposes the creation of an environmental monitoring “scorecard” to give decision makers a way to track the Central Wasatch’s environmental heath and evaluate impacts in future planning discussions.
The Accord proposes an effort to clean up and organize the trails system in our canyons, to control erosion and protect the watershed.
—Utah County jurisdiction underscored
Previous language detailing the proposed land exchange that involved acreage in Utah County’s American Fork Canyon was deleted from the Accord. The Executive Board agreed to respect Utah County’s jurisdiction in the matter and are not taking a position on the land proposal as it relates to Utah County.
Mountain Accord is an unprecedented effort to build consensus about long-term plans for the Central Wasatch. The Executive Board’s decision will move the Accord into phase 2 which asks the US Forest Service consider several land exchange proposals as part of a formal public process consistent with federal environmental policy and state, county, and local planning ordinances.
Download the press release here.