The Central Wasatch mountains are a special place located on the edge of a rapidly growing population. We hike, we bike, we ski and we discover wildlife and solitude in this beloved place—one of the world’s most spectacular backyards. But population growth, traffic, fragmented decision-making, and conflict threaten their future health and viability.
The toughest issues often require novel thinking and an untested approach; and that is why we created a new model with Mountain Accord. We brought all the key stakeholders to the table for meaningful compromise and gave everyone an equal voice, including public and private interests. We broke the historic trend of fighting battles acre by acre in courtrooms and news headlines and conducting piecemeal studies. Instead we took a comprehensive look at environment, transportation, recreation, and economic needs.
As most pioneering methods are, this one was messy and frustrating at times. But, in the end, we achieved consensus on our desired future for this incredible resource. Crafting the Accord was a high-wire act, gaining consensus from many groups who had historically been at odds with each other. Our work was documented in the historic signing of the Accord on August 3, 2015. In doing so, we increased public awareness about the need to act now, and we created a new context for longstanding contentious issues that have muddled decision-making for decades.
The Accord set a framework that will guide decisions for generations to come, ensuring we can continue to enjoy the activities we value today, while preserving our watershed and natural environment well into the future. With a framework memorialized, there is strong dedication to implement the commitments in the Accord.
Success relies on the mutual commitment to continue working together. Our commonly-held love for the Central Wasatch mountains sustained our work to this point and our unifying desire to preserve them is what will see us through the next chapter.