Why We Need Mountain Accord Federal Designation

Federal Designation

The Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area

The Central Wasatch Range is the backyard of millions of residents along the Wasatch Front and Back. It is a special place on the edge of a fast growing population.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has proposed a bill that will create The Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area. The bill seeks to balance the need to protect drinking water, preserve recreational opportunities and traditions, enhance access, and accommodate future population growth.

“Utah once again leads the way in demonstrating the power of a collaborative approach to local problems,” Chaffetz said. “I’m pleased that so many parties with such varied agendas could come together in agreement on a way forward for our beloved Wasatch Mountains. This bill will guide our growth and preservation efforts for decades to come.”

The Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area will be a legacy for future generations of residents, who see the Central Wasatch as a critical part of what it means to be a Utahn.

View the Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area legislation.

Download a PDF fact sheet about the Central Wasatch Conservation and Recreation Area.

Updated Maps

About the bill

Chafetz’ bill designates approximately 80,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land including critical watershed, scenic ridgelines, treasured landscapes and recreation areas while facilitating ski resorts to own more land in their established base areas. In this bill:

  • All existing recreational uses and permits will continue;
  • Natural resources and watersheds will be protected;
  • Existing Wilderness Area boundaries will be adjusted for the Bonneville Shoreline Trail alignment and for transportation improvements;
  • Approximately 8,000 acres of wilderness will be added;
  • The U.S. Forest Service will maintain ownership and management of the lands;
  • Land exchanges between the U.S. Forest Service and the four Cottonwood Canyons ski resorts are authorized;
  • Ski resort permit boundaries on U.S. Forest Service land will be fixed permanently after some adjustments through the existing permitting process;
  • New roads for automobiles will be prohibited on U.S. Forest Service land;
  • No restrictions will be placed on U.S. Forest Service management for fire suppression, vegetation maintenance, avalanche control or other emergency measures;
  • Private land within the area or adjacent to the area being designated will not be affected;
  • Future transportation improvements are not precluded and can be made on an as-needed basis.

Land Exchanges

Mountain Accord negotiated a land exchange among the U.S. Forest Service and the four Cottonwood Canyons ski resorts that benefits both the public and the ski resorts. These land exchanges would clean up landownership in the Central Wasatch and end decades of conflict. In exchange for land in established base areas, the public would receive important lands for watershed, environmental protection, and recreation. As part of the negotiation, ski resort boundaries on U.S. Forest Service lands will be fixed permanently.

Signers of the Mountain Accord—representatives from local governments, Utah state government and legislature, private business, environmental, and recreation interests, and citizens—support Congressman Chaffetz’ bill and land exchanges as an important component of the solution to preserve the Central Wasatch and ensure its long-term vitality for all who use the mountains.