Rally for the Wasatch

April 7th, 8am, mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon

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You are needed.

Stand up for the Wasatch. Stand up for the democratic process. Send a message that local voices must be heard, and distorting the legal process won’t be tolerated. Your presence is needed.  Show your commitment to the integrity of the Wasatch at the Rally for the Wasatch, on April 7th, at 8am, at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Join with others as we embody our love for the Wasatch, and demand that decisions regarding this small range be made openly and democratically.

THE ISSUE

The Wasatch Range is under attack from a number of directions.  Deer Valley, Park City, The Canyons, Brighton, Solitude, Alta, and Snowbird occupy some of the best terrain in the world and their leases, mostly with the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, enable them to be concessionaires for some of the finest resort skiing on the planet. We are not in opposition to the seven Salt Lake area ski resorts.  Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, Brighton, Deer Valley, Park City, and The Canyons are wonderful resorts providing excellent services to locals and visitors alike.  Many of them are good stewards to the environment and local social issues.  They are fellow members of our community.  We support these resorts.  However, we do not support their continued privatization and expansion into nearby backcountry terrain that offers a playground for skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, mountain bikers, and hikers.

Beyond this privatization of our public lands, Talisker intends to build SkiLink, a gondola running from The Canyons to Solitude, impacting unique backcountry experiences along the Park City ridgeline (excellent narrated video and map of SkiLink).

Informed local input driven by recreational, ecological, and justice concerns dictates that SkiLink not happen, yet our congressional representatives have gone against our will and the will of local and state wishes, pressing the federal government to sell Forest Service lands for the benefit of private corporations.

While no area can exist in perpetuity without changes, we must ensure that any changes be made openly and democratically, after all of the information is made available. The Wasatch has seen enough development already; let’s not allow any more privatization or exclusionary practices.

THE BACKDOOR POLITICS

Utah Representative Rob Bishop is sponsoring and supporting the Wasatch Range Recreation Enhancement Act (pdf), a bill enabling the privatization of lands necessary to complete the SkiLink project.  Sixty to 90% of local citizens oppose this project, as do Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, and local Forest Service officials.

YOU ARE NEEDED

If you oppose to both the content of the bill and the process by which this legislation is taking place, make your voices known at the Rally for the Wasatch. Let’s celebrate the remaining wild spaces of the Wasatch rather than expand existing ski resorts and build absurd gondolas. Usurping public lands for enhanced privatized use is unnecessarily unfair and unjust.

Rationale for the SkiLink gondola, reducing driving between Park City and Big Cottonwood Canyon, is highly speculative, at best. Additionally, the process by which this project is being undertaken is anti-democratic.  Local input suggests that SkiLink should not take place right now, if ever. Utah congressional representatives have gone against the will of local and state wishes, pressing the federal government to sell Forest Service lands for the benefit of the ski resorts.

The Wasatch Range is an excellent space for a number of outdoor recreation opportunities, as well as the wellspring for much of the drinking water for burgeoning Salt Lake Valley.  Beyond the human applications of the Wasatch, the range deserves respect in its own right as well.  Further enclosing the common spaces of the Wasatch through the privatization of public lands should not happen at this time, if ever.

This is not a Republican or Democratic issue, and it is not rightist or leftist politics; it’s about supporting the local, democratic process and having a voice in what is best for us and for the world around us.

In a show of solidarity for the integrity of the Wasatch, we are asking supporters to come to the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon on April 7th, at 8am.  Bring your friends, bring signs, bring music, bring food, bring your souls.  Give to the spaces that have already given so much to all of us.  Stand up for the spaces that have supported your recreation, your clean water, your clean air, and perhaps your livelihood.  We’ll send a message to Representative Rob Bishop and other members of the House Natural Resources Committee that the Wasatch does not need “enhancement,” and certainly not in this manner.  We’ll let the users and the management of Solitude know that we do not support SkiLink. We’ll send a message to these congressmen that the process by which this is taking place is unacceptable.

Join us on Facebook. Tell your local friends.  Tell your friends in other states. Call your congressional representatives in the House and the Senate. Call the Mayors’ offices and tell them to continue to fight for the Wasatch. Tweet about it.  Whatever it is that you do, do it. You are needed; stand up for what you believe in. Stand up for the Wasatch.

  • What: Rally for the Wasatch

  • When: April 7th, 8am
  • Where: Mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon

  • Who: You! And your friends!

  • Why: Stand up for what you believe.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT, GET INFORMED, GET INVOLVED

Many individuals and organizations have been sounding this alarm for months now.  The Rally for the Wasatch effort extends solidarity to those already engaged in this vitally important process.  You can find as much information on SkiLink and other privatization efforts across the web. Helpful Links:

Save Our Canyons – local conservation organization focused on the beauty and wildness of the local canyons, mountains, and foothills.

StraightChuter.com – local ski mountaineer Andrew McLean has extensively documented privatization efforts and SkiLink information on his wonderful and entertaining blog.

Occupy the Wasatch? – an articulate defense of standing up for what you believe in concerning the privatization of the Wasatch.

A Canyons-Solitude SkiLink Plea – a well-reasoned and informative summary of many issues concerning SkiLink.

Peaceful Uprising – a local activist organization, focused upon defending a livable future through empowering nonviolent action.

– Contact locally elected national officials at the following links: Representative Rob Bishop; Representative Jim Matheson; Representative Jason Chaffetz; Senator Orrin Hatch; Senator Mike Lee.

– Contact and support Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon.

If there are other helpful videos, news stories, commentaries, photographs, or otherwise, please email them to rallyforthewasatch@gmail.com, and they’ll be posted on this site shortly.