Passing forward Thank you Robert Shelley
It’s very clear what Snowbird’s intentions are based on the June, 2015 DRAFT Cottonwood Task Force Recommendation on pages 5 of 9 and 6 of 9 of the Mountain Accord document. Quote,
1. Multiple parcels (approximately 1,107 acres) including White Pine, Superior/Flagstaff, and Days Fork/Cardiff.
1. 43 acres of USFS land at base area within the existing service boundary.
2. Special interest and government support for Snowbird transit station and associated developments.
3. Three parcels (approximately 289, 93, 34 acres) in American Fork Canyon, and special interest and local government support for expansion of resort boundary and lift systems onto USFS land in American Fork.
4. Additional water from SLC for snowmaking (amount TBD).
1. Future Upper Mineral Basin and Mary Ellen Gulch expansion, if proposed, would exclude hotel and condominium development. Facility developments are envisioned to support operations, and would be serviced with onsite/self-contained water and septic to avoid the establishment of significant new infrastructure.
2. Further down American Fork canyon, other facilities may be proposed. These considerations, interests, and proposals would be subject to future decisionmaking and public processes outside of Mountain Accord (through the American Fork visioning effort).
3. In the expanded LCC Snowbird Base Area, a “resort zone” would be developed to better define and control development to ensure the best outcomes with respect to sensitive lands.
4. Right to perform avalanche safety control (especially above Snowbird and Town of Alta) is preserved.
end of Quote.
Number 3 in what Snowbird receives is what everyone is demanding to be taken off the table. What gives politicians outside our County the right to propose to give away land they have no jurisdiction over? Maybe they could offer the Statue of Liberty or the Grand Canyon to Snowbird too in order to get the 1107 acres they want in their county. The Mountain Accord Charter only includes Salt Lake, Summit, and Wasatch Counties. It’s easy for them to accept something at the 11th hour of negotiations that doesn’t affect them in order to get what they want and end their three-year long negotiations. Citizens of Utah Country were letting them do what their Charter said they would do until Mountain Accord crossed the line without telling the public.
Also, who are the special interest groups and local governments referred to in #3 that are supporting the expansion of resort boundary and lift systems onto USFS land in American Fork? They forgot to involve the special interest groups and local governments that are affected by this – the people who use AF Canyon and the local governments whose citizens depend on it. They only asked the groups and governments in Salt Lake County that wanted the 1107 acres.
Take a close look at the map and the key locations of these 416 acres in Utah County. Those acres of public land prevent Snowbird from doing much more than they have already done in Utah County. With those key acres, Snowbird would have the ability to about double their ski resort boundary – maybe more than double. WOW! No wonder Snowbird is willing to give up 1107 steep, South-facing acres on the North side of Little Cottonwood Canyon for just 416 critical acres that change everything for them in Utah County..
Those key 416 acres turn their speculation on cheap mining property over the years into a real gold mine for the owners. I’m sure they’re thinking, we bought this property and who cares about the people who have used this canyon for their entire lives if we can make a buck. We know what’s best for them. They will love our paid tours to ride an ATV on the public roads and trails thru our land or a horseback ride on one of our horses. We can give them access to all of the USFS land around our property too. AF Canyon has world-class trails and mountain roads that we can charge tourists to come and use as well.
Those key 416 acres also give Snowbird the ability to propose to develop facilities further down American Fork canyon as stated in Condition #2. The acres they currently own aren’t worth much if they can’t have a ski run nearby. With the key acres and expansion of the resort boundary and lift systems onto USFS land in American Fork, that land is worth hundreds of millions. Note that they don’t just want to stop at their property line either. They want to expand the resort boundary and have lift systems on USFS land in American Fork. Even more restrictions on how we can use our canyon.
I’ve seen or heard comments from some Mountain Accord representatives that refer to the concept in Condition #1 and say that the public is misinformed about this and that there are no condos or hotels proposed for American Fork. Well, Condition #1 isn’t much of a condition at all in my opinion. Snowbird gives up nothing in Condition #1. No one builds condos or hotels at 10,000 feet in the middle of their future ski runs. Also, how would their out-of-state and foreign guests get their luggage to their rooms? Furthermore, Snowbird wouldn’t build a several mile long water line or sewer line from Little Cottonwood Canyon into the Upper Mineral Basin and Mary Ellen Gulch area when they can more economically drill a well and dig septic tanks up there.
The real end game regarding buildings and facilities is stated in Condition #2 – “Further down American Fork canyon, other facilities may be proposed. These considerations, interests, and proposals would be subject to future decisionmaking and public processes outside of Mountain Accord (through the American Fork visioning effort).”
Mountain Accord and Snowbird representatives state that they don’t want to delay their recommendation because they are at the end of their difficult task and don’t want to derail their agreement and the public has been involved and had a chance to comment already. They don’t need any more comments.
Proof that almost all citizens of Utah County knew nothing about Mountain Accord and Mountain Accord didn’t reach out to Utah County Citizens to get their input is the number of Public Comments about Mountain Accord coming from Utah County Residents. According to the Mountain Accord documents, MA received 3,215 public comments and only 44 were from Utah County or 1.4% of the comments. Did they think we wouldn’t care about destroying something we all love so dearly if we knew about it?
It’s time to speak up and stop this unfair process. I appreciate American Fork City leaders, especially Councilman Brad Frost for leading out on this life-changing issue. It’s time to demand that MA takes the 416 acres off the table and stick to their charter. Let the people most affected by this decision have their own Mountain Accord process for our Canyon.
We all understand that leaving this land in the MA document will open the door for a NEPA study that potentially opens the door for something virtually no-one who is affected by it wants. The Citizens of Utah County can decide if we want a NEPA study for this or not after our own process. We’re not ready for a NEPA study until we decide.
American Fork Canyon is the only place left for all of us. Thousands of people are ready to fight MA to protect it. Let your voice be heard to demand these 416 acres in Utah County be taken out of the Mountain Accord recommendation.