> We are encouraged by many aspects of the stated Purpose of Accord, especially; “The intent of the Accord is to benefit current and future generations by establishing an integrated, comprehensive, landscape-scale framework for the future of the Central Wasatch Mountains that provides for the long-term protection of the region’s water, lands, environment, recreational opportunities, and economic prosperity. The signers of the Accord support a transportation system that serves these values.”
> NEPA Process for Cottonwood Canyons: It is recommended that either the NEPA process or a separate study analyze the capacity of the environmental resources (biological, flora, fauna, watershed) in the Cottonwood Canyons to remain healthy under increasing recreational use. The study should include an evaluation of the social capacity of recreation amenities such as trails to handle increasing use while maintaining a range of recreational experiences.
> We are very encouraged by the last minute addition of language pertaining to the NEPA process to fully consider bus-based transit alternatives and that equal consideration be given to low-impact options versus options that could require major construction (i.e. train).
> We also strongly support the implementation of an environmental dashboard to develop a monitoring, restoration and mitigation plan that addresses watershed protection and mitigation to improve conditions in areas of environmental degradation.
> While the Accord makes recommendations for future actions, most will require a thorough NEPA process before they are implemented. Is is also important to keep in mind that Mountain Accord decisions are consensus-based and do not supersede the authority of federal, state and local jurisdictions.
Areas of Concern
While this Accord represents an unprecedented agreement of government, industry, our community and the environment, we still have concerns about some elements in the Accord, additionally the execution of the Accord is paramount! FOA will stay intimately involved in the details as this program moves forward.
> One of the most concerning aspects is that the Alta Ski Lift Company’s commitment to the Land Exchange is contingent on transit improvements (INCLUDING a tunnel or other type of connection between Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyons).
> We are supportive of transit improvements in the existing roadway corridor and recognize that a NEPA process will have to consider a reasonable range of alternatives, however we are simply not supportive of a train up LCC!
> It is still unclear who will be the applicant/s for any action requiring NEPA. NEPA is required for any federal agency to disclose environmental effects of proposed federal agency actions.
This Accord is only the beginning of a long process likely including NEPA that will include further study of alternatives and more public comment. We need YOU to stay involved! Please stay up to date with our efforts by visiting our blog (you’re reading it now!) at friendsofalta.org/blog and following us on Social Media @friendsofalta. Thank you for your continued support.