Water quality has been of interest since early settlers came to the Central Wasatch. Below are some newspaper reports about watershed issues related to water quality and forest disturbance that led to restoration and preservation efforts (courtesy of USFS).


Pioneers arrive in the Salt Lake Valley and begin to harvest trees in the canyons and to heavily graze cattle and sheep within Wasatch watersheds

August, 1880

Overgrazing activities are impacting water quality of Wasatch streams

Deseret News, 8/11/1880

July, 1889

Municipal governments speak to the need for improved quality water from the Wasatch watersheds

Salt Lake Tribune, 7/10/1889

August, 1889

An assessment is made on water availability from Wasatch watersheds

Salt Lake Daily Tribune, 8/11/1889

October, 1899

Overgrazing has led to contamination of Parley’s Creek

Salt Lake Tribune, 10/27/1899

March, 1900

Efforts emerge regarding the need to preserve Wasatch watershed water rights

Deseret News, 3/21/1900

December, 1900

A plan is needed for watershed preservation of the Wasatch Mountains

Salt Lake Herald, 12/7/1900

February, 1901

A request is made to establish a forest preserve in the Wasatch Mountains

Deseret News, 2/13/1901

June, 1901

Further efforts are taken to establish a forest preserve in the Wasatch Mountains

U.S. Department of the Interior, 6/30/1901

December, 1901

Federal legislation is introduced to protect Wasatch watersheds

Salt Lake Herald, 12/11/1901

September, 1903

Critical federal legislation to protect Wasatch watersheds is refined

Salt Lake Herald, 9/17/1903


Federal government establishes Wasatch National Forest

June, 1905

Big Cottonwood nursery is established to revegetate Wasatch watersheds

Forestry Quarterly, volume 3, 1905

September, 1905

USFS establishes nursery in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Salt Lake Herald, 9/3/1905

September, 1905

Local and federal leaders agree on the need to re-establish forests

Salt Lake Herald, 9/7/1905

September, 1905

Plans are introduced to improve water quality

Salt Lake Herald, 9/10/1905

September, 1905

USFS Chief speaks on forest re-establishment and the need to eliminate grazing

Deseret News, 9/9/1905

September, 1905

Salt Lake City and USFS introduce plans to protect Wasatch watersheds

Deseret News, 9/11/1905

October, 1905

Conditions deemed favorable for establishment of a Big Cottonwood Canyon nursery

Deseret News, 10/18/1905
Many conifers are considered, including Utah red pine, Engelmann spruce, Douglas fir, western yellow pine, ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, and larch.

November, 1905

Removing grazing is critical to watershed recovery

Salt Lake Herald, 11/1/1905

November, 1905

Salt Lake City mayor offers plant to improve Wasatch watersheds

Salt Lake Herald, 11/22/1905

December, 1905

Salt Lake City moves to protect Big Cottonwood Canyon watershed

Deseret News, 12/16/1905

September, 1907

Big Cottonwood nursery is underway with 300,000 seedlings

Box Elder County News, 9/12/1907

January, 1908

Reforestation plans are made to expand into Parley’s Canyon

Deseret News, 1/8/1908

January, 1908

USFS reforesting and watershed polices benefit all citizens

Salt Lake Herald, 1/13/1908

December, 1908

Identifying planting sites for 3,000,000 tree seedlings

Ogden Standard Examiner, 12/17/1908

December, 1909

How the USFS policies and conservation help Utah citizens

Deseret News, 12/18/1909

April, 1914

Planting trees is underway

4/30/1914, Box Elder News


Wasatch nursery is closed and Community Camp is created in its place


The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) adds campsites, baseball field, and other sport activities to Community Camp


Ski jump and toboggan run are added to Community Camp, thanks to Alf Engen (project manager)

The Spruces Community Camp


100 years of water development along the Wasatch Front

Salt Lake City Metropolitan Water District

About 1950

Community Camp becomes USFS Spruces Campground