Mountain Accord 101

What is the Mountain Accord?

In 2013 stakeholders including transportation entities, local elected leaders, general managers of the Cottonwood Canyon ski resorts, property owners, representatives from recreational and environmental communities, private citizens, and others came together to develop a plan that would sustain the Central Wasatch into the future while planning for increased use and visitation of the mountains. From 2013 to 2015, these stakeholders determined four of the most important system groups affecting the future of the Central Wasatch: economy, transportation, recreation, and the environment. This two-year process became known as the Mountain Accord and concluded in the Mountain Accord Charter. The charter proposed plans to target the four main areas of focus. It also assembled the creation of a governmental entity to coordinate among the various stakeholders who were part of the Mountain Accord process. The Mountain Accord Charter is a consensus of the Executive Board members and was signed by over 150 people in August 2015. The Mountain Accord Final Report was released in September 2016.

System groups

Summertime flowering fireweed in Albion Basin.

The system groups highlighted in the Mountain Accord are the economy, transportation, recreation, and the environment. These groups were decided upon by policy and planning experts, community and advocacy groups, and local government agencies. Over 200 people participated in the process of deciding on the four system groups in the Accord. Each system group created ideal systems not connected with other systems. For example, with the environment systems group, only environmental considerations were taken into account. This process relied on 32 system group meetings from March to October 2014.

Read more about system groups here.

What was agreed upon in the Mountain Accord?

  • Designate a National Conservation and Recreation Area and new wilderness in the Central Wasatch;
  • Land exchanges between the United States Forest Service and Cottonwood Canyon ski resorts;
  • Transportation improvements for the Cottonwood Canyons;
  • Transit improvements in Parleys Canyon;
  • Pilot a shuttle service in Millcreek Canyon;
  • Develop a comprehensive trail and cycling plan;
  • Develop an Environmental Dashboard to provide factual information about the Wasatch;
  • Develop a program for the acquisition of private lands with environmental and recreational values with willing sellers;
  • Create a governmental entity, comprised of elected officials;
  • Identify long-term funding for programs and systems in the Central Wasatch.

What is the current status of the Accord?

Today, the agreed-upon topics in the Mountain Accord charter are being headed by the Central Wasatch Commission (CWC), which is the governmental entity the Mountain Accord charter called to assemble. The CWC’s responsibility is to implement projects that started during the Mountain Accord process. These projects include the Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area Act, the Environmental Dashboard, and a new Mountain Transportation System. Currently, we are focusing on a new Mountain Transportation System as well as other short-term projects.

Photo of Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Summertime.

The CWC also coordinates the numerous stakeholders with varying interests in the Central Wasatch. These stakeholders include property owners, ski resorts, representatives from local environmental and recreational communities, elected officials as the federal, state, and local levels, and Utah residents. The CWC is an intergovernmental collaborative body that works with all of its member jurisdictions (Town of Alta, Cottonwood Heights, Millcreek City, Park City, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Sandy City, and Summit County.)

The Central Wasatch Commission Board and other associated bodies including the Stakeholders Council meet regularly for public meetings that are noticed, recorded, and posted to the Utah Public Notice site. These meetings are also live-streamed on the Central Wasatch Commission website. All meetings are in accordance with the Open and Public Meetings Act.


Learn more about the Stakeholders Council here.

Learn more about the Commissioners here.


A backcountry skier in upper Broads Fork. Photo by Quinn Graves

Written by Quinn Graves

Edited by Lindsey Nielsen

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