In 2013, local elected leaders, transportation officials, the general managers of the Cottonwood Canyon ski resorts, private property owners, representatives from the environmental and recreational communities, and others organized to develop a plan to sustain the Central Wasatch Mountain Range for generations to come, and to plan for increased visitation and use of the mountains. Over two years, stakeholders identified four major issues affecting the longevity of the mountains: transportation, economy, recreation, and environment. The two-year process, named the Mountain Accord, culminated in the Mountain Accord charter, which proposed plans to address the four major issues: transportation, economy, recreation, and environment. The Mountain Accord charter also called for the creation of a governmental entity to coordinate among the many stakeholders in the Central Wasatch Mountains, and to carry out the plans for each of the four issue areas, identified in the Mountain Accord charter. The Mountain Accord charter, signed in August 2015, is the consensus position of the Executive Board members and over 150 signatories. In September 2016, the Mountain Accord Final Report was released. The final report summarizes the process the various stakeholders undertook to arrive at the Mountain Accord charter.
The Central Wasatch Commission is the governmental entity that the Mountain Accord charter called to create. Upon its creation, the Central Wasatch Commission was tasked with carrying out projects initiated during the Mountain Accord process including federal legislation, the Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area Act, the Environmental Dashboard, and canyon transportation improvements.
Mountain Accord was initiated in 2013 to make critical decisions and implement solutions to preserve the Central Wasatch and ensure its long-term vitality. This unprecedented collaboration of diverse groups sought to create a collaborative solution for the future of the Central Wasatch. The goal was to create and build a consensus that would include responsible stewardship of natural resources, preservation of quality recreation experiences, establish an environmentally sustainable transportation system, and contribute to a vibrant economy.
The Mountain Accord process brought together more than 20 organizations and nearly 200 stakeholders to discuss a plan for future that preserved the legacy of the Wasatch. Groups were formed around four important areas — environment, recreation, transportation and economy. These groups were comprised of technical experts, community and advocacy groups as well as folks from agencies and organizations related to each focus group. These groups first established a baseline each focus area, and how it may exist in the future, a collection ofvisions, goals and ways to measure progress and created a set of “perfect world” Idealized Systems for each area. This work led to the Mountain Accord Blueprint, a proposal that examined each area in detail and proposed suggestions and possibilities for the future. A public comment period concluded on May 1, 2015.
Timeline of the Mountain Accord Process
Over 150 stakeholders signed the Mountain Accord charter
5,000+ members of the public weigh in on a proposed blueprint for the Central Wasatch Mountains
Stakeholders identified existing conditions, future trend-lines, & idealized systems specific to recreation in the Wasatch, environmental protection, economic viability, and canyon transportation
Mountain Accord process was publicly launched
20+ key elected officials and stakeholders convened to begin brainstorming solutions for the long-term sustainability of the Central Wasatch Mountains
What was Agreed Upon in the Mountain Accord Charter
- Designate a National Conservation and Recreation Area and new wilderness
- 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 accessible and factual information about the Wasatch
- Develop a program for the acquisition of private lands with environment and recreation values with willing sellers
- Create a governmental entity, comprised of elected officials
- Identify long-term funding for programs and systems in the Central Wasatch