The Commission Approves Funding for Eight Short-Term Projects
During the May 1st meeting of the Central Wasatch Commission, the Commission approved funding for eight project proposals that resulted from the Call for Ideas opened to the public in March. The goal of the Call for Ideas was to identify projects for possible funding that implement transportation and transit solutions, protect the ecosystems and watershed that originate in the Central Wasatch, steward recreational access, and sustain the economic viability of the Cottonwood Canyons. The Commission moved to enter into partnerships on eight projects that address the tenets laid out in Mountain Accord. The funding for the eight approved projects will be allocated from the Central Wasatch Commission’s 2022/2023 fiscal year budget and will not call upon reserve funding.
Starting in May, the CWC will partner on the following projects:
- The maintenance of United States Forest Service bathrooms at trailheads located in the tri-canyons. Support for trailhead facility maintenance will build upon a partnership among the Central Wasatch Commission, Cottonwood Canyons Foundation, Salt Lake City Public Utilities, and the United States Forest Service (USFS) to service existing bathroom facilities at trailheads popular with the public.
- Support for Cottonwood Canyons Foundation’s 2023 Tri-Canyon Trail Deferred Maintenance and Invasive Weed Control Project, which provides for extensive trail maintenance work across the Cottonwood Canyons. During its 2022 Tri-Canyon Trail Deferred Maintenance and Invasive Weed Control Project, CCF maintained 60 miles of trail, installed 2,275 feet of new trail, installed 200 feet of rock wall, surveyed 220.25 miles of trail for weed control, removing a total of 11,331 pounds of invasive weeds, and planted 1,492 native wildflowers for restoration.
- For the third consecutive year, the CWC will support Utah Open Lands’ Bonanza Flat Trailhead Transit program, or Transit to Trails Shuttle program. The Transit to Trails program is a shuttle service from Park City to some of the highest use trailheads in the Wasatch Back. This shuttle provides a direct public transit option from the Park City Old Town area to the following trailheads along SR-224 and Guardsman Pass Road: Mid-Mountain Trailhead, Bonanza Flat Trailhead, and Bloods Lake Trailhead. This shuttle runs all summer until the first snowfall in October.
- The maintenance of aging fixed rock anchor hardware on climbing routes across the Central Wasatch, as part of the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance’s ongoing work to steward climbing access in the Wasatch. SLCA uses a combination of professional trail crews and volunteers to perform the maintenance.
- In an effort to offset winter canyon traffic, the CWC is continuing its partnership with Wasatch Backcountry Alliance to provide a free Saturday backcountry ski shuttle in Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons. This will be the second consecutive year the CWC will partially fund this initiative.
- The full support of Friend’s of Alta Junior Ranger Activity Book, which is an environmental education tool for children to become acquainted with the mountain environment in Little Cottonwood Canyon, and to learn about the importance of the watershed that originates in upper Little Cottonwood Canyon, as well as the town of Alta.
- For the first year, the Central Wasatch Commission will partner with the Park City Conservation Association, dba Recycle Utah for the Dumpster Days events, which help divert toxic materials from waterways.
- The partial support of Save Our Canyons’ Wilderness Stewardship Project through the organization’s Conservation Program. Through this project and with CWC funding, Save Our Canyons aims to complete 30 hours of trail maintenance (removing illegal campfire rings, host trash cleanups, etc.), host invasive weed pulls partnered with Salt Lake Public Utilities, work with over 100 volunteers during the 2023 summer/fall trail season, attend and host different events to educate the community about the importance of protecting our watershed, continue advocating for a year-round public transportation system, and continue our fuel management practices including burning, thinning, pruning, chipping, and mechanically removing fuels to reduce the amount and continuity of burnable vegetation.
- Though not included in the short-term projects grant program, the CWC continues its support of year-round graffiti abatement across the Central Wasatch.
“The Central Wasatch Commission is excited to enter into public/private partnerships with organizations working to steward recreational access, sustain the ecosystems, and protect the watershed that originate in the Central Wasatch,” said Christopher Robinson, Chair of the Central Wasatch Commission, and Summit County Council member. “These projects signify the ongoing commitment of the CWC and the broader community to the preservation of the Central Wasatch Mountain Range.”
All eight of these projects will take place during the 2023 work season and will address tenets laid out in Mountain Accord including recreational stewardship, environmental and watershed protection. Partnering with nonprofit organizations, and other governmental entities on these projects will allow the CWC the opportunity to engage diverse stakeholders throughout the Central Wasatch and will help see these projects to completion.