Millcreek Canyon FLAP Grant
In 2020 the USDA Forest Service, Salt Lake County, and Millcreek applied for Federal Land Access Program (FLAP) to explore a scope of work and cost estimates for transportation improvements in upper Millcreek Canyon. November 2021 the proposed project and cost was presented at an open house and there was a period open for public comment.
Central Wasatch Commission Stakeholders Council Millcreek Canyon FLAP Grant Letter
The CWC Stakeholders Council responded to the proposed plan as follows:
December 9th, 2021
RE: CWC Stakeholders Council Comments on Millcreek FLAP Grant
Millcreek Canyon FLAP Grant Administrators:
The Central Wasatch Commission appreciates the opportunity to forward the comments of its Stakeholder Council on the preliminary concepts for the Millcreek Canyon FLAP grant implementation.
After review by its Mill Creek Committee, the CWC Stakeholders Council provides the following comments on the Millcreek FLAP Grant for roadway improvements between Big Water Trailhead and Winter Gate in Millcreek Canyon.
The Central Wasatch Commission is an Interlocal Government made up of elected officials from local jurisdictions in and adjacent to the Central Wasatch Mountains. A volunteer Stakeholders Council representing canyon users, cabin owners, and canyon businesses advises the Commission. The Millcreek Committee members of the Stakeholders Council collectively have a great deal of experience in and passion for the canyon and are keenly aware of and in many cases personally affected by the current existing conditions. The Stakeholders Council would like to see the following issues addressed in proposed transportation enhancement efforts in the canyon.
We support efforts to make road changes to accommodate a future shuttle system and to make Mill Creek Canyon safer for canyon users and more sustainable. The CWC Stakeholders Council further specifically recommends the following:
- Widening the roadway to 24 feet to the degree feasible in the upper canyon with maximum 10-foot-wide travel lanes and a designated minimum 4-foot-wide bicycle and pedestrian lane or shoulder (uphill only). This includes improving the road base, culverts, and bridges. At a minimum there should be no lane width increase without some shoulder width increase.
- Maintaining the existing level of parking in the canyon by increasing parking lot capacity to offset loss of on-road parking on USFS land, including providing parking at every trailhead, picnic area and commonly used stopping area.
- Improving the roadway shoulder treatment to protect Mill Creek from erosion and hazardous substance inflow, to improve roadway sightlines, and to minimize annual roadside brush removal.
- Adding/improving restrooms at high traffic points. Adding potable water would be a great improvement if feasible.
- Designing infrastructure (roadway, parking, stop points, restrooms, signage, etc.) capable of supporting future shuttle service with minimal modification to reduce private vehicle traffic and congestion in the canyon.
- Setting the speed limit in the upper canyon above the winter gate to a maximum of 20 MPH for the safety of motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and wildlife.
- Maintaining the historical integrity of Millcreek Canyon features to the degree practical.
- Improving the safety of popular pedestrian road crossings using some combination of flashing lights, painted crossing areas, and/or signage.
- Installing communications infrastructure that can support an ‘upper canyon parking status’ electronic message sign at the bottom of the canyon and allow injuries, accidents, fires, and other problems to be reported quickly.
- Creating and communicating a set of lane-use standards for non-motorized users on the road above the gate when the gate is seasonally closed to improve the safety and user experience of pedestrians, dog-walkers, skiers, cyclists, and the few allowed vehicles on the road.
The Central Wasatch Commission recognizes that some of the requests for roadway improvements would require deference to local standards for roadways. Given the sensitive nature of Millcreek Canyon, we request that those local standards be applied. Further, the CWC acknowledges that the parameters of the FLAP grant do not allow for the installation of non-transportation related matters such as bathrooms or potable water. Nevertheless, there is an appetite for such improvements in Mill Creek Canyon as demonstrated by the Stakeholders Council recommendations.
Thank you for your consideration of these comments. The Central Wasatch Commission is available to discuss these matters further.
We look forward to being involved in the Millcreek Canyon FLAP grant process as it moves forward.
Christopher F. Robinson
Chair, Central Wasatch Commission
Vice-Chairman, Summit County Council
Millcreek City Mayor, Jeff Silvestrini
Salt Lake County Council Member, Jim Bradley
Cottonwood Heights Mayor, Mike Peterson
Salt Lake City Mayor, Erin Mendenhall
Sandy City Council Member, Marci Houseman
Park City Council Member, Max Doilney
Town of Alta Mayor, Harris Sondak
Town of Brighton Mayor, Dan Knopp
CWC Staff: Ralph Becker, Blake Perez, Lindsey Nielsen, Kaye Mickelson
Beckee Hotze, Forest Service Salt Lake District Ranger