This past winter, the problems of dependence on single-driver cars on Northern Utah’s mountain roads resulted in a record number of traffic jams and canyon closures as skiers flocked to enjoy this season’s frequent powder days. The “Red Snake,” as some drivers call the line of brake lights crawling up the canyons, became an all-too familiar sight in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons—home of world famous ski resorts Brighton, Solitude, Alta and Snowbird.
This is a Local Problem
“The visitors coming to Utah to ski are either staying at the resorts, taking a bus or driving up the canyon in cars with more than one person,” said Ski Utah President and Mountain Accord Executive Committee member Nathan Rafferty. “It’s us, the locals who are driving up the canyon in one-passenger cars. It’s incumbent upon us to make a change.”
Utah’s population is expected to jump from 3 million to 4 million in the next decade. Mountain Accord was created to make critical decisions and implement solutions to preserve the Central Wasatch and ensure its long-term vitality. One of the highest priorities for the Mountain Accord is to, by 2017, have transportation solutions that will provide more options to reduce congestion in Little Cottonwood, Big Cottonwood and Parley’s Canyons, encouraging public transportation use while discouraging single passenger, private car use.
“The problem isn’t going to fix itself,” said Mountain Accord Program Director Laynee Jones. “Mountain Accord is working toward practical solutions that we can immediately implement to reduce impact when we travel into our canyons. The time to act is now.”
Jones ‘sense of urgency is underscored by a recently released U.S. Forest Service study (“Paths More Traveled,” USFS June 2015). The project looked at the effects of population growth on forestlands around the nation and looked at every USFS acre in the United States. It predicts that, nationally, forest visitation is on the rise and will jump from 83 million in 2010 to 94 million in 2020. That’s an increase of 1.2 million individuals each year. Out of all the areas examined in the study, the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest is expected to see the greatest increase.
You Can Help
You can help with this serious issue. Take the Mountain Accord Survey and provide your voice to the many others that are asking for transportation solutions that will preserve Utah’s important recreation areas that will provide more options to reduce congestion in Little Cottonwood, Big Cottonwood and Parley’s Canyons, encouraging public transportation use while discouraging single passenger, private car use.
LINK: TAKE THE MOUNTAIN ACCORD TRANSPORATION SURVEY: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BH3VWV6