The Wasatch Front Canyons are the stunning backdrop to our capital city. They are also the source of clean drinking water for hundreds of thousands of Salt Lake Valley residents, as well as a beautiful playground for millions of residents and visitors.
Ever since the Mormon pioneers camped by the mouth of City Creek in 1847, our prosperity and our quality of life has been linked to the abundant, clean water flowing from these canyons. Protecting that watershed and conserving the natural beauty is the goal behind federal legislation I will introduce.
The Wasatch Wilderness and Watershed Protection Act is the culmination of months of stakeholder meetings. Diverse groups such as the Salt Lake City Water Department, Snowbird Ski Resort, Save our Canyons, mountain-bikers and outdoor businesses collaborated on the issues that needed to be resolved. Compromise meant that no one group received everything it wanted but everyone agrees on the ultimate goal: protect the watershed and preserve the outdoor experience.
My legislation designates over 26,000 acres of wilderness and special management area protection on Grandeur Peak, Mt Olympus, Twin Peaks and Lone Peaks. A new wilderness area—7,759 acres that includes the north drainage of Mill Creek Canyon and the southern drainage of Parley’s Canyon—will be named after the late 2nd District Congressman Wayne Owens. It is a fitting tribute in honor of his tireless advocacy on behalf of Utah public lands.
Utahns see these canyons as their beautiful backyard—a place to get away outdoors and to enjoy some ‘down’ time with their families. Many happy memories that include picnics, hiking, snowshoeing, rock-climbing or just relaxing have taken place there.
You can read more about the legislation in this news report. Please contact me and let me know what you think about efforts to expand wilderness and protect our drinking water.