January Newsletter 2014

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Hello Wasatch Backcountry Alliance Members!

Thank you for becoming a member of Wasatch Backcountry Alliance. This newly created  organization is committed to keeping you informed and advocate on your behalf for maintaining the balance of multi-use Winter recreation in the Wasatch and also celebrate Winter human-powered recreation!

We are happy to say that we are approaching 1000 members!  Clearly there are a lot of people out there like you, who feel passionate about preserving the integrity of the Wasatch backcountry. Wasatch Backcountry Alliance hopes to provide a unified voice to defend that integrity.  To keep up on the latest happenings and information please “Like” our Facebook page and visit our website at wasatchbackcountry.org.  Also please check in with your friends – both locally and those sea level folks from out-of-town whom you drag around the backcountry – and tell them about us and remind them how painless it is to become a member and how important it is that they stand up and be counted!

As you may know, Wasatch Backcountry Alliance was borne out of the Stop SkiLink movement. It seems clear that the tidal wave of public opposition to SkiLink had a strong effect on proponents’ plans, and we are keen to galvanize that support to ensure that any future transportation and/or development plan takes into account the perspective of human-powered winter recreators.

January 14 is a big day:  it is the first meeting of the stakeholders for the Mountain Accord, an initiative spearheaded by SL County Mayor, Ben McAdams and SLC Mayor, Ralph Becker to provide a framework for how we move about and recreate in the Wasatch Mountains as our valley populations grow.  We are pleased report that Wasatch Backcountry Alliance has been invited as a stakeholder to represent the human-powered winter recreators’ interests! We will be sure to keep you updated on the Wasatch Summit discussions.

Here are some other things that Wasatch Backcountry Alliance is keeping an eye on:

Ski Utah has plans to renew their push – in a big way – for the “Interconnect” to eventually link all the ski resorts.  Fundamentally, it’s important for you to know that Wasatch Backcountry Alliance is in favor of alternative transportation options up, down, and between the major canyons, but adding ski lifts (and therefore terrain) to existing resorts is not “transportation” per se, and as such the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance will oppose the Interconnect.

UDOT has proposed a $200k study looking into the viability of plowing some of the currently-closed winter highways, such as the Mirror Lake Highway and SR 265 (Big Mountain).  We are monitoring this closely.

We are excited to represent you in meaningful ways regarding issues affecting the Wasatch and also hope to find opportunities to celebrate our love of human-powered recreation in these pristine mountains.

Thanks again for your membership, and we’ll be in touch again soon!

Enjoy the Snow!,

Wasatch Backcountry Alliance Board of Directors

Jamie Kent, Noah Howell, Tom Diegel, Mark Menlove, Jenny Macfarlane, George Vargyas, Brad Rutledge, Andrew McLean and Brad Barlage


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