March 2024 Update

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march update

Hello WBA community, 

We hope you’ve been getting out enjoying the variable and exciting conditions that early spring typically brings! 

Last week, the Town of Alta held a special Town Council meeting to discuss whether to support or oppose the gondola. They are considering responding to the Utah Department of Transportation’s Little Cottonwood Canyon EIS and Record of Decision. We need not say, this is a big deal! Read our latest blog to learn what WBA supports in the Town Council’s resolution. 

Worth a read…


Member Meeting

We want to hear from you! WBA is the recognized voice for the winter backcountry community in the Central Wasatch Mountains, but we need community input! We want to know what issues you care about and what questions you have regarding the Central Wasatch. Share your questions and comments with us by emailing info@wasatchbackcountryalliance.org and we will answer them at our member meeting. 

Wednesday, March 20 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Anderson-Foothill Branch Library (Meeting Room is downstairs)
1135 S 2100 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84108 

Carpooling is recommended as parking is limited. This event is free and open to the public. Show your WBA membership confirmation to receive a WBA gear patch!


#WasatchBackcountryAppreciationDay

We’ll be celebrating #WasatchBackcountryAppreciationDay on March 16 and we hope you’ll join us! Get out in the beautiful mountains we call home, enjoy the day, and tag @wasatchbackcountryalliance and #WasatchBackcountryAppreciationDay to share the stoke from some of your favorite days in the Wasatch. We truly appreciate everyone using their voice to stand up for our environment and protect the places we love.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides

Lately we’ve received many comments about Wasatch Powderbird Guides (WPG) heli operations. While there are many different user groups in the Wasatch, we want to make sure all are adhering to protocols to help maintain the balance between users. We reached out to the Forest Service to request a copy of their Special Use Permit to clarify their permitted operations in the tri-canyon area and have yet to receive a copy.

Thanks to those who reached out to WBA regarding Wasatch Powderbird Guides. Our community of backcountry skiers and splitboarders are often the literal and figurative “boots on the ground” when it comes to flagging concerns in the Wasatch.

Do you want to avoid touring in the same zone as Powderbirds? Check out their operations log to know where they are planning to fly, and it’s also helpful to confirm where they flew the day you saw them to ensure accuracy in their records. If there are discrepancies, please let us know. 


Confrontation at Brighton

You probably read the news reports and/or seen the video of the armed confrontation between a snowboarder and private property owner at Brighton on Saturday, February 24, 2024. We want to encourage backcountry users to be vigilant about knowing where they are and respecting private property in order to avoid running into a similar situation. 

Though legally the burden of proof of actual trespassing lies with the actual landowner, it’s always best to do as the snowboarder did and work to de-escalate the situation. It is often a good idea to specifically identify your location — perhaps with a gps waypoint — to eventually help clarify property boundaries.  


Cardiff Fork

Since the start of new year, we’ve racked up close to 20 hours in meetings alone, not to mention other behind-the-scenes work we are dedicating to understanding and dealing with the property ownership issues in Cardiff Fork.

While negotiating a formal access agreement up the Cardiff Fork road has not come to fruition for this season, we continue to pursue access options and are optimistic about the future of backcountry skiing in Cardiff Fork.

As we have said before, going up the summer road/trail means crossing both public and private land, the boundaries between are unclear, and the Special Use Permit that allowed reciprocal access between the landowners and the public was not applied for renewal by the owners association in May 2022. The large private landowner in the upper canyon (Holy Toledo and Pole Line Pass areas) has provided permission to access to upper Cardiff. Know that we are playing the long-term game and stay tuned for bigger updates down the road.


Support WBA

Thanks for reading this update! We know how much you care about the Wasatch Backcountry! This season we made the big change to hire a director to more effectively address the myriad of major issues we are facing, so help us continue and amplify our efforts to protect terrain and access by donating or becoming a member today. As a small nonprofit, we can’t accomplish our goals without your support.


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