The snow is melting, but our work doesn’t stop in the summer.

Wasatch Backcountry Alliance is asking for your support to raise $100,000 this summer to help secure backcountry access for the future. It is no small ask, but we know our community will rally behind our cause. We will provide shuttles to reduce traffic and parking congestion. We will continue the fight against the gondola and future development in backcountry terrain. We will work with the Cardiff community and Forest Service to regain access to Cardiff. And we will continue to monitor trailhead usage to help better serve and advocate for our community members. 

Please help us fight for backcountry access and terrain. We must protect the balance between undeveloped and developed terrain in our small but mighty mountains. All donations go towards advocating to protect backcountry terrain and access in the Central Wasatch.

A New Milestone

This season Wasatch Backcountry Alliance (WBA) celebrated a decade of advocacy! In 2013, a small group of passionate backcountry skiers organized to represent the voice of the backcountry community in the Central Wasatch. An imminent threat to the backcountry at the time was SkiLink, a proposal to connect Solitude to The Canyons (now Park City Mountain Resort) via a gondola on public lands to be sold to Talisker, a Canadian company and resort owner at the time. This led to the formation of WBA, which created organized resistance to protect these mountains that we call home. In addition to helping stop SkiLink, we helped prevent other development proposals that would chip away at backcountry terrain such as the One Wasatch interconnect plan, resort expansion into Patsey Marley and Grizzly Gulch, saving Bonanza Flats and taking an active role in efforts to prevent UDOT’s proposed gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon. 

In our ten-year history, we’ve managed to advocate for and represent the backcountry community thanks to the work of our all-volunteer board of directors. Many of these individuals have been volunteering their time since the formation of WBA.

It has become apparent in recent years that WBA would benefit from hiring an employee to help us keep abreast of the many little — and big — events, meetings, and developments that affect our mission of protecting and preserving backcountry access in the Central Wasatch. In the fall of 2023, the Board voted to bring on its first full-time employee. This position was created to help drive and solidify our place among decision-makers in protecting the areas we love most. Our very own Dani Poirier answered the call and has added a leading voice to our organization. Dani has been involved with WBA for the past nine years and is familiar with the intricacies of our complex mountains. 

Up until this big organizational development, we haven’t pursued serious fundraising initiatives because, frankly, we haven’t needed to. But now that we’ve leveled up our efforts to protect the backcountry, we are asking you to level up your support for WBA.

Key Initiatives

Dispersed Access
Backcountry Shuttle
Trail Counting Program
Cardiff Fork
Gondola-Free LCC

Click on a tile to learn more or visit our Active Projects page.

Dispersed Access

Advocating for access to public lands and historically-traveled backcountry zones is our biggest ongoing project. This past season we negotiated for parking opportunities for backcountry users accessing public lands in BCC. Our canyons are changing with the increased demand, but WBA will advocate for the backcountry community. Your support will ensure we can continue to meet with land managers and decision-makers to advocate for protecting backcountry access and terrain. 

Backcountry Shuttle

Since 2016, WBA has provided a shuttle to demonstrate that micro-transit solutions can work for wintertime dispersed recreation users. Our Backcountry Shuttle runs every Saturday in BCC & LCC. We plan to expand this program with additional funding.

Trail Counting Program

WBA’s winter trailhead counter project provides the first-ever long-term record of non-motorized winter recreational use in the Central Wasatch. We now manage 29 infrared counters throughout popular trailheads. Our data is helping influence decision-makers on the importance of providing backcountry access.

Cardiff Fork Access

WBA has participated in discussions concerning Cardiff Fork access long before the Forest Service permit expired that allowed the public to cross private lands in order to access public lands from the mouth of the drainage. WBA is a key stakeholder in working to gain back access via a permit renewal or alternative agreements. We are working with landowners, county council members, and the Forest Service to gain back historical access.

Keeping LCC Gondola-Free

WBA has closely followed UDOT’s EIS and the gondola proposal for years. We are an active participant in a coalition of organizations and individuals working to stop the gondola and provide common-sense alternatives. Similarly, we have fought for the balanced protection of Grizzly Gulch, Patsy Marley, and the Emma’s against future development, as well as fought for maintaining access to these cherished backcountry zones. 

A Complex Range

Did you know that the Central Wasatch is a complicated patchwork of public Forest Service land, private land, ski resort-owned land, ski resort leased Forest Service land, mining claims, townships, public utilities, easements, Wilderness, watershed and more?

Unfortunately this means that threats to the backcountry are ever present in this sought-after mountain range and finding solutions is never easy.

Community Conversations

Decision makers are listening to WBA! Much of our work happens through meetings and communications with various stakeholders such as mayors, resort managers, the Forest Service, businesses, UDOT, and local representatives. This past 23/24 season, we worked with the following organizations in various capacities.

community partners

Summer Projects

Summer is a crucial time to set up for a successful winter season. Here’s what WBA will work on this summer:

Join Us

We are on a mission to build a stronger community to help protect the recreation of places we love. Your membership will fund current and future projects, while connecting you with fellow community members through social gatherings and education.