Though the details of the Mountain Accord were already approved, a formal signing ceremony was held Monday for the ambitious plan to reshape the Central Wasatch Mountains through land swaps and preservation. It was an event to for the numerous stakeholders to reiterate their support and officially launch the project into it's next phase: more research, more public feedback and an Environmental Impact Statement.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and members of the Accord's executive committee were the first to sign, but anyone present at the meeting could add their names to the document.
Abstaining from signing were federal officials, who didn't want to appear to endorse the plan just yet. The U.S. Forest Service will have a big hand in Phase 2 of the Mountain Accord, as it will have to approve thousands of acres in land swaps with adjoining ski areas for the Accord to work.
The ski areas are not only agreeing to swap skiable acres for developable base area, they've also agreed to support a federal land designation prohibiting further ski area expansion onto public lands. How that shakes out in Phase 2 will impact other plans for the Central Wasatch Mountains, such as the One Wasatch interconnection of resorts and efforts to reduce auto traffic heading into Big Cottonwood Canyon.
It's been years getting to this point for the many individuals and organizations behind the Mountain Accord, and Phase 2 will require even more work and cooperation with federal agencies to complete the Environmental Impact Statement and gain approval for land swaps included in the Accord.
· Mountain Accord [Official Site]
· One Wasatch [Official Site]
· Utah's Mountain Accord Receives Approval to Move Forward [Curbed Ski]
· Is Mountain Accord Good for Utah's Wasatch? [Curbed Ski]
· Mountain Accord Unveils Ambitious Plan [Curbed Ski]
· New Utah Blueprint Threatens One Wasatch [Curbed Ski]
· Just How Big is Utah's Plan for a Mega Ski Resort? [Curbed Ski]
· New Map Shows How 7 Utah Ski Areas Could Become One [Curbed Ski]
· Connecting 7 Wasatch Ski Areas in Utah: Could it Work? [Curbed Ski]