Utah League of Cities and Towns

Making Life BETTER

Congressman Jim Matheson (D) – Bill Issues April 2012

Please describe a bill or an issue you are working on that directly impacts Utah’s cities and towns.

Backed by across-the-board support from numerous Utah municipalities, outdoor recreation, business and environmental groups, I have introduced the Wasatch Wilderness and Watershed Protection Act – H.R. 4267–in the U.S. House.

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 the Wasatch canyons. For 25 years, many stakeholders have talked about the goal of watershed protection and enhanced recreation in the Wasatch canyons. With this legislation, a locally-driven, open and transparent public lands collaboration will provide a path forward to accomplish that goal.

The bill creates new and additional wilderness areas on Grandeur Peak, Mt. Olympus, Twin Peaks and Lone Peak; sets aside more than 10,000 acres within “special management areas” to strengthen watershed protection while continuing permitted use by helicopter skiing; and resolves a conflict between backcountry skiers and Snowbird Ski Resort’s proposed expansion into White Pine Canyon. It also provides access to maintain private water supplies and allows for avalanche control to ensure public safety. As Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon said, “With the significant growth of our population depending on our mountains for water, it is more important than ever to protect our critical lands.”