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Our favorite stories about public lands and opportunities for you to get involved in protecting your outdoor experiences.

 

Grass-tops Update: Salt Lake City, UT

Tom Flynn

The Greatest Snow on Earth. The Wasatch Crest. Little Cottonwood. Big Cottonwood. IMBA’s only Gold Level Ride Center.

Whether you backcountry ski, climb, mountain bike or hike, you know about the Wasatch, Salt Lake City’s backyard mountain range. With some of the best backcountry skiing access in the US, world class trails and great rock, the Wasatch is a mecca for human powered outdoor recreation.

Beers and advocacy.

Earlier this month, we travelled to Salt Lake city to host a meeting with some of the leading advocates for the Wasatch. Black Diamond Equipment, a powerful industry voice for recreation and conservation, generously offered us space in their headquarters. With the Salt Lake Climbers AllianceTrails UtahSave our Canyons, the Wasatch Mountain Club, athletes like Noah Howell and Andrew McLean and other leaders, we discussed some of the issues and opportunities facing the Wasatch range and the rest of Utah.

For an area with such a wealth of recreation opportunities, the Wasatch does not have a great deal of coordinated advocacy on behalf of human powered recreation. As a group, we discussed this and other opportunities, like a dedicated voice for backcountry skiers and a clearinghouse for information on the dizzying array of planning efforts underway.

We also identified the need to develop a narrative for why backcountry skiing, climbing and mountain biking matter to Salt Lake City. Specifically, how these activities benefit everything from the economy to public health, as well as difficult-to-measure affects like attracting new businesses – Black Diamond being a prime example. The impact of human powered recreation in the Wastach is a story that needs telling.

All of us from Outdoor Alliance and from Salt Lake recognized the need for a human powered voice equal to the national-caliber resource of the Wasatch. We are excited to work with the local leaders we met to determine what this looks like and how this voice might speak not only for recreation in the Wasatch, but also weigh in on statewide and national public land policies.