Today, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski joined other local elected officials and environmental advocates in presenting testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources in support of the Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area Act (WNCRA). WNCRA is the result of Mountain Accord, a multi-year, collaborative public process to address long and short-term issues in the Central Wasatch.
In written testimony, Mayor Biskupski stressed the importance of protecting the delicate watershed areas of the Central Wasatch, which provide clean drinking water to over 500,000 people in the Salt Lake Valley. The Mayor also highlighted the generational approach Salt Lake City has taken in stewarding the 195 square miles of watershed, a legacy dating back to 1873.
“Salt Lake City has been the finest possible guardian of our critical watershed areas, and has provided residents and visitors with clean and reliable drinking water for generations,” said Mayor Biskupski on the legislation. “This is a legacy we take seriously, and the WNCRA ensures our children and grandchildren will have access to the same quality of water and environmental wonder we enjoy today.”
The WNCRA will designate approximately 80,000 acres of land as a National Conservation and Recreation Area, including areas that are within current and future planned sources of the Salt Lake Valley’s drinking water supply. The Act also facilitates land exchanges between the U.S. Forest Service and the four Cottonwood Canyon ski resorts, protecting delicate areas for year-round backcountry, watershed, and environmental use, while providing the ski resorts land for base area development.
“There has been a great unified showing from our community in support of Mountain Accord and the WNCRA,” said Mayor Biskupski in today’s testimony. “Everyone understands we have a once in a generation opportunity to protect the peaks, canyons, and streams which help define our area.”
The WCNRA is sponsored by, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, and co-sponsored by, Rep. Mia Love and Rep. Chris Stewart. Rep. Rob Bishop chairs the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources. The WCNRA has support from local municipalities, the Governor’s Office, state Legislature, private business, environmental organizations, and recreation enthusiasts.
The local delegation included: Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake City; Mayor Ben McAdams, Salt Lake County; Mayor Tom Dolan, Sandy; Mayor Tom Pollard, Town of Alta; Council Member Chris Robinson, Summit County; Bob Bonar, CEO of Snowbird; Jayme Blakesley, UTA; Laynee Jones, Mountain Accord; and Carl Fisher, Executive Director Save Our Canyons.