December 12, 2012
Utah Considers Selling Off Public Land for Massive Ski Resort - 11
by Ben Lamb
There must be something strange in Utah water. The powers that be seem to have some problems with public land, especially land the public actually likes to use.
Case in point: There’s currently a proposal to link together seven ski resorts outside of Salt Lake City in the Wasatch Mountains called Skilink. The problem is; it’s public land, and it’s used pretty heavily by hunters, fisherman, hikers, bikers, and hippies. Only 30 acres would be given up in this deal, but it's a crucial 30 acres that would cut off access to a much larger area.
The U.S. Forest Service has limited development along this stretch of the Wasatch Front because it supplies drinking water to Salt Lake City. This area provides roughly 60 percent of the drinking water that the big city by the salt lick consumes.
But that’s not going to stop Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT). He’s sponsoring a bill to trade off all that land so the ski resorts can create an uber-resort. One where you are gently whisked away on a tram 40 feet in the air.
Skilink may seem like a small thing, but it’s part of a widening pattern of attempts to undermine one of America’s greatest treasures: Our public lands.
And those attempts are being led by Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT), among others. Representative Bishop does not seem to be a big supporter of conservation or wise use. His goal, it seems, is to hand those lands over to whoever can bid the highest.
The effect of the sale of public lands will certainly curtail the number of folks who get to hunt, as with the less available land, you will have less opportunity to hunt or fish. Public Lands are the great equalizer when it comes to ensuring the founding father’s vision that all Americans would have a place to hunt and fish and provide for their families. They are democratic in their nature, and provide more important resources like drinking water and clean air. Selling these lands off at bargain basement prices will change America forever.
Public Lands generate over $300 billion annually to local communities, counties and small businesses (and big businesses too.). These lands create jobs in the oil and gas, mining, logging and livestock industries. Abundant wildlife populations create manufacturing jobs for companies like Remington and Federal as well as the local sporting goods stores and box stores that sell them.
We put all of that at risk for a few sheckels and a high-speed ski lift.
About Open Country
Hunters and anglers across the nation consistently list one challenge as their primary obstacle to spending more time in the field: Access.
Outdoor Life's Open Country program aims to tackle that issue head on and with boots on the ground. The program highlights volunteer-driven efforts to improve access along with habitat improvements to make existing public lands even better places to hunt and fish. The program's goal is to substantially increase sportsman's access across the country by promoting events that make a difference.
Here on Open Country's blog page, contributors take a close look at access issues across the country. Some are public-policy discussions, where we investigate the nuances of public access. In other blogs, we shine a light on attempts to turn public recreation opportunities into private hunting and fishing domains. In still other blogs, we interview decision makers about access issues. Together, we fight for the ability of America's hunters and anglers to have a place to swing a gun or wet a line.
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