This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Utah's members of Congress are up to the same old tricks we saw in the mid-1990s, when Rep. Jim Hansen and Sen. Orrin Hatch drafted legislation that would eventually place 1,320 acres of public land at Snow Basin into the hands of Earl Holding's Sun Valley Corp. to host races for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. That was no way to dispose of public lands, and still isn't.
This time, Rep. Rob Bishop and Hatch are seeking to sell U.S. Forest Service lands to construct an interconnecting "SkiLink" gondola between The Canyons and Solitude ski resorts. Their proposed Wasatch Range Recreation Access Enhancement Act (H.R.3452 and S.1883) resurrects a decades-old special-interest proposal that was successfully debated and defeated by Utahns.
Apparently, most of Utah's congressional delegation would like to see Utah's ski areas that are located on Forest Service lands sold to resort operators. With each new so-called land exchange, or sale of public land to ostensibly "reduce the federal deficit," their devious wish may eventually come true.
If we continue to transfer recreation lands in the public domain into the hands of private owners, the Wasatch Range will never be the same.