This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
As responsible owners and committed stewards of precious land in Little Cottonwood Canyon and American Fork Canyon, we are informing interested parties of ongoing activity with a Snowbird Report to the Community. To that end, I am pleased to share the following update of Snowbird's activities.
The first quarter of water sampling, conducted by a certified third-party contractor, and observed by American Fork City, shows negligible water quality impacts to American Fork River from Mary Ellen Gulch. Ongoing water quality sampling is a condition of the Utah County Board of Adjustment's Conditional Use Permit approval of Snowbird's application to construct lifts on its private property in Mary Ellen Gulch. Although this water is not classified as a drinking water source, we are pleased these stringent standards have been met. Additionally, aquatic wildlife standards are met before Mary Ellen Creek reaches the American Fork River.
Snowbird will continue to work closely with Utah Division of Water Quality, Utah County and American Fork City to protect water quality in American Fork Canyon. We are pleased to announce our partnership with Trout Unlimited to collaboratively seek ways to positively impact water quality in upper American Fork Canyon.
Expanding upon these beneficial, collaborative partnerships, Snowbird is pro-actively engaging with key stakeholders and the community through the initiation of the Mary Ellen Resource Interest Taskforce (MERIT). This task force will foster understanding, participation and the sharing of information about resource use, recreational access and water quality. The group includes various governmental agencies, outdoor groups, recreational interests, land and environmental conservation and advocacy groups, nearby cities, irrigation companies and Utah County.
Enthusiasm for the outdoors is why so many choose Utah as a place to live and to visit. All of us at Snowbird equally enjoy recreating in these beautiful mountains.
We continue to allow public access to Snowbird's private property to hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and summer motorized users (AFC). Despite any rumors, we are not building condos or hotels in American Fork Canyon.
Snowbird has been a proud, responsible steward of this land for the past 45 years. As we have developed one of the world's top mountain resorts, our clean-up efforts have been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which issued Snowbird its Environmental Achievement Award. In addition, we have significantly contributed to the local economy in terms of jobs and year round recreation and tourism opportunities.
Snowbird will continue, as we always have, to be excellent stewards of water and the environment. We appreciate the ongoing input and community involvement on these issues. We will continue in our commitment to inform the public of updates relating to these beautiful canyons that are treasured by so many.
Bob Bonar is CEO and president of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.