SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Amid a host of concerns from residents, a commission charged with overseeing plans for a series of canyons in the Salt Lake City area delayed a vote on whether to support a proposal that would add federal protections for backcountry lands in exchange for allowing more development near the bases of three ski resorts.
The Central Wasatch Commission delayed the vote Monday, choosing instead to wait until three new members are seated next month and have a chance to weigh in, the Deseret News reported .
“I think we are moving in the right direction. Nevertheless, to me personally, in light of the fact that this membership is changing drastically in the next 30 days,” the vote should be delayed, said Cottonwood Heights Mayor Mike Peterson, a member of the commission.
The Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area Act would feature land swaps with the U.S. Forest Service and establish 12.5 square miles (32.4 square kilometers) of new wilderness.
Some community councils are opposed to the measure, which Rep. Mia Love’s office has indicated it will only bring forward if consensus is reached.
Greg Schiffman of the Granite Community Council said there is strong opposition among the community councils.
“These organizations represent residents who are mostly affected by the proposed designation and you clearly don’t have consensus,” he said.
Commission chair Chris McCandless stressed that the proposal for new wilderness and a new conservation area is not about taking away private property or interfering with water rights.
“We don’t want to take away your property,” he said. “We are just like you guys. We love these canyons like anybody else. ”
Anderson added there is no need for additional wilderness.
Motorized access is possible in the wilderness area in the event of a fire, said commission executive director Ralph Becker, but Marshall said he worries not enough attention is being paid to prevention.
Becker said there are a number of issues that continue to be worked on to fine tune the bill, including the ongoing debate over whether mountain biking will be allowed or prohibited in the White Pine recreation area.
Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com