Steve Baker, KSL, File

Central Wasatch Commission approves funding for 6 projects in Cottonwood canyons

By Kyle Dunphey, KSL | Posted - May 13, 2020 at 10:18 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Hikers in the Cottonwood canyons will see some improvements this summer after the Central Wasatch Commission approved roughly $60,000 in funding for six new projects.

Two new bridges for the Dog Lake Trail in Big Cottonwood Canyon, continued maintenance of Forest Service bathrooms and a kiosk for “wag-bags” — essentially a portable toilet — at the Jacob’s Ladder trailhead to Lone Peak are among the improvements people looking to to recreate in the Wasatch Mountains can expect to see.

About $20,000 was aimed at supporting the Utah Open Lands Trust and its efforts to buy 26 acres at the bottom of Little Cottonwood Canyon that the commission says could soon be home to a new trailhead.

The commission also approved funding to sponsor a “chipper day” in the Cottonwood canyons to help mitigate potential wildfire threats, and a $2,600 donation to “graffiti-busters,” a grassroots group dedicated to cleaning up graffiti marring the canyons’ high-traffic areas.

The group, which says it removed around 300 tags on rock faces, bathroom doors and trail signs, will be armed with a new power washer and a water-safe solvent to remove the vandalism.

“We have six really worthwhile projects that will lead to a lot of good,” said Lindsey Nielsen, communications director for the Central Wasatch Commission. “This is just the beginning of the commission investing in tangible projects that are noticeable by the public, and there’s more to come.”

The Central Wasatch Commission is an outgrowth of the Mountain Accord, a vision set by local governments, environmental advocacy groups, ski industry leaders and private landowners to sustain tourism and recreation in the Wasatch Mountains.

With jurisdictions in both Salt Lake and Summit counties, the commission is comprised of local leaders including Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Salt Lake County Councilman Jim Bradley and Sandy Councilwoman Marci Houseman, all of whom sit on the short-term projects committee. In March, the committee opened a call for projects for the public to submit feasible, short-term proposals to promote sustainable recreation while protecting the watershed. The commission reviewed 35 ideas.

“The goal of the call for project ideas was for the committee and larger commission to see where the need for action exists in these mountains,” Nielsen said. “Where do we need to build a bridge? Where do we need to implement switchbacks on a trail that’s way too steep?”

Kyle Dunphey

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