SALT LAKE CITY — A commission tasked with improvements along the central Wasatch canyons is once again accepting ideas for smaller, short-term projects aimed at helping the main purpose of the Mountain Accord.
The Central Wasatch Commission, which came out of the accord, is asking the public for ideas of small projects that could help recreational stewardship, environmental and watershed protection, economic viability of the mountains or transportation in the mountains, said Lindsey Nielsen, the associate director for the commission.
Its focus includes Millcreek, as well as Big and Little Cottonwood canyons, and the Wasatch backcountry.
Unlike some of the larger, long-term projects such as possible new transportation systems between Salt Lake and Summit counties, the short-term program seeks ideas that could be implemented within 6 to 12 months and cost fewer than $20,000 total from the commission.
The idea process is open to private citizens, nonprofit organizations and community groups.
"We're looking for projects that steward recreation, year-round recreation in the mountains — things like trails projects, trail maintenance, bridge building," Nielsen said. "We're looking for projects that usher in some transit and transportation solutions in the central Wasatch and surrounding areas like Wasatch Boulevard."
This is the second year that the commission has opened up the floor for ideas on short-term projects. The program resulted in seven projects within the area last year. Those included maintenance of three bathrooms located at Donut Falls and Mill B in Big Cottonwood Canyon, and Temple Quarry in Little Cottonwood Canyon in a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and Salt Lake City Public Utilities.
Another project was two bridges that helped visitors using the Dog Lake Trail to cross a ravine to the east of Reynolds Peak in partnership with the Forest Service and the organization Trails Utah.
They worked with the groups Save Our Canyons, the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance and Gear Room SLC for a project to replenish wag bags at the Jacob's Ladder trailhead so hikers on the longer hikes in the area could pack out human waste instead of leaving it in the wilderness and especially away from watershed area.
The commission also helped fund graffiti removal and even helped Utah Open Lands' effort to acquire 26 acres of land at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Cottonwood Heights to avoid new development and create a new trailhead for access to trails in the area, including the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.
Nielsen explained that while the Central Wasatch Commission is focused on the region, it's easy for its experts to miss items that could improve the quality of the central Wasatch. That's why began calling on residents, nonprofit organizations and community groups for help.
"We recognize that we don't know absolutely everything about where the need exists in the mountains," she said. "That was one of the main factors that motivated us to really make the call to the public to crowdsource information on where and what is needed directly from the people who use and recreate and live and drive so much value from the mountains."
Anyone eligible to submit ideas can do so by filling out an idea worksheet that can be found on the organization's website. The commission said people and qualified organizations can fill out multiple requests but asked that it be limited to one application per idea.
They can then email those worksheets to Nielsen at email@example.com. The deadline for submitting ideas is by the end of the workday April 12, she said.