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Is Park City Damned?

Did you know Park City is damned? At least that’s the claim of San Diego Free Press writer, Will Falk. Mr Falk recently penned an article called Park City is Damned: A Case Study in Civilization. It paints a bleak picture of Park City … and the world.

Mr Falk uses Park City as an example of how we are destroying the land that we love. While much of the article could apply to many places around the country, it rings true.

Mr Falk talks about the development currently going on. He also talks about potential development such as Treasure Hill. At one point he writes:

Park City is a damned town. Voices on the wind blowing in from the canyons whisper that this has always been true. Hollows groan with miners crushed in shafts long since collapsed, aspens still quake with memories of dynamite, and streams spit with tastes of mining waste. Mountains say nothing. They simply rise to the sky displaying their wounds. With shoulders flayed by roads and ski runs, their scars are reopened whenever forests threaten encroachment on skiers’ paths. First, these mountains had their guts ripped out by silver miners. Then, they had their skin peeled off by resorts. And, now they’re baking with climate change. 

Damn, he writes well. We’d recommend giving it a read.

So, what’s the Park Rag’s opinion? Is Park City damned? Yeah, probably, or maybe better said, eventually.

While Mr Falk speaks on a larger scale about how humans don’t respect the environment and that will lead to our species downfall, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Park City is an area on the brink of more immediate danger.

We know Park City and Summit County leaders try to put a positive spin on things… but it’s almost too late for that.

You don’t have to look any further than the Park City 4th of July Celebration. It’s a mess (and has been for a few years). They’ve tried to “solve it” but no solution could be agreed upon. One potential idea was just to cancel it. No one has the stomach for that.

Then you have traffic. Do you think buses and bikes are going to fix that? Count me as skeptical. If you haven’t got on a bus in the last year, I’ll count you as skeptical too.

Then we have growth. How many thousand units are going up between Silver Creek Village and Promentory? How many thousand units are going up just across the border in Wasatch County? How much vested development is there in Summit County?

Then you have the school district. It looks like their new bond will be for nearly identical things as 2015’s bond, for 50% more money. They create overcrowding in the elementary schools by offering all day kindergarten, and the scramble to try and fix the problem they partially created. They decide to move 9th grade back into the high school because there may be a few benefits, which then triggers a redesign of the Kearns Campus… and maybe the addition of another $100 million high school.

Main Street is becoming the Magnificent Mile with chain stores. Meanwhile, the city screws over the little guy during Sundance by shutting off lower Main.

Who knows how the Treasure Hill process goes forward. Will Woodward at Gorgoza be allowed to go forward with their huge indoor facility? Will the Discover project above Weilenman add another 100 homes that can be accessed via only a single, two lane road? Will Park City be connected to Big Cottonwood via a tunnel or some other means?

Will most of the above happen? Oh yeah, it’s just a matter of time.

That said, have we given up? No.

For me, I’m in it for the long-run. This is home. I’ve decided to fight the battles that I can fight. I live by the motto, “You can’t unbuild it.” So, the goal is simply extending the inevitable.

Can we keep the hill at the entrance to Jeremy Ranch as defacto open space for a while? Can we limit the development in the Boyer Tech Center to actual technology companies (or at least high paying jobs as intended)? Can we slow development along the Highway 40 corridor? Can we limit Vail’s influence on our town?

I believe we can.

Yes Mr Falk, we are damned in the long run; however I believe we can delay the inevitable — or maybe I HOPE we can delay the inevitable.

I’m not as eloquent as Mr Falk, so I’ll leave you with a quote from someone who is:

And I know that I’m damned if I never get out, And maybe I’m damned if I do, But with every other beat I’ve got left in my heart, You know I’d rather be damned with you.

Well, if I gotta be damned you know I wanna be damned…Dancing through the night with you.

Well, if I gotta be damned you know I wanna be damned— Gotta be damned, you know I wanna be damned— Gotta be damned, you know I wanna be damned…Dancing through the night— Dancing through the night— Dancing through the night with you.Jim Steinman

h/t to our friend on Twitter who first let us know about this article and then the person who tipped us off to the original article. As Always, we appreciate it.




Ah, sipping (imported from far away and not even vaguely necessary for life) coffee on your deck and complaining about other people building decks using imported materials…

This is why nobody listens to environmentalists. If everything is hopeless, why worry about it? And it’s especially hard to stomach the obvious hypocrisy of the writer. If you want to write this kind of thing, you damn well better be growing your own food living in a house you built from mud bricks.

Personally, I think technology will bail us out just like it has many times in the past. There are orders and orders of magnitude more energy hitting the earth via the sun every day than we use. We just have to get better at collecting it. There are plenty of stopgaps to use in the meantime to help give us a little extra time, too.


Will Falk brings up many valid points in his op-ed piece, but doesn’t really offer much of a solution short of “Park City should stop approving development… and then begin a (humane) population reduction program.” Well, thanks for nothing Mr. Falk. In the abstract, it’s easy to propose these solutions, but in the real world its just not that simple. His perspective is mostly a defeatist trope that suggests that we’re screwed no matter what we do from here. Bummer.

So if solar and wind power are just bullshit solutions that don’t solve the real problem (overpopulation), then we should just burn away all of our carbon fuels until the apocalypse rains down fire and brimstone on all of our great grandchildren. More bummer.

Finally, I find it ironic that a recent new arrival is telling us that we need to start moving people out of Park City. Mr. Falk moved here sometime in 2016. Last in should be first out, right?


Change is inevitable. Cities change, communities change. There is a huge demand for living and visiting Park City which isn’t something you can change. You can only influence how the city changes.

In my mind, you essentially have one choice. Do you want Park City to grow vertically or horizontally?

It seems you are a fan of the horizontal approach aka sprawl aka NIMBY, aka increased traffic, decreased walkability, increased resources used, increased pollution, less climate change resilience.

If you want Park City to be great in the future, I think you should be encouraging development in town that is mixed-use, has limited parking, which would allow people to walk or take the bus since they are in a part of town that is well served by transit. Yes the city will grow, but it will grow in a way that limits the contribution to climate change, is more affordable and inclusive, and is an enjoyable place to live.

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