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What Exactly Is the Role of Mountain Accord?

I received an email over the weekend, touting Mountain Accord’s involvement in funding a trails project at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. When I first read the email, I thought, “Well, at least some good is coming out of the Mountain Accord.” Yet a question kept nagging at me. Is this what we expect the Mountain Accord to be doing?

In this case they provided $20,000 to the effort to clean up the Grit Mill area at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon. It’s an area frequented by climbers, has a graffiti problem and lots of unofficial “trails” that lead to erosion. The recipient of the funding, the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance says, “years of unplanned usage has been a “spiderwebbed” collection of access trails that cause erosion and degradation of the water shed.” The article references Mountain Accord Director Laynee Jones and says “the project is emblematic of the sensible planning Accord signers want to see throughout the Central Wasatch.”

That all sounds good.

Yet, Summit County is putting about $50,000 into the Mountain Accord this year. So about two-fifths of that amount is going toward this trail project. More importantly, is building trails how we envisioned a portion of our money being used? In my mind, I thought it was looking at grand solutions like massive land swaps, protecting forestry land, changing the face of transportation, and providing studies. In fact, I, incorrectly I guess, thought we were still in the research phase of making plans. I didn’t realize projects were being funded.

Perhaps, this is a good use of Mountain Accord funds. As stated, maybe it is emblematic of the type of project and organization the Mountain Accord members (i.e. you and me) want to support. Maybe the idea of Mountain Accord is to focus on both the macro and micro level over the next few years, and while working on the grand solution, they’ll be using their funding on local projects.

If it is, and projects like these are where Mountain Accord is going to be spending their money, I hope Rena Jordan at Basin Rec and Charlie Sturgis at Mountain Trails are trying to get on that gravy train. I’m sure the Park City area has many trails that could benefit from this funding. If Mountain Accord truly is a regional solution, and is now into funding trail rehab, it should also support trail efforts on this side of the Wasatch.




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