Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) today introduced the Wasatch Range Recreation Access Enhancement Act in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate [H.R. 3452, S. 1883]. This legislation would make available 30 acres of federal land for sale at fair market value that would be utilized to create a gondola transportation system to link Canyons Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort, connecting more than 6,000 acres of mountain terrain.
It is estimated that the new gondola could create more than 500 permanent jobs and infuse more than $50 million into the local economy. The enhanced accessibility will bolster both tourism revenue and job creation in the state.
вЂњUtah is home to the greatest snow on earth. The bill will give UtahnsВ and visitors better access to that snow. I look forward to the day when someone can park at a resort in one canyon and spend the day skiing in another canyon. This will be a big boon to our stateвЂ™s tourism. I am always glad to do everything I can to free up public lands for the kind of development that will help grow UtahвЂ™s economy and give those wishing to enjoy our beautiful state an expanded ability to do so,вЂќ Senator Hatch said.
вЂњUtah offers some of the countryвЂ™s most preeminent winter recreation opportunities and our mountain resorts are second to none. Unfortunately, getting from one mountain resort to another can be a challenge for locals and tourists looking to take advantage of all that Utah has to offer. By freeing up this small sliver of land and making access between the two regions convenient for all, we will improve our ability to showcase UtahвЂ™s diverse and world-class mountain terrain. This legislation will not only bolster tourism revenue upon which so many seasonal winter industries rely, but will also create jobs in our state,вЂќ said Congressman Bishop.
Currently, those interested in accessing both resort communities must travel more than 35 miles by car or shuttle. The new gondola system will extend two miles between the resorts, cutting down on the need for visitors to travel by car. This will not only improve accessibility, but will also help alleviate traffic in the canyon by 18,000 autos per year, reducing both congestion and emissions from cars traveling between the two regions.
вЂњI will always support measures that will give the state of Utah more control over UtahвЂ™s land. Tourism is an extremely important part of the state economy, and releasing this small section of land from federal control so that it may be sold and developed will improve UtahвЂ™s tourism appeal while increasing transportation efficiency and creating jobs. I am proud to co-sponsor legislation that will be such a boon for my home state,вЂќ said Senator Mike Lee.
вЂњAccess and opportunities to ski the greatest snow on earth will improve and increase dramatically under the parameters of this bill. I support the project and the positive impacts it will have on the State of Utah,вЂќ said Congressman Jason Chaffetz.
In addition to reducing emissions from autos, the bill ensures that all appropriate environmental policies are considered including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act and all other applicable laws.