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SkiLink, Hatch and Lee

Published October 19, 2012 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz' proposed Y Mountain Access Enhancement Act (H.R. 4484), which recently passed the House, seeks the sale of 80 acres of Forest Service land to Brigham Young University to maintain coherent management of the Y Mountain trail. Fortunately, the land transfer bill mandates continued public access to adjacent Forest Service land, making it benign to hunters.

Contrast this with the SkiLink bill proposed by Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, the Wasatch Range Recreation Access Enhancement Act (S.1883), which mandates the sale of 30 acres of Forest Service land in Big Cottonwood Canyon to construct a private ski tram dedicated to transport visitors from Canyons Resort to the Brighton ski area.

I discussed SkiLink's negative impact on big game habitat and backcountry archery hunters interests in my op-ed, "SkiLink bad for elk" (Opinion, June 9). In addition to points already made, the lack of guaranteed public access in the SkiLink bill is of great concern.

Backcountry hunters oppose the SkiLink land sale because, under private ownership, public access could be blocked across Forest Service land on both sides of the long and narrow land sale corridor.

William Eckerle Secretary-treasurer, Utah Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Salt Lake City