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Opponents to protest SkiLink coalition

Skiing » Conservationists plan rally just before businesses announce support for gondola.

First Published Apr 23 2012 04:10 pm • Last Updated Apr 25 2012 05:17 pm

SkiLink opponents have scheduled a rally for 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Salt Lake Chamber’s offices, 175 E. 400 South, where 15 minutes later business and government leaders are set to announce the creation of a coalition to support the controversial proposal.

On its website Monday, the conservationist group Save Our Canyons invited SkiLink foes to "bring your friends, bring your fury" to protest Talisker Inc.’s plans to build a gondola from Canyons Resort, which it owns outside of Park City, to Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

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"The goal of this coalition will be to sell SkiLink as a viable venture both economically and environmentally," said Save Our Canyons’ organizer Jennifer Kecor. "Gathering such support for SkiLink will set the stage for promoting future interconnection between ski resorts along the Wasatch — the be all, end all precedent for the ski industry’s domination of the Wasatch."

Chamber President and Chief Executive Lane Beattie will be named at the 9:15 a.m. news conference as one of three co-chairmen of Lift Utah, a coalition of 20 business and government leaders that supports the Canadian company’s efforts to bridge the ridge between the ski resorts in Summit and Salt Lake counties.

Republicans in Utah’s congressional delegation have introduced a bill that would require the U.S. Forest Service to sell 30 acres it owns in Big Cottonwood Canyon to Talisker, removing public lands from the path of the envisioned gondola.

Former U.S. Sen. Jake Garn and Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan also are co-chairmen of the coalition, which includes representatives of Solitude and Canyons resorts, Zions First National Bank, The Boyer Co., Vacation Roost, Gaddis Investment, Ken Garff Automotive Group, Arbor Commercial, Ivory Homes, Maverik Co., the Kimball Junction Association, attorney Gordon Strachan, state Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, and the Park City and Sandy chambers of commerce.

"What the Canyons and Solitude and their soulless coalition of industry representatives … are trying to demonstrate is the growing support for SkiLink," added Save Our Canyons Executive Director Carl Fisher. "The problem is, the only people they can find are those who stand to benefit financially from projects that impact the public domains across this great state."


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