Stakeholders join governor for Mountain Accord signing ceremony

- SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – A controversial plan to manage the future of the Wasatch Mountains is moving to the next phase.

Monday, Governor Gary Herbert signed the Mountain Accord at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

The governor calls it an appropriate balance between development and conservation.

At times the discussion between stakeholders got heated.

"Nobody has threatened to leave the table. They've said look, we'll stay here, we'll continue to hash through this until we find that compromise point," said Herbert, (R-UT).

A couple of years and hundreds of meetings later that compromise takes the form of the Mountain Accord.

"Which means we have an agreement as far as a blueprint going forward to how we can preserve and protect and yet have some development of our Central Wasatch Mountains," said Herbert.

Among other things the accord includes proposed land swaps with the U.S. Forest Service and ski areas, trail improvements and environmental impact studies.

"It's important, certainly to the Wasatch Front that we protect the water and all the ecological system that is out there," said Herbert.

Paul Hansen was there as the governor joined others for a signing ceremony.

He says parts of the compromise are good, but it also has its shortcomings.

"I do think that the transportation proposal is way out of line with what would benefit the public here,” said Hansen.

He thinks the plan needs to include parking garages at existing park and ride locations and increased bus service.

The governor insists all options were considered as cities, counties, the state and others negotiated common ground.

"It's really going to be all those entities working together to develop policy that will give us the positive outcomes that reflect this Mountain Accord recommendation today," said Herbert.

Phase two will include research into all the recommendations and continued public feedback.

More than 20 organizations contributed to the Mountain Accord agreement.

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