Bipartisan bill addresses divisive lands dispute

Salt Lake City, Utah- (ABC4 Utah) – In an unusual display of bipartisanship local leaders announce a compromise bill for the Central Wasatch Mountains.


The bill brought people with broad political perspectives and interests to the table.


After years of negotiating it's finally ready to be introduced.


Local leaders hope it can end a longstanding and divisive battle.


When we talk about the Wasatch, you know, we have had litigation and contention around these lands for decades. And what we realize is that really is good for nobody,” said Salt Lake County Mayor, Ben McAdams.


That's why there has been a push to come together and compromise, and a new bill is the result of two years of negotiations.


McAdams says at times the talks were tense, but the end product is a win-win.


Consensus is much better than contention and litigation,” said McAdams.


That consensus has been drawn up in the Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area Act.


It's being sponsored by Representative, Jason Chaffetz.


We are a growing state. Everybody likes the beauty and enjoys Utah. They want to get up the canyons, but we also have to protect the watershed, we also have to make sure we have a responsible transportation plan,” said Chaffetz, (R) Utah.


The bill is a smaller part of the Mountain Accord.


It addresses the conflict over conservation and recreation needs for 80,000 acres in Salt Lake and Summit counties.


Republicans, democrats, environmental groups, ski resorts and residents hammered out the details.


A huge piece of the conversations that have been going on for years that will provide certainty for the protection of our wild places, wild spaces our precious back country, our water resources,” said Save Our Canyons Executive Director, Carl Fisher.


Fisher says the bill doesn't contain every thing his group wanted, but it strikes a good balance.


Hopefully it resolves decades, I mean decades of conflict, so we can all just get back to enjoying this place,” said Fisher.


Representative Chaffetz hopes to have the bill pushed through by the end of the year.

Click here to read the full bill. 

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