Environews, Regulars and Shorts

Environews: July 2012

By Dennis Hinkamp

SLC trail system grows; Gasco Project threatens Desolation Canyon; “Bidder 70” premieres at Telluride Mountain Film Festival; GSL Water Quality Strategy comments due July 15; Look out for bears!
by Amy Brunvand

SLC trail system grows

On June 7 Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker celebrated the completion of a new segment of the Jordan River Trail linking Salt Lake and Davis Counties. The new segment from Redwood Road at approximately 1800 North, to the Davis County line connects three trail systems: the Jordan River Parkway Trail, the Legacy Parkway Trail and the Denver & Rio Grande Western Rail Trail so that trail users can now travel on 34 miles of continuous off-road, paved trail. Only four small gaps remain to complete the Jordan River Trail as planned.


Gasco Project threatens Desolation Canyon

Over objections from environmentalists and river runners, the U.S. Dept. of the Interior approved plans from Denver-based Gasco Energy to drill nearly 13,000 gas wells in the Uinta Basin near Desolation Canyon on the Green River, about 200 of them within the Desolation Canyon-proposed wilderness area which is the one of the largest blocks of roadless BLM public lands in the continental United States. Major concerns about the project include impacts to cultural resources in Nine Mile Canyon, the Green River and associated recreation, 100-year floodplains, endangered fish critical habitat, water quality (surface and ground), air quality, and lands with wilderness characteristics. A compromise could have eliminated the 200 controversial wells and allowed most of the project to go forward. But Gasco’s idea of protecting Desolation Canyon is that no wells will be built in the Green River view shed. Out of sight, out of mind.

“Bidder 70” premieres at Telluride Mountain Film Festival

Local environmental hero Tim DeChristopher is still making waves. Over Memorial Day weekend the film “Bidder 70” about DeChristopher’s act of civil disobedience and its aftermath premiered at the Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride Colorado to a sold-out audience and a standing ovation. The film took second place for the Audience Choice award. In addition, Peaceful Uprising, the activist group founded by DeChristopher, was awarded a “Moving Mountains” prize that goes to a non-profit featured in a documentary film at the festival. “Bidder 70” started to get positive buzz after it was shown as a work-in-progress at the Cleveland International Film Festival and it is going on to be shown at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York City, Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan, and Crested Butte Film Festival in Colorado. Online news sites Huffington Post and Alternet have both listed the film as a must-see eco-documentary.


GSL Water Quality Strategy comments due July 15

The Utah Division of Water Quality is accepting public comments on a new Great Salt Lake Water Quality Strategy. The salty GSL is such a unique ecosystem that normal water quality standards don’t apply, so DWQ plans to develop a set of criteria specific to the Lake. GSL is an essential stopover for millions migratory birds. It also contributes over $1 billion annually to Utah’s economy from mineral extraction industry, duck hunting and the brine shrimp industry. At the same time it is used as a dumping ground for industrial discharge and municipal sewage.

waterquality.utah.gov/greatsaltlake/index.htm, fogsl.org

Look out for bears!

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says that the hot, dry weather means bears in search of food are more likely to look for it at your campsite or cabin. In order to protect yourself and the bears, keep your campsite clean:

• Store your food and scented items, such as deodorants and tooth paste, in areas where bears can’t get them. Inside a trailer or in the trunk of your car are good choices.

• Keep your cooking grill clean. And clean anything you used to prepare, eat or clean up food.

• Keep your campsite or cabin area clean. Don’t toss food scraps and other trash around.

• Never feed a bear.


This article was originally published on June 27, 2012.