Canyon crowding is not just for powder days anymore. Researchers at Utah State University found that poor winter air quality in Salt Lake City increased the volume of traffic heading up both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons.
The researchers say that’s good news for ski resorts. Even if climate change ruins the snow, visitation to high-elevation winter outdoor recreation could still hold steady because of people who want to breathe.
What the researchers don’t mention is that poor low-elevation snow is driving pressure for more canyon development. Ski areas are trying to trade private mining claims for development property on the canyon floor. Alta is trying to renege on former agreements to develop Grizzly Gulch. The town of Brighton is seeking to incorporate in order to give canyon property owners (read, rich developers who buy the property) more power to develop in the Salt Lake City watershed.
Weather and Air Quality Drive the Winter Use of Utah’s Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons: bit.ly/2ysFYWU