Just I recently returned from a visit in Big Cottonwood Canyon. It really is lovely up there, but talk about being overrun with humans. Living in Moab, we know whereof we speak in terms of places being loved to death. The entire Big Cottonwood road is essentially a parking lot, and the well-known hikes may as well be airport conveyor belts. If it’s peace and solitude you are after, forget it, unless you know some secret spots or are willing to work really hard.
All the yammering, negotiations, Mountain Accord, etc., are fine, but the powers that be have waited decades too long to do anything that will effectively protect the Wasatch Front. A train line ain’t gonna happen. Improving the road will only make things worse. The constant roar of souped-up cars and motorcycles already sounds like a day at a NASCAR track.
The only viable solution is a large fleet of eco-friendly (electric?), quiet buses. They will have to be specially made to accommodate the hordes and all their gear, bikes, skis, etc. There will need to be many stops, so folks can pick their area, and run on a schedule to ensure that a bus will be by at any given spot every 20-30 minutes.
Expensive, sure. But how much is too much when we talk about preserving the heart and backbone of the entire Wasatch Front? A manufacturing plant for the buses will create many jobs, and the project might serve as a model for other inundated places, like the national Parks. Get the state and the feds involved. Offset operating expenses with small rider fees.
People will be upset at first but, I believe, over time, come to enjoy it. Next big problem is parking and station facilities. (The dumb Tavaci development area comes to mind.) I have no illusion that anything meaningful will happen. There are far too many “vested” interests to allow such a thing. In the meantime, I guess we can just sit back and watch the Wasatch shrink day by day, as it is slowly squeezed to death.