How to view environmental data for Central Wasatch

The online tool presents current and historical environmental data for policy makers, residents and land managers.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The upper basin of Grizzly Gulch across the street from Alta Ski Resort is seen in this photo taken Monday, November 5, 2018. The area is now part of the Central Wasatch has data available online in an environmental dashboard.

A new online dashboard shows the current and historical environmental conditions of Central Wasatch – and anyone who wants to can access it.

The Central Wasatch Commission unveiled the grand feat this week after working long with the University of Utah to pull it off. The idea is to provide information to local residents and those seeking recreation, who typically do not have the same data as policy makers.

The tool presents trends on five elements – air quality and climate, geology and soils, vegetation communities, water and wildlife. It features interactive maps, webcams, and environmental stories that its creators hope will improve decision-making and land management in the Central Wasatch region.

“A better-informed user will make better decisions about how to use recreational areas in Wasatch, and this, in turn, will mitigate the impact and damage to our environment,” said Monica Zoltanski, Sandy City Mayor and Central Wasatch Commissioner, at Start of the dashboard.

The commission was created in 2017 to address transport and business as they coincide with recreation and environment. The group now includes nine jurisdictions: Alta, Brighton, Cottonwood Heights, Millcreek, Park City, Salt Lake City and Sandy, and Salt Lake County and Summit County.

The environmental dashboard will be updated later this year with a sixth element – visits. The Central Wasatch Commission requested a visitor utilization study in early 2021 to analyze the area’s visitor capacity, transportation systems and recreational opportunities. That should be completed in December of this year.

Phoebe McNeally, a research professor at the University of Utah, said the dashboard’s creators hope it will serve as a “one-stop shop” for the public to use environmental data about the Central Wasatch area.

The commissioners also emphasized the educational value of the tool for students from elementary to college level.

“Accessible and clear information about the Wasatch and mountain ecology is an important first step in preserving it,” said Carl Fisher, Executive Director of Save our Canyons and a member of the Commission’s Stakeholder Advisory Council.

He added: “This dashboard, when used by governments and businesses and all partners in the Wasatch Mountains, can help pave a path to preserving the incredible things that lie in the mountains just minutes from town .” How to view environmental data for Central Wasatch

Joel McCord

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