OUR MISSION: " Supporting the environment of the Cottonwood Canyons through stewardship and education."
Trail Crew Season Ends, Impact Galore
Patrick Morrison, Trails Director

With snow already capping our mountains, it’s that time of the year to reflect on what a successful summer we had. The trails program set some lofty goals this year, and I am happy to report we have accomplished those and more. Between volunteer impact, ambitious trail projects, and the pilot run of the Adopt-A-Trail program, this really was the most successful season for the crew since I joined Cottonwood Canyons Foundation. 

Over the course of the season, our trail crew hosted 635 volunteers, for a total of 4,099 hours. We want to first and foremost say thank you to all the community members who came out and donated their time and energy to help us take care of the trails. For anyone who didn’t get a chance, we’ll look forward to having you out next year. 

This year was the pilot season for the Adopt-A-Trail program and we thank our participating groups for all the work they put in to take care of their adopted trails. These adopting groups are Backcountry (Red Pine Lake and Lake Blanche), Cotopaxi (Mill D North), REI (Mill B North) and the Millcreek Community Council (Neff’s Canyon). These groups brought over 150 volunteers to the canyons to help work these trails with basic maintenance. Together, the Adopt-A-Trail program cleaned and repaired over 250 drains, over 10 miles of corridor was opened, and many bags of invasive weeds and trash were removed from the canyons.    
The largest project we undertook this year was the rehabilitation of the Mill B North stairs, right beyond the trail head. While we will no doubt put in an additional week or two next season to fine tune the project, we were able to install 36 stone stairs, and completely revitalize this badly damaged section. Along with this, the worst of the lower section was closed and then we installed a small switchback at a safer and more sustainable grade to replace it. We hope our work here will allow all recreators the chance to experience this incredible trail, as its former condition became a deterrent to many who wanted to give it a go. 
Beyond these special projects, the CCF trail crew really enjoyed working with the Salt Lake Ranger District in finishing the new connector trail from the Mill D South parking lot to the Donut Falls parking lot. This trail has been a 3 year project, and the site of many National Trails Day and National Public Lands Day events. Just this year, we hosted over 200 volunteers on this trail. It is truly a volunteer built trail.

Two other projects we assisted the Salt Lake Ranger District with were the reroutes added to the Red Pine Lake trail, and the new section of the Bonneville Shoreline trail, which will connect Big Cottonwood to Ferguson Canyon. Trails Utah and the Salt Lake Ranger District put in a lot of work on the Red Pine reroutes, and we encourage you to go and see what an incredible job they did in rehabbing that trail.   

While the season started cold and wet throughout May, the bulk of the season we were fortunate with excellent weather and excellent health. Our highlights were many, the lowlights few. This year really showed an expanded capacity within our season, and we will grow this further next year. We hope to have you out with us on the trails in 2020!
Only 5 Ski Passes Left!
Ski With A Ranger Volunteers Needed
Taylor Mazzacavallo,
Community Education Director

Winter is fast approaching and that means it’s time to gear up for Ski with a Ranger! 

If the name of the program looks a little bit different, that’s because it is! This year we are making a couple of small changes to our program here in the Wasatch, to match the other Ski with a Ranger programs held in other Forests. This program will remain very much the same as we are still sharing the message of our Forest and Watershed with the public through roving contacts and daily tours on Saturdays and Sundays at Alta, Brighton, Solitude and Snowbird. 

Volunteers are good-will “ambassadors” of the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation, the Forest Service, the Salt Lake Ranger District, and the ski resorts. Providing positive guest relations while informing visitors is key to the success of the Ski With a Ranger Program. It is essential that volunteers share happy, positive, politically neutral and professional messages on the slopes. Volunteers earn an extra ski day with each program day to be used at these outstanding resorts.

If you are interested in being part of this amazing program, we’re looking for 40 enthusiastic guides this season. This program has a separate application, which is linked below and includes a phone interview. The application closes on November 1st at midnight, so please remember to submit an application if you would like to be considered for the program. Training will begin November 20th, with our first day of the program hitting slopes on January 4th. This program runs through mid April. We look forward to a great season this winter!
Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit
Serena Anderson, Executive Director

We traveled to St. George last week to participate in the Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit. Each year this event brings together leaders from the outdoor realm in recreation, stewardship, education, policy, retail and philanthropy. The breakout sessions seem to get better each year.

We met a lot of people who support our mission and we forged new relationships that will bring interns to our education programs. This will be a tremendous opportunity to grow our capacity while helping to prepare future outdoor professionals for their careers.

While in the area I decided to go visit Zion National Park. I hadn't been there since the shuttle buses became the primary method for recreating in the canyon (pre 2000). I had thought that this type of change would be disastrous and difficult for visitors to enjoy their time hiking, so I had never returned. However, this trip changed my mind entirely about this type of visitor management.
First of all, it's not cheap to visit Zion. You are going to pay $20 for parking anywhere outside the park, in the nearby town the rates are the same and a shuttle brings you to the park entry at no additional cost. You will conversely pay $20 - $35 if you want to drive through the park (motorcycle vs automobile). If you don't drive into the park, you will instead pay $20 per person for entry.

It was shocking to me to shell out $55 for one single visit ($35 + $20) and I can imagine this would be a cost prohibitive thing to do if I wanted to be a regular visitor. But they do have an annual individual pass for $50, so you could work it out if it was important to you. And honestly, if I lived down there, I would buy an annual pass. It is a spectacular outdoor adventure.
After looking more closely at the fees and where they go, I was less upset about paying them. Zion participates in the congressionally authorized Federal Recreation Lands Enhancement Act. Under this program, parks keep 80% of all fees collected; the remaining 20% will be deposited in a special account to be used in parks where fees are not collected. Funds generated by the fees are used to accomplish projects the parks have been unable to fund through yearly Congressional allocations.

And I wondered to myself, what could be accomplished here with those types of funds coming back to the forest? I am not promoting this concept, but my observations as a visitor were that not only was the system well managed, but the traffic reduction to the area and how it felt to be away from cars was amazing.

To be fair, I went after the busy season, so I know it is different between May-September. But there are basically two paths up Zion. One for the personally driven vehicle, with very limited pull out and parking areas and one for the shuttle buses that move up and down the canyon every 7-10 minutes. We did both, because I was curious.

I wanted to dislike the shuttle bus experience. I wanted to believe my old theory that it would be inconvenient and would make the experience feel less like I had full access to the outdoors. I was 100% wrong. It was very convenient (after the initial frustration of interpreting the map). Not only did the shuttle stop several times going up and down canyon, but I felt that all trails were accessible with a bit of walking to trailheads from shuttle stops. The ony negative for me was that I got a bit car sick riding in the bus that was trailer towed by the front bus.

There were stops to the museum, the lodge, and all stops have access to indoor or outdoor restroom needs. The feeling of walking down the roadways to trailheads without the never ending trail of vehicles was refreshing. No smelling exhaust. No feeling like I could be run over at any moment.

I don't know what the future holds for dealing with traffic in our beautiful Cottonwood Canyons, but I know that there are brilliant minds wanting to make it safer and healthier, while keeping it accessible. I can only put my faith in the process that we will keep working toward solutions.
Snowshoe with a Naturalist Volunteers Needed
Louise Haven, Y outh Education Specialist

If snowshoeing is your speed, please consider volunteering for the Snowshoe with a Naturalist Program! This program will work with K-12 students during the week, and with the public on select dates for monthly Full Moon and resort tours!

Generally geared toward 4th and 5th graders, snowshoe field trips provide a truly unique outdoor educational experience in the canyons! Content is focused on topics including the watershed, animal and plant adaptations, animal tracks, and canyon history. Field trips are held at Spruces Campground in Big Cottonwood Canyon, and will be scheduled Tuesday-Friday from 10:00 am - noon during the months of January through mid April. Training begins at the end of November and will include online and in-person components. If you have any questions about this program, please feel free to contact me at education@cottonwoodcanyons.org

If you are interested in being a naturalist, sharing your knowledge, and making a positive impact in the lives of local students, please fill out the Volunteer Position Description linked below. Volunteers earn ski passes for their efforts! We look forward to having you on the team!
Final Weed Pull Opportunity this Saturday
Hannah Meenach,
Staff Botanist

Next month I will be reporting our amazing season results for projects and regular invasive weed removal efforts during the 2019 season.

But we still have one more opportunity for you to get involved. We will be hosting a fall "Purge the Spruge" at the Birches picnic area in Big Cottonwood Canyons on November 2nd from 9:00am - 12:00pm (weather permitting).

If you are interested in joining us for one last work day, please sign up through the google form link below.
Newsworthy Links
Reported by Missourie Dept. of Conservation August 8, 2019 by Jeff Pritchard

Reported by KUTV.com September 22, 2019 by Mark Kelkas

Reported by wisemindhealthybody.com by Collected Revolution

Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Supervisor's Monthly Newsletter

Cottonwood Canyons Foundation | (801) 930-5010 | engagement@cottonwoodcanyons.org | CCF Website