Little Cottonwood Canyon, Big Cottonwood Canyon, and Millcreek Canyon are world renown for their beauty and outdoor opportunities, and all within a few minutes’ drive of Salt Lake City, Utah. The tri-canyons attract around five million visitors annually making them one of the most highly visited national forest areas in the nation. Visitors are drawn by the vast recreational opportunities such as biking, hiking, rock climbing, and of course downhill skiing.
Located up Little Cottonwood Canyon is Snowbird Resort, one of the world’s premier downhill ski hills and one of the National Forest Foundation’s (NFF) longest-serving partner in the Ski Conservation Fund (SCF) program. The SCF program raises funds from guest contributions at ski areas across the nation. NFF matches these contributions 50 cents to the dollar and awards the raised funds to conservation groups for projects on National Forest System lands. Funds have been used to support important conservation projects such as watershed restoration on the Mt. Hood National Forest, trail construction on the San Juan National Forest, and revegetation projects on the White River National Forest.
Since 2005, Snowbird Resort and the NFF have raised over $1.2 million for the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation (CCF) for projects on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests. These funds have been used for major trail construction, plant surveys, and education events in the canyons.
To celebrate this successful long-term partnership, representatives of Snowbird Resort, CCF, the NFF, the USFS, and public volunteers met on the slopes of Snowbird to participate in the annual invasive weed-pulling event. Organized by CCF Director Joanna Wheelton and the CCF’s Invasive Weeds Program, this program is dedicated to surveying, mitigating, and monitoring invasive species populations in the tri-canyons. This event attracted a dozen of eager volunteers to pull and bag invasive weeds such as: mullen, musk thistle, bull thistle, Canada thistle, and yellow sweet closer.
Following the removal of the invasive species, CCF Plants Stewardship Director Ella Abelli-Amen educated volunteers on revegetation efforts through planting of native wildflower species in the canyons. Several native wildflower seedlings, provided by Dryland Horticulture, were distributed to the volunteers to be planted on disturbed slopes. The CCF Plant Crew will continue to monitor these slopes into the fall and next summer.
CCF was excited to report that this year’s event had volunteers’ bag and remove over 250 pounds of invasive species! To reward the volunteers’ efforts, Snowbird Director of Sustainability and Water Resources Director Hilary Arens, generously provided a hearty lunch of sandwiches from the resort.
CCF is dedicated to being good stewards, educating the public, and supporting the environment in the tri-canyons. This work could not happen without the yearly financial assistance from the Snowbird Resort and the nearly twenty-year partnership with the NFF.
Cover photo by Eric Greenwood courtesy of the USFS.
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