We are on the brink of losing one of Salt Lake County’s iconic land features. It goes by many names including Steep Mountain, South Mountain, or just The Point of the Mountain. It is not only the gateway skyline between Salt Lake and Utah Counties but the backyard of many homeowners and businesses in Draper. It is a popular location for outdoor enthusiasts including mountain bikers, hikers, and runners, and it is a unique, world-renowned destination for hang glider and paraglider pilots. Steep Mountain provides a rapidly-growing community and year-round visitors the opportunity to truly live “Life Elevated.”
These local communities have long coexisted with Geneva Rock Products, who owns and operates on a sizable piece of land at the Western end of Steep Mountain. Geneva Rock has a great history of working with and supporting efforts in their surrounding community while providing jobs and an essential service required to keep our County’s infrastructure growing. It is important to make everyone aware that Geneva Rock is currently operating within their rights and that they have expressed interest in a diplomatic solution to this cause.
Only recently has Geneva Rock begun mining operations on the skyline portion of Steep Mountain. While their work is currently limited to the Western end of the ridge, they have secured permits and voiced their plans to move further East toward the summit. Any movement toward the East will have immediate impact to both the skyline and the County owned Flight Park located directly below. Several years ago, the County acquired this land and set it aside as designated park space to help preserve a flying site that attracts pilots from around the world each year. The County saw value in creating a park that its citizens and guests, both pilots and non-pilots alike, could use and appreciate for years to come. To do so, Salt Lake County invested nearly a million dollars to create what is now known as the Salt Lake County Flight Park at the Point of the Mountain.
As Geneva Rock owns a significant portion of the land on the face of and all the way to the central summit of Steep Mountain, further mining will directly affect the homeowners who live below, both on the bench and the valley floor. Several new business parks have recently opened their doors in this area, and currently, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail ends directly below the land Geneva Rock is planning on mining. The fact is that this mountain means something different to many different groups, far too many to include all of them here.
The goal of this petition is to ask the State of Utah, Salt Lake County, and Draper City government officials to hear our voices and to facilitate the acquisition of Geneva Rock owned land that lies on the Western end of Steep Mountain, including its North and South facing slopes. We are asking them to investigate either purchasing this land, and/or facilitating a land swap that will be mutually beneficial to Geneva Rock, their hard-working employees, and the surrounding communities. If this is an effort that you support, please let your voice be heard by signing this petition and the letter below will be sent to our government officials as your representation.
When Geneva Rock began their mining operation at this site, the surrounding area was primarily farmland. According to the U.S. Census Bureau report of 1990, the surrounding population, comprised of residents living in the cities of Draper, Bluffdale, Riverton, Alpine, Highland, and Lehi, weighed in at merely 37,939. In 20 years, that population has grown to a staggering 164,742 residents, an increase of 334%.
As the population has continued to grow, the needs of the communities and their local businesses have changed. As the mountain is mined, the aesthetics of the skyline go with it, likely decreasing property values and incentives for businesses to open their doors in the surrounding communities. Significant numbers of outdoor enthusiasts depend on Steep Mountain for recreation, including hang glider and paraglider pilots, mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners. Several years ago, Salt Lake County set aside land to create the Salt Lake County Flight Park at the cost of nearly one million dollars. This investment in one of the world’s greatest and most unique flying destinations is at risk given Geneva Rock’s development of neighboring areas. Also at risk is the continuation of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, which currently ends where the Flight Park begins, directly below Geneva Rock owned land.
I hope that you will hear my voice as one of many that are asking for your help to protect one of Salt Lake County’s treasured natural land features and a major piece of its iconic skyline.