Utah Chapter Launches Wasatch Back Network
by Amy Mills
The Utah Chapter has added to its three local Groups (Glen Canyon, Ogden and Salt Lake) a new Network for Sierra Club members and supporters in Summit and Wasatch Counties. A Network is similar to a Group, but is less structured and operates on a more casual basis. The Utah Chapter Executive Committee appointed Marion Klaus as the Network leader. Marion comes to the Network with many years of leadership and hands-on experience in the Utah Chapter, as well as on national Sierra Club environmental campaigns.
There are currently 1,145 Sierra Club members and supporters in Summit and Wasatch Counties, locally known as the “Wasatch Back.” With this impressive number, and the range of environmental issues accompanying population growth in the area, our hopes are high for raising local issue awareness, promoting environmental involvement, and building a Sierra Club presence through the Wasatch Back Network (WBN). The Network will also have representation in the Utah Chapter, and benefit from Chapter support for local issues, campaigns, outings, and social activities.
The WBN held its initial organizational meeting on June 24, 2013. We discussed various local issues, such as the proposed SkiLink gondola between Canyons and Solitude resorts, increased tanker truck traffic on SR-40 and I-80 generated by the increase in oil and gas development in the Uinta Basin, as well as other issues in Utah such as the Greater Canyonlands National Monument proposal. An initial survey of members’ interests in future WBN activity showed strongest interest in air quality, climate change, wilderness, wildlife, and water conservation and quality.
Three WBN-sponsored presentations have followed: On November 12, we hosted speaker Mary Closser of the Climate Reality Project who provided an update on climate disruption, and Matt Abbott of Park City Municipal Corp. who briefed us on the “Low Carbon Diet” and what we as citizens can do to reduce our carbon footprints. On January 8, 2014, Marion Klaus addressed the Newcomers’ Club of greater Park City with a presentation on Sierra Club activities in Utah and the intermountain west, with an emphasis on the new national Our Wild America campaign. Then, on February 11, 2014, we sponsored a presentation by local nutritionist Teri Underwood, who spoke about the interrelationships among US eating patterns, agriculture, and the environment.
Future presentation topics may include water conservation and impacts of oil development. Check the Utah Chapter web site (Utah.sierraclub.org) events listing and local media (Park Record, KPCW.org calendar) for announcements. Our listserve provides email notices of meetings and other local environmental activities to our members. To be added to our listserve, contact email@example.com, or follow the directions below. As the WBN grows and members volunteer, we hope to branch out and provide more opportunities for education, involvement, and hands-on projects.
To add yourself as a new subscriber, send an e-mail with LISTSERV@LISTS.SIERRACLUB.ORG in the To: field; leave the subject line blank; and put ADD WASATCH-BACK-NETWORK firstname.lastname@example.org [Jane Doe] in the body. Jane Doe is simply an example; please substitute your e-mail address and name as indicated.