SALT LAKE / SUMMIT CO., Utah — Parleys Canyon may soon be home to an open-pit limestone quarry, according to a proposal filed with Utah mining regulators this month.
A recently formed LLC called Tree Farm proposes using explosives and drills to mine beneath the northeastern flank of Grandeur Peak, a popular hiking destination from Mill Creek Canyon, with the intent of extracting 2 million tons of crushed rock a year.
Prior to receiving queries from a reporter this week, Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County officials had been unaware of the project, which County Mayor Jenny Wilson said she is “gravely concerned” about.
“Mining will change the landscape, habitat, and health in Parleys Canyon. But it is also less than one mile from Grandeur Peak, and thousands of hikers, bikers, and skiers safely recreating in Mill Creek Canyon,” she said in an emailed statement. “This is not in harmony with Salt Lake County’s vision to protect the unique qualities of our canyons and public health for generations to come. Instead, the development could potentially scar the natural contours of the landscape and could irreversibly disturb the experiences of countless residents in these two canyons.”
On Nov. 12, Tree Farm’s principal Jesse Lassley filed a notice of intent, or NOI, to “commence small mining operations.” This application seeks approval from the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM) to mine the foothills and process extracted limestone on-site immediately east of Salt Lake City. The well-developed 344-page filing sets in motion a process that could result in a significant extractive operation inside one of the Wasatch Mountains’ busiest canyons, traveled daily by thousands on Interstate 80, connecting Utah’s main metropolitan area with Park City.