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Support, opposition continues after canyon gondola plan decision

Posted at 5:21 PM, Jul 12, 2023

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — Little Cottonwood Canyon means something to every person that's seen its breathtaking views. Now, some are concerned the Utah Department of Transportation's Gondola B Plan could change the canyon as Utahns know it.

"They're erecting towers where people recreate, where people play, where people pray, in this iconic glacier carved canyon and it's kind of devastating to think this gondola will be looming over our heads," said Carl Fischer, Executive Director for "Save Our Canyons."

Others against the proposed plan are also concerned about the cost for taxpayers. 

"It costs a lot of money 1.4 billion dollars, and that money could be used all across the state of Utah in other areas," said Terry Heinrick.

Although he does not support the Gondola, Robert Douglas with "Friends of Little Cottonwood" is happy to see bus transportation needs will be addressed in the plan.

"They need to add more buses, better buses," he said. "I think they should consider natural gas or electric, good bus stops, with good parking, and then more buses, more frequent buses, and ultimately buses that originate in more parts of the city."

Those against the gondola are worried about how it will impact the canyon, while those in support of the plan say it could actually help make the canyon better.

"I think we can get fewer cars on the road; I think we can avoid widening the road which, I think, could be very obstructive, and I think we can make skiing more inclusive," said Matthew Gale.

Gale says he's seen gondolas work in European ski towns, most recently on a trip to Spain.

"I remember riding up one of the gondolas and looking down on the roads below and no cars at all, lots of little critters on the road," Gale said. "It just made me think about this canyon and think about if the gondola was designed to really get people on it, it would allow the canyon to flourish even more."

Even though UDOT has decided on a plan that includes a potential gondola, Fischer says the fight to stop the Gondola is not over yet.

"Based on the fact that they're on environmental director says doesn't meet their purpose or need, the gondola, I think we intend to challenge the decision."