Wildfire in Pinecrest Canyon

Pinecrest Canyon has been evacuated due to a wildfire. Air support is on site. Follow @UtahWildfire on Twitter and sign up for Code Red emergency alerts for official updates. https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/BF622E7C93F2

Edit: evacuation is not mandatory for all residents.

Three ways you can help serve your community!

Feeling called to serve in your community? Here’s how!

Many of your neighbors in the canyon serve as volunteers or elected officials. You could be one of them! The Emigration Canyon Metro Township Council, the Emigration Canyon Planning Commission, and the Emigration Canyon Community Council are all seeking team members.

Emigration Canyon Metro Township Council

If you want to contribute to revising ordinances, overseeing municipal services, interfacing with other agencies in Salt Lake County, and other local canyon governance, sign up to run for Emigration Canyon Metro Township Council in November’s general election. Any voter registered in the canyon can run. You must file your candidacy in person at the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office at 2001 South State St, room S1-200, between June 3 – 7, and pay a filing fee of $50. https://slco.org/clerk/elections/candidate-information/

The Emigration Canyon Metro Township Council typically meets every fourth Thursday of the month, starting at 7PM. Their website is: http://www.ecmetro.org. Their public meetings are posted here: https://www.utah.gov/pmn/sitemap/publicbody/5809.html

Emigration Canyon Planning Commission

There are current openings on the Emigration Canyon Metro Township Planning Commission. The Planning Commission reviews and makes recommendations on the general plan, FCOZ, planning, building and permitting that requires additional public hearings, and conditional uses. Planning Commissioners are appointed by the EC Metro Township Council. Contact Robert Pinon (robertopinon@gmail.com) for more info. The Planning Commission’s meetings are posted here: https://www.utah.gov/pmn/sitemap/publicbody/1562.html 

Emigration Canyon Community Council

This is us! If you have interest in volunteering to assist with public education and programming in the areas of safety, development, or communications then consider applying to fill an opening on Emigration Canyon Community Council, a nonprofit, volunteer organization. Please contact Lisa Schneider (flowerpixel@hotmail.com) for additional information. We typically meet the second Tuesday of each month. Check our online calendar for our meeting schedule: http://www.emigrationcanyon.org/calendar/ and here is our typical agenda: http://www.emigrationcanyon.org/community-council/eccc-meetings-agendas/

If you want to get involved but aren’t sure where to start, come to any of these organizations’ regular meetings to learn more!

Conditional Use Application in Pinecrest

Conditional Use Application in Pinecrest

November 16, 2018

Yesterday morning, the Emigration Metro Township Planning Commission met to review a conditional use application, #30473, by Mr. John Walsh for commercial and private recreation on his property at 2348 Pinecrest Canyon Rd.

The application includes a request for a pistol range, a rifle range, parking, a picnic gazebo, zip lines, and a sledding area. A packet of information is available at: https://www.utah.gov/pmn/files/441425.pdf

The application has been in review by Salt Lake County Planning and Development Services for about the last year. The Emigration Metro Township Planning Commission became aware of this application two weeks ago, when they were notified by the County of the need for a meeting to consider this application.

At the Planning Commission meeting yesterday, the Emigration Canyon Community Council Chair, Steve Borst, submitted a statement on behalf of Canyon residents (read below). More than 20 Canyon residents expressed concerns including wildfire hazards, limitations of the narrow road in Upper Pinecrest, noise from the proposed firing ranges, impingement on rights of way for trails, stress on water resources, and lead hazards from discharged ammunition.

We thank the Commissioners for allowing each person to speak and for their thoughtful consideration of all comments.

The County will post the minutes and a recording of the meeting on the Public Meeting Notification website: https://www.utah.gov/pmn/sitemap/publicbody/1562.html. On that page, you can click “Email Subscription” to receive future meeting notices by email.

The Planning Commission deferred a decision until more information can be obtained and all citizen’s concerns can be expressed. A Planning Commission meeting in December will be a “site visit” to the Walsh property. Information about that meeting will be posted on the Public Meeting Notification page above.

The Emigration Metro Township Planning Commission and the Salt Lake County Planning and Development will continue to receive community input. You may write a letter regarding this application and email it to Curtis Woodward at cwoodward@slco.org.


The Emigration Canyon Community Council


November 14, 2018

Emigration Canyon Metro Township Planning Commission

Delivered By Hand

Dear Planning Commissioners,

I am writing to represent the Emigration Canyon Community Council in communicating on behalf of those Canyon residents who strongly oppose a Conditional Use approval to the plan (Application Number 30473) being developed for recreational and commercial use of property located at 2350 Pinecrest Canyon Road belonging to John Walsh.

Yesterday evening, the Emigration Canyon Community Council held its monthly meeting.  This conditional use application, and the process that has accompanied it, was an agenda item that attracted considerable and intense interest from Canyon residents.

Strong objections were voiced regarding safety of life and property as well as incompatibility of the proposed uses with the mountainous residential area around the proposed development.  These objections include, but are not limited to, the following:

Safety of Life and Property

Wildfires are a visceral concern for all canyon residents who live at this drought-stricken urban / wildland interface.  Human-triggered wildfires from accidents, automobiles, camping, cooking, construction, carelessness, fireworks, or firearms quickly burn property and homes in Utah communities every year.  This year, California wildfires have reportedly moved at rates of 80 football fields per minute in conditions that are often replicated in Emigration Canyon.  This leaves no time for residents or Mr. Walsh’s customers to evacuate, much less for response teams to mobilize to the wildfire location and to the residential neighborhoods of Pinecrest, Killyon Canyon and Emigration Oaks. The subject property is located at the end of Pinecrest Canyon Road, with no alternate evacuation route in the event of a fire at the property, and no evacuation route at all if a fire blocks the road.  There are no apparent solutions being brought forward to mitigate this already concerning situation.

Residents and visitors alike hike on trails surrounding the property (established as part of a Trails Master Plan) could be injured or worse from a fire, an accidental or intentional firearms discharge, or archery misfire.  These and other types of accidents either on the subject property or surrounding it would require mobilization of first responders.

The negative impact on property values resulting from the proposed commercial uses and the associated traffic and noise also need to be considered.  A primary reason people move into Emigration Canyon is to live in and enjoy a quiet environment.  Increased commercial traffic, not to mention the sound of gunfire, certainly brings a variety of disturbance to residential neighborhoods.  It is difficult to imagine any circumstance under which the sound of nearby gunfire or the impact of additional traffic could be adequately mitigated.

Incompatible Use

The commercial use of the subject property is incompatible with the residential nature of the surrounding properties and with the Emigration Township General Plan regarding commercial development in the Canyon.

Accessing the upper reaches of Pinecrest canyon requires navigation of a narrow, single-lane road over which cars, buses, fire trucks or emergency responders, can pass in only one direction at a time.  The use of this road for commercial purposes of any kind is incompatible with the local infrastructure.  An already challenging roadway would be certainly made worse with increased traffic of any volume.  This situation would worsen further during the winter months when clients for sledding would be attracted from outside the Canyon.  The limitations this road places on the ability of first responders to adequately fight fires or respond to other emergencies while enabling customers and residents to evacuate would be difficult to mitigate.

These and other concerns have been raised by the Emigration Canyon community and are detailed in letters to Salt Lake County Planning and Development. Examples are attached and should be reviewed in detail.  Questions about both the content of the conditional use application and the seemingly opaque process that has kept this from view of residents until now are abundant.  The Community Council is not aware of any voices of support for granting the conditional use.  We respectfully ask that Emigration Canyon Planning Commission carefully consider the clear merits of the concerns expressed by Emigration Canyon residents and their request to deny the Conditional Use application.


Steven Borst, Chairman

Emigration Canyon Community Council

Chipper Day – October 8th

October 8th Is Canyon Chipper Day

Start your saws and sharpen your pruning shears. On Monday, October 8 we’ll have chipper crews from the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands and United Fire Authority in the canyon to process brush and tree limbs. Any material up to 12 inches in diameter that we clear from our properties and pile at the roadside edge will be chipped and left onsite for re-use as mulch—at no cost to you or the township. Don’t miss this opportunity to reduce the volume of potential wildfire fuels around your home.

If you want to participate (and we hope you will):

  • Have your brush piled by the roadside (main road or any secondary canyon road) by the morning of October 8. We won’t be able to service driveways.
  • Stack your brush in a single direction so the pile is easy to unload.
  • Be careful to not obstruct road shoulders or bike lanes.
  • To be sure we don’t miss your pile, please email your street address to firewise84108@gmail.com.
  • Be aware that we’ll be leaving all chips in place. This free service doesn’t include disposal.

If necessary, we’ll schedule additional crew time, so don’t be concerned if we don’t get to you on day one. And if our chipper crews are called away on firefighting duty, we’ll reschedule and notify everyone by email.

Questions? Call Bill Tobey, Firewise Coordinator, Emigration Canyon Community Council, 801-582-0474.

Let the fuel reduction begin!

Code Red Emergency Notification System

CodeRED is the official community notification system now available to Emigration Canyon residents.  This system will send you alerts regarding emergencies or time-sensitive information that may impact the Canyon.

CodeRED can keep you informed of emergencies such as evacuation notices, utility outages, water shut off, fire, floods, or any other incident that affect safety of lives.

CodeRED delivers a pre-recorded message through a high-speed telephone calling system by phone, email, text and social media. Weather Warnings from the National Weather Service are also available. You must opt-in. Setting up a managed account will allow you to make future updates to your information and alerts options.

To ensure that you are in the database and receive alerts, be sure to register. CLICK HERE.

Your information remains private and will only be used for CodeRED communication.

Want mobile alerts too?  Or you don’t live in the Canyon but work, visit or bike the Canyon.  You will be able to receive alerts by downloading the CodeRED mobile app. CLICK HERE

Firewise 2018

This will be the 16th year that the Emigration Canyon Community Council has hosted a “Firewise” Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. This year’s Firewise event will be held May 19th, from 9AM to noon, at Fire Station 119, 5025 Emigration Canyon Rd.

Some of the morning’s activities will be familiar. Mayor Joe Smolka will be flipping pancakes, and we’ll have games and activities for the kids. Members of both the Metro Township Council and the Community Council will be on hand to discuss the ongoing transition of county and township governance.

But the core purpose of Firewise Day is wildfire education, planning, and preparation. Firewise is a national program that teaches individuals to live adaptively in fire-prone environments and encourages community efforts to mitigate risks, reduce losses, and optimize the effectiveness of professional firefighting resources.

We’ll have experts on hand from the U.S. Forest Service; the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands; Salt Lake County’s Unified Fire Authority; and Utah’s Indoor Radon Program. We’ll have displays and discussions on fire-safe landscaping strategies, fuel reduction, and evacuation planning. Spend the morning of May 19 with your neighbors at Firewise Day and you’ll help make Emigration Canyon a safer place for all this fire season.

What to do at Firewise Day?

  • Learn how to harden your home with fire- safe landscaping and fuel reduction
  • Schedule an on-site risk assessment with a UFA firefighter
  • Plan a fast, safe, well-organized family fire evacuation
  • Find an emergency response training class and join a Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.)
  • Learn about and join in community wildfire planning activities

Join your canyon neighbors at the UFA Fire Station, May 18th from 9:00 a.m. to noon, for pancakes and a generous helping of community wildfire preparedness.

Additional Resources:

This Sign Could Save Your Life

“This sign could save your life” — that’s what UPD Officer Rusty Wright has to say about the new Emigration Township house number signs.

When rescue personnel respond to an emergency, every minute counts. That’s why the community council is now offering highly visible, weather resistant house numbers to Emigration Canyon residents.

Our emergency responders have expressed frustration with the way house numbers are displayed on houses in the canyon.  Here are some examples of unhelpful – but unfortunately common – house numbers:

  • Too small (they recommend at least 6″ high numbers)
  • Missing (stickers on mailboxes often peel off)
  • Not visible from the road (for example, numbers displayed on a rock in the driveway, hidden under snow in winter, or on a porch that is set back from the road)
  • Not enough contrast with the background (for example, black numbers on a brown garage)
  • Old numbering system (old Emigration Canyon Rd address rather than your new street number)

Michael Conn, Unified Fire Authority liaison to Emigration Canyon, says: “Imagine emergency personnel responding to a 911 call at your address after dark – would you feel confident they could find you easily?” If your house number is not easily visible from the road, they will have to waste valuable time driving slowly up your road with a search light to try to locate you.

To provide a solution to this, the ECCC is working with Salt Lake County to provide large, easy-to-read signs to display house numbers to Emigration Canyon residents. Cottonwood Canyon residents have adopted similar house numbers, and about half of all Cottonwood Canyon homes now display the new numbers.  Rusty Wright, UPD says the new numbers in Cottonwood Canyon “make a world of difference.”

The new signs display your house number and the “Emigration Township” logo. They are on metal and are highly reflective, similar to street signs or highway signs. They are 8″ by 24″ and available in horizontal and vertical formats.