|Date:||Thursday, 16 April|
|Time:||8:00 am - 5:00 pm|
|Cost:||$60.00. Box lunch included in registration fee.|
|Organizer:||John Lowry, Dept. of Environment and Society, Utah State University|
|Enrollment:||Must pre-register on registration page. Maximum of 20 individuals.|
The Salt Lake Valley has a unique cultural and natural history.
Originally home to Shoshone, Ute, and Paiute Native Americans, the
valley was settled in 1847 by Mormon pioneers. Early land settlement
patterns were influenced by the highly organized and cohesive nature
of the Mormon Church. Located at the eastern rim of the Great Basin
region, and on western edge of the Rocky Mountains, the valley is
flanked by the Oqhirrh and Wasatch mountain ranges. Today 85% of Utah's
population lives within 15 miles of the Wasatch Range, an area referred
to as the "Wasatch Front."
Like many western urban areas, the Wasatch
Front has seen tremendous urban growth in the last 30 years. Current
population is estimated at 1.5 million and expected to increase by 1
million before 2025. The effects of urbanization on wildlife, air
quality, water availability, and human well-being are a major concern in
this rapidly changing landscape. This field trip offers an eclectic
one-day tour of the valley with a common theme of urbanization. The
tour will consist of four stops where invited guest speakers will
present information and discuss topics of interest.
Stop 1: Ensign Peak
We will begin our tour traveling to a residential area at the northern edge of Salt Lake City. Here we will take a short hike (~30 min) to the top of Ensign Peak. The peak offers a panorama view of the Salt Lake Valley to the south, and the Great Salt Lake to the west. We will learn about the early settlement of the valley and discuss some of the economic, demographic, and environmental characteristics of this area—both past and present.
Stop 2: Antelope Island
Antelope Island is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake, and the entire island is a state park. Connected to the mainland by a single causeway, the island offers wildlife viewing and recreation opportunities within a short distance of the highly urbanized Wasatch Front. At the park we will learn more about the island and the Great Salt Lake ecosystem from one of the park’s employees. We will then spend some time at Bridger Bay, one of the parks beaches, where we will have lunch. (For more information on Antelope Island State Park go to: http://www.utah.com/stateparks/antelope_island.htm).
Travel on the Legacy Parkway
We will leave Antelope Island and travel south along the Legacy Parkway. Originally proposed in 1996 to provide an alternate roadway for commuters between Salt Lake City and Kaysville, construction on the highway was delayed for more than 10 years due to litigation brought on by environmental organizations. Today the Parkway is an example of unique transportation design elements that meet the needs for commuters while accounting for environmental considerations. (For more information on the Legacy Parkway go to: http://www.udot.utah.gov/legacy.)
Stop 3: Cougars at the Wildland-Urban Interface
Over the last 30 years urban and suburban expansion in the valley has extended from the original urban core in the northeastern section of the valley to the west and south. Nearly all land use conversion has been from agriculture to urban or suburban uses. In the past, agricultural lands provided a buffer between wildlands and urban areas. On the western edge of the valley we are seeing this agricultural buffer disappear. For this stop we will have the chance to hear about the effects of urbanization on cougar habitat at the foothills of the Oqhirrh Mountain Range.
Stop 4: Daybreak Housing Development
One of the largest landholders in the Salt Lake Valley is Kennecott Copper Company. In 1999 Kennecott Land was established with purpose of creating housing communities based on concepts of sustainable development. The master plan calls for a balance of jobs and housing in and around mixed-use centers, a hierarchy of urban, town, village and neighborhood centers, park networks, natural areas, walkable neighborhoods, and a transit plan explicitly designed for the new development. At this final stop we will learn about what Kennecott Land is doing to create sustainable communities from a Daybreak representative, and have a short tour of this distinctive housing community. (For more information on Daybreak go to: http://www.daybreakutah.com/.)
About the Organizer:
John Lowry is a PhD candidate in the Department of Environment and Society at Utah State University, and Associate Director of the RS/GIS Laboratory in the College of Natural Resources at USU. His research interests lie in the area of spatial and temporal interactions of humans and their environment with particular interest in the effects of urban growth on ecosystem services. He has been involved in a variety of interdisciplinary projects involving mapping and assessing the condition of terrestrial ecosystems, and is currently working on an urban ecosystem analysis of the Salt Lake Valley.