Cardiac Bowl Peace Accord

| May 3, 2012 | 3 Comments

Last Tuesday, May 1, 2012, the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest re-issued a permit to the Cardiff Canyon Owners Association (CCOA) to allow motorized access to their private property. As part of this agreement, the private property owners have agreed to allow the public the same right-of-way through their land for backcountry travel. On the surface, this hopefully means much less conflict in this easily accessible region of high quality backcountry skiing.


Cardiff Fork – it doesn’t look like a war zone, but you never know what’s hiding in those trees.

Having followed this for a few years, the key word to me is “re-issued.” Because of the patchwork of land ownership in the Central Wasatch Mountains, it is common to cross Forest Service land, in which case a special permit is needed for motorized transportation.  These permits involve paying a fee and agreeing to a long list of conditions, (such as staying on the road) and can be revoked or denied if the conditions are not met. In the case of Cardiff Fork where there are 15-20 separate landowners, if one landowner jeopardizes the permit, then the entire group loses out on motorized access, which I suspect is what happened.

What is different this time around is that there are now two contacts for the CCOA – Wayne Crawford who is the President of the organization and Dave Robinson.  The Forest Service has also prepared a map showing the private in-holdings as well as the winter/summer, public/private access routes.


The Forest Service access map.

It is in everybody’s best interest to be respectful of this new agreement and it will be interesting to see how it develops. From a backcountry skier’s perspective, hopefully it will eliminate all of the rogue high-marking snowmobiles and enraged encounters.  That said, it is almost impossible to tell exactly where the property lines are back there, and I don’t think anyone likes the idea of placing signs every ten feet to delineate it. I also wonder what qualifies as “motorized transportation?”  Bulldozers?  50 person Jeep Safaris? And once you get to your property, is it open season for hill climbs or high-marking?  Time will tell.
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Category: Commentary, Wasatch Mountains

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (3)

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  1. catalin says:

    I do not understand how someone can own mountains and canyons and not let others ski there. Soon they will buy all the mountains there and will start to sell tickets to go backcountry like the others that have lifts. Or maybe I don’t understand the “sense of property” of those landowners.

  2. berto says:

    So, if I come over poleline pass from Alta, am I limited to skiing in a straight blue line down the bowl immediately on the other side until I hit green territory, at which point I can turn and skin back up the gut of north face superior bowl, staying in the green?

    Overall, the peace accord seems like a good idea, but I am a little wary of how restrictive it seems to be on skiers in the upper drainage.

  3. Andrew says:

    Berto – good question. I have no idea how any of this will be enforced, or it enforcement will even be attempted. I think the main gist of the agreement is that the Cardiac landowners got their Forest Service permit back.

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