Utahns asked to weigh in on the future of the Jordan River

24 August 2020 Published in News & Events

By Tony Semerad, Salt Lake Tribune

This may be a time like no other for the Jordan River.

Wasatch Front residents by the thousands are seeking out green spaces and recreation along Utah’s main urban waterway for relief from the COVID-19 crisis.

Its necklace of parks and natural areas offers a way to enjoy mature trees and a diverse range of wildlife, hike or bike an extensive network of trails, or float segments of the 51-mile flow connecting Utah Lake with the Great Salt Lake’s southern wetlands.

“More people are discovering the Jordan River Parkway,” said Søren Simonsen, executive director of the Jordan River Commission. “We’ve seen just an explosion during the pandemic.”

And even before COVID-19, generations-old dreams of preserving and improving the river and its ancient watershed have been slowly coming true. New spots for connecting Utahns with its native beauty seem to sprout like bulrushes along the path through 16 cities and three counties.

An important and in-depth planning effort is now underway for how the beautiful yet often neglected river could evolve in the coming decades.

But the health crisis has hampered efforts to create a new blueprint for the Jordan River Parkway. Supporters of the process recently extended their deadline for the public to weigh in.

Residents can add their visions for the river — at least until Thursday — through an online survey at blueprintjordanriver.org.

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Why We Care

  • Great Salt Lake, the second most hypersaline Inland Sea in the world, has a fate of becoming even more salty with permanent loss of a large portion of its Bear River fresh water life supply.

    Precious fresh water diverted to support more of the same, the endless expansion of the human race, big box stores, and shopping centers duplicated around the country ruining any future adventure of small town exploration and road trips.

    Everything is becoming the same. Everyone is looking the same. Everyone does the same things. Great Salt Lake is unique and the planet is loosing it as its life blood is stolen from its soft salty shores, waves gently breaking further and further out, leaving vast arrays of dry barren mudflats waiting for phragmites to invade.

    Utah does not own Great Salt Lake. Great Salt Lake is owned by the world.

    Karri Smith, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant