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Local Group Lobbies Against Gravel Pit in Parley’s Canyon

The quarry was approved in August 2022, and a group by the name of SaveParleys is attempting to make the public aware of the potential environmental impacts.
Marco Lozzi
A wheel loader moving gravel at the Kilgore Quarry in Parley’s Canyon, Aug. 26, 2023. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


Parley’s Canyon is one of the most recognizable and important geographical landmarks in Salt Lake City. The passage leads the way to a more untamed Utah; it’s the entrance to some of the best outdoor activities in the world. Yet, this grandeur and beauty is being threatened and it could have devastating consequences on Salt Lake City residents.

SaveParleys is a group of Salt Lake City residents who are trying to stop the limestone quarry approved by the Department of Oil, Gas and Mining in August 2022. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the approved pit is about 20 acres, which is considered relatively small for a mining project of this nature.

However, the original application filed in November 2021 proposed a pit over ten times larger — 634 acres.

Sam Dunham, a member of SaveParleys, talked about the history of the Wasatch Mountains and said they have been crucial to Salt Lake City residents for generations.

“The reason the Salt Lake Valley was settled was because of the Wasatch Mountains and what it provides to the city,” he said.

Dunham added a gravel pit up Parley’s Canyon would have a myriad of devastating effects and rippling consequences for Salt Lake City residents.

“Just the sheer healthcare costs from air quality alone is a huge factor,” he said. “The water quality is a huge issue. … [Salt Lake City residents] would have to spend extra money treating all their water supply.”

Kyle Brennan, a Ph.D student at the University of Utah, has used isotopes to measure the amount of dust that can be tracked from the gravel sites across Utah. He projects that Parley’s Canyon will be “completely dusted.”

“It’s just not in a good location,” he said. “All the science is telling us that.”

In July, Brennan published a study on fugitive dust. Fugitive dust refers to dust particles that get suspended in the air due to excessively dry conditions. Brennan said this is one of the unavoidable results from a gravel pit. The fugitive dust would enter the water coming from the Wasatch Mountains.

This is especially bad, because as Dunham said, Parley’s Canyon “provides [around] 20% of the water to the Salt Lake Valley.”

Additionally, Brennan said wind could pose a problem.

“If you’re close to the canyon, you’re going to have a ton of dust every time the wind blows down the canyons,” he said.

SaveParleys is focused on protecting the safety of the canyon and the citizens around them. There’s several different ways that students can help them. Dunham said they need “as many people as possible to be focused about the issue.”

Students can also donate on the SaveParleys website. The entire operation is funded by donations, and all donations are going towards funding legal fees, resources and tools to incorporate into the community.

The best way to help, Dunham said, is to lobby for legislation.

“We just need more vocal support, you know, people calling the governor’s office in particular,” he said.

Dunham added the Wasatch Mountains are Utah’s “number one economic asset.”

“Why would we destroy that for a resource that is already found in abundance across Utah?” he said.

If the gravel pit does come to fruition, Dunham put it simply — “It’s going to turn into an industrial wasteland.”


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About the Contributor
Marco Lozzi, Photographer
Born in Texas and raised by Italian parents, Marco Lozzi grew up with two vastly different cultures. Now a sophomore at the U, he is majoring in communication with a journalism emphasis while also minoring in photography and Italian. He joined the Chrony to gain experience working as a photojournalist for a larger entity. When he's not taking or editing photos, he can be found hitting the slopes, napping, or making pasta.

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