Eagle Mountain City has formally adopted a new Transportation Master Plan.

In September, City staff presented the Transportation Master Plan to the Eagle Mountain City Council for discussion and approval.

At both the September, and a subsequent October City Council meetings, the Council tabled the proposed Plan until further research could be conducted to study its impacts on wildlife and key neighborhoods.

On Feb. 7, the Transportation Master Plan was again presented to Council for approval with further research included.

Kevin Croshaw, transportation engineer with Horrocks Engineers, presented additional analysis, specifically on the impacts of a proposed SR-73 freeway.

Together with City staff, Horrocks Engineering analyzed the projected impacts of traffic congestion on Pony Express Parkway and Ranches Parkway should a future freeway be aligned further west — away from residential areas.

The analysis showed that pushing the freeway to the west would lead to increased volumes of traffic on Ranches and Pony Express Parkways, as opposed to constructing the freeway closer to the residential areas to the east.

“The farther east we could keep [the future freeway], he more traffic it pulled off of Pony Express…and Ranches Parkway, for that matter,” says Chris Trusty, engineer for Eagle Mountain City. “Anywhere from 12% to 20% less traffic on those roads than if it had been further to the west.”

Engineers and City staff also performed an analysis to determine if expanding the capacity of Mid Valley Road would impact traffic congestion on Pony Express Parkway.

Croshaw called the impact of the expansion “negligible.”

In addition to expanding the capacity of Mid Valley Road, the Transportation Master Plan also lays out a plan for Mid Valley Road to head east from City Center, through the Hidden Valley area, and into Saratoga Springs, according to Trusty.

“[This] would provide another east-west connection between Eagle Mountain and Saratoga, and we’re trying to get funding to do further studies on that,” says Trusty.

As part of the analysis presentation, Croshaw also provided four alternative alignments of the future SR-73 freeway to the Council to illustrate the potential outcomes of the Master Plan. He noted that the Utah Department of Transportation, while open to the City’s input, would make the final decision.

Accommodations for wildlife were also taken into consideration and were added to the proposed Transportation Master Plan.

“That was one thing that we originally didn’t show on the Transportation Master Plan,” says Trusty. “So, we added that corridor in and made recommendations for roadways that cross that kind of swath of land and identified areas where we would want there to be wildlife underpasses, overpasses or at-grade crossings.”

Chad Welch, on behalf of the Eagle Mountain Nature and Wildlife Association, took to the podium and asked for language clarifications in the sections regarding wildlife crossings and requested that the Mid Valley Road wildlife crossing be changed from a surface crossing to an overpass.

The Transportation Master Plan, with the two changes requested by Welch, was approved by the Eagle Mountain City Council 5-0.

While recognizing that the plan is not written in ink, and is subject to changes in the coming years, Trusty says the plan will be the City’s “guiding document for roadways,” from this point forward.

Read the final official version of the Transportation Master Plan.

After several mild winters with little snowfall, Eagle Mountain has experienced a plentiful winter.

Current snowpack, as of today, from 8-20 inches was reported depending on the location and elevation, according to WeatherStreet.com.

Living in a desert region, one might think that would mean dry and hot, but in the Cedar Valley, a rich array of weather events with all four seasons is enjoyed.

The area is an abundant habitat with a full array of animals and plants that have adapted to the sometimes harsh conditions. According to National Geographic, more than one billion people, one-sixth of the Earth’s population, actually live in desert regions. That includes Eagle Mountain.

Desert animals have evolved ways to help them through times of drought and heat as well as cold.

National Geographic further discloses that desert plants may go without fresh water for long periods of time and have developed long roots that tap water from deep underground. The cacti have special means of storing and conserving water.

Having received an abundance of rain and snow this winter means that wildflowers will be abundant throughout the spring, summer and fall during their various bloom times.

The first measurable snowfall this season was reported on Oct. 23 and 24, 2022. This has been followed by more rounds of snow Nov. 2, Nov. 28; and Dec. 2, 5, 7, 8, 12-15, 24, 28-29 and 31.

Snowstorms continued throughout Jan. 2-3, 5-6, 10-11, 15-18, 22-23, 27-29. Snow was also seen during February, with trace amounts reported until the recent snowfall Feb. 21 and 22.

This frequent snowfall was interspersed with periods of rain, heavy and prolonged at times, supplementing the large aquifer situated in the community.  

Few automobile accidents were reported during Tuesday and Wednesday’s winter storm. Safe driving is encouraged while Eagle Mountain City Streets department crews continue to work to clear the roadways.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office Eagle Mountain division will be offering several RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) classes to residents free of charge in 2023. 

RAD is a self-defense and empowerment program for women and children that teaches risk awareness, reduction and self-defense techniques, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.  

According to the Utah County Children’s Justice Center, 1 in 3 women in Utah experience some form of sexual violence, and 1 in 3 women report being a victim of domestic violence. Rape is the only violent crime in Utah that is higher than the national average, and 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be molested before the age of 18. 

To help individuals protect themselves from such crimes, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office offers RAD Women courses for women and teenagers ages 13 and older, and radKIDS courses for all children 5-12 years of age.   

The radKIDS program teaches children safety skills with a special focus on easy-to-learn physical skills for abduction reduction. The program is split into two age groups, 5 to 7-year-olds and 8 to 12-year-olds, to better suit the needs of children of different ages. 

Residents should note that both age groups are taught the same principles, and it is not necessary to complete one class before moving on to another.  

“radKIDS is a personal empowerment safety education aimed at keeping children safe,” says Camilla Brown, radKIDS Coordinator for the UCSO. “We have a variety of topics we teach including home, school and vehicle safety, out-and-about safety, bullying prevention, realistic defense against abduction, personal space/personal touch safety, and more.” 

According to Brown, children in the radKIDS program are taught three basic rules for self-defense. 

  • Rule 1: “No one has the right to hurt me, because I am special.”  
  • Rule 2: “I don’t have the right to hurt anyone else, including myself, UNLESS someone is trying to physically hurt me, and then I can stop them.”  
  • Rule 3: “If ANYONE tries to hurt me, trick me, or make me feel bad inside, it’s NOT my fault and I can tell someone.” 

“The sad reality is that the vast majority of abductions and sexual molestation are done by someone the child knows or is related to,” says Brown.  

“Because of this, we don’t focus on strangers. Instead, we focus on good people and bad people and that is it was people do that help us know. radKIDS is most known for their abduction reduction strategies. There are 10-14 physical skills (based on age) we teach that are designed and proven for children to be able to use.” 

The radKIDS program is 12-hours long and is taught twice a week in two-hour increments. RadKIDS classes are currently underway for ages 5-7, and classes for ages 8-12 will take place in March.  

While spots are no longer available for either of these sessions, residents can reserve a spot on the waitlist. Classes will also be held again for each age group in September and October.  

According to Brown, 90% of self-defense is comprised of risk-reducing strategies. Because of this, women enrolled in the RAD Women course are taught risk awareness and risk reduction skills, as well as 26 physical skills with which to defend themselves should the need arise. 

“Here in Eagle Mountain, we are able to offer an extra piece to our classes called ‘Keychain Defense Options.’  At the end of the class, women are able to not only take with them the knowledge they have learned, but also a specialized keychain to help defend themselves,” says Brown.

Registration for the first RAD Women class of the year is now open. Classes will take place from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Apr. 10, 17, 24, May 1, and May 8. RAD Women courses will also be held again in November of this year. Residents who are unable to register may also join the waitlist.

The location of each course will be emailed to class members prior to the start of each program.

Due to the mature nature of the subjects covered, residents should note that teenagers are encouraged to be accompanied by a trusted female adult to each class. The RAD Women program is 15-hours long and is taught weekly over the course of five weeks.  

“As instructors, we have seen the impact these classes have had on both women and children,” says Brown. “The power and confidence they walk away with is astounding. We have witnessed it change lives. We cannot choose the way those around us act, but we can choose to change how we are prepared to deal with it.” 

To learn more about the RAD Women and radKIDS programs, please visit Eagle Mountain’s Community Safety webpage.  

Residents of Eagle Mountain have probably noticed a heavy layer of polluted air hanging over the valleys. The entire Wasatch Front faces significant air quality challenges in both summer and winter.

Winter inversion

During winter, the unique topography, consisting of high mountain ranges to the east that prevent pollution from dissipating, combined with high pressure weather systems, leads to periodic inversions that trap cold air beneath a layer of warm air. This acts like a lid over the Wasatch Front.

Summer particulates

In summer, high temperatures combine with vehicle and industry emissions leading to high particulate levels that become trapped by this same geographic configuration.

Wildfires in the state, as well as nearby states, such as California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Idaho, also add significant amounts of pollutants to the area during wildfire season. The jet stream carries that smoke over the area.

Air quality history in Utah

According to a report The History of Air Quality in Utah: A Narrative Review, written by Logan E. Mitchell, University of Utah and Chris A.B. Zajchowski, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va.,published in 2022 by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), air pollution rose in prominence as a public issue in the 1880s as Utah’s urban areas grew.

The report adds that early non-indigenous explorers in the 1800’s noted how blue smoke from wood fires would hang in the Salt Lake Valley for extended periods of time.

Latter-day Saint pioneers settled in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, and as they developed Salt Lake City, air pollution quickly became a persistent problem as they used coal and wood fires for cooking and for warmth.

Since then, scientific advances have increased the understanding of air quality impacts on human health, groups of citizens have worked to raise public awareness, policy makers have enacted legislation to improve air quality and courts have upheld rights to clean air.

This same report states that Utah’s air quality future still holds challenges and opportunities.

Eagle Mountain being proactive

Chris Trusty, Eagle Mountain City engineer, says there is plenty the City has done to help alleviate air quality challenges.

“To help reduce drive times and lessen idling times, Eagle Mountain City has replaced several four-way stops in favor of overhead traffic signals, which reduced the total number of cars having to stop at each intersection,” says Trusty.

Active physical transportation such as biking or walking to destination points can also improve air quality.

The Lower Hidden Valley development is coming back to the Eagle Mountain City Council for further consideration.

Several residents have expressed concerns around the development’s adherence to the City’s Mule Deer Migration Corridor in addition to concerns about the preservation of local mountain biking trails.

Steve Mumford, Community Development director for Eagle Mountain City, sees these adjustments as a win for the developer, trails and the migration corridor.

“These minor amendments to the existing Master Plan will help us ensure that we have the property available for a key wildlife crossing…and preserve many of the trails and trail connections that exist on the City’s property and adjacent to the City’s property,” says Mumford.

The developer, Perry Homes, proposed to amend the Master Development Plan for the site to adjust the density and location of some of the housing within the development proposal, which was originally agreed upon in 2011.

Up for debate when the amendments came before the City Council on Feb. 7 was the future of a 38-acre parcel of City-owned land situated near the proposed development.

Council members voted to approve the land disposal of a portion of the 38-acre parcel.

The land swap between Eagle Mountain City and Perry Homes provides the City with a crucial piece of the wildlife corridor that will allow wildlife to cross Pony Express Parkway.

The City will also gain a few acres of hilltop land to allow more space for wildlife and maintain Creed trail, a popular mountain biking trail in the area, according to Mumford.

In exchange, the developer will get up to eight acres of developable land from the 38-acre, City-owned parcel, which allows more room for mixed-density housing in the area.

The trade of portions of the City-owned parcel and portions of the land intended for development will allow the developer to adjust the original 2011 Master Development Plan to better accommodate the wildlife corridor and several mountain biking trails.

The Eagle Mountain City Council voted to table the proposed amendments until such adjustments could be made.

“The benefits to this plan are that we get an alternative wildlife corridor, a secondary corridor, we preserve nearly all of the trails on the City property, including a couple of key trail connections to both hillsides, we remove some of the development at the top of the hill,” says Mumford. “This plan provides more preserved open space than their previous proposal.”

The new proposed amendments to the original 2011 Master Development Plan will be on the agenda for City Council to discuss at the Feb. 21 City Council meeting.

Ghostly apparitions can appear when plastic grocery bags float by on the wind, or are caught on a fence or shrub.

Multiply that experience by billions and it’s more than just an apparition, but a problem being addressed by governments around the world.

“Our number one problem here at the landfill is single-use plastic grocery bags that are picked up and blown everywhere by the wind,” says Rob Richards, president of Intermountain Regional Landfill in Fairfield.

The world is producing a record amount of single-use plastic waste. Mostly, these plastics are made with polymers created from fossil fuels, according to a new report released Feb. 6 by the Plastic Waste Makers Index 2023.

That same report also indicates that recycling isn’t scaling sufficiently fast to deal with the amount of plastic being produced.

That means used plastic products are more likely to be dumped in landfills, along roadsides, at beaches, and in rivers and oceans than to make it to recycling stations.

In recent years, policies have been created around the world designed to help reduce the volume of single-use plastic.

Consumers may have heard of state or local governments banning products such as single-use straws, disposable cutlery, food containers, balloons and plastic bags.

Last year, the United Nations Environment Assembly, the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment, agreed to create the world’s first-ever global plastic pollution treaty.

The intergovernmental committee is working to meet a 2024 deadline to draft a legally-binding agreement addressing the lifecycle of plastic — from its production and design, to its disposal.

Eagle Mountain residents can help alleviate plastic waste in the community

As a start, residents can consider how to use plastic grocery bags more efficiently:

  • Save and return grocery shopping bags on the next trip to the grocery store and place them in the bag-recycling container provided, usually near the front entrance.
  • Many families have a few large bags they pack up when camping or picnicking. Those can be taken to the grocery store to bag up purchases, opting out of the single-use grocery bag.
  • While out hiking or walking along the many Eagle Mountain City trails, take along a plastic grocery bag to gather up stray roadside trash — especially plastic bags caught on fences and shrubbery.
  • As a family, discuss scheduling a time to perform community service at intervals for gathering trash, which will likely include grocery bags.
  • If you just have one item you’re purchasing, you may want to skip the bag altogether.

“We actively encourage shoppers to purchase and utilize reusable bags and offer a variety of options in our stores,” said a Macey’s Eagle Mountain spokesperson.

According to the Deseret News, a handful of Utah cities have ordinances that prohibit the use of plastic bags. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, several more cities were considering bans on plastic grocery bags.

If substantial single-use plastic trash is found within City limits, residents are encouraged to contact the City Neighborhood Improvement department by emailing neighborhoodimprovement@emcity.org.

Since Eagle Mountain City’s founding in 1996, residents and visitors alike have mistakenly assumed a nearby mountain bears the same name. That assumption is no longer a mistake.

In cooperation with the United States Geological Survey and the Utah Committee on Geographic Names, Eagle Mountain City worked for two years to locate a point within The Lake Mountains for re-designation.

“By naming a summit as ‘Eagle Mountain,’ we now can have that mountain everyone expects while also making a statement about the importance of our natural environment to our community,” says Eagle Mountain City Economic Development Director Evan Berrett, who was tasked with formalizing the change.

The designation does not replace the name of The Lake Mountains, but instead labels a summit within the mountain range.

Requirements for renaming were in place such as agreement and approval by units of government. The highest point within The Lake Mountains could not be renamed as a result. Eagle Mountain City selected a summit only 10-feet lower to comply with USGS standards.

Views and accessibility were considered a top priority by the City when selecting a location.

“The area is a good place to see the Cedar Valley,” says Berrett. “The summit has an area suitable for potential future benches or other similar amenities for visitors.”

Eagle Mountain City has taken on major projects in recent years in the realm of conservation and wildlife management.

Among those initiatives was the approval and implementation of the Mule Deer Migration Corridor, which protects the seasonal migration routes of the area’s mule deer population.

Eagle Mountain City also hired the only City-level wildlife biologist in the state of Utah. This position assists the City’s Planning department in working with developers to conserve natural habitat.

The wildlife biologist also works with advocates in the Cedar Valley to consider the needs of wildlife as part of any new business or housing developments.

Other initiatives such as native vegetation plantings and petroglyph preservation are part of Eagle Mountain City’s broader plans for conservation.

“Eagle Mountain’s identity is now more closely linked with The Lake Mountains,” says Berrett. “Our attachment to these beautiful views assists the City when making decisions that will keep these areas preserved for future generations.”

Accessing “Eagle Mountain” should be done sparingly by residents, according to Berrett. Sensitive communications equipment is located near the summit and its protection is considered key to the long-term success of the site.

Those looking to access this point should be aware that it is a difficult trek. It is accessible by vehicle, but a vehicle with 4×4 capabilities is strongly encouraged.

The new “Eagle Mountain” summit site should not be used for camping or camp fires to help preserve the area.

“This is a proud moment for Eagle Mountain,” says Berrett. “Having an ‘Eagle Mountain’ all residents can see should instill value that these geographic features are permanently linked to the community.”

Around 1:45 p.m. on Monday, two vehicles were involved in a head-on collision on SR-73, closing the road between Eagle Mountain Blvd and Airport Rd. for more than one hour.

The accident occurred when one driver, headed westbound on SR-73, allegedly attempted to pass a dump truck in a no-passing zone and collided with an eastbound driver, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

“Both drivers are in serious condition and were taken by ambulance to local hospitals,” said UCSO Sergeant Spencer Cannon in a tweet, announcing the crash.

Cannon, along with other officers of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, were already nearby at the Cory B. Wride Memorial, honoring Wride on the 9th anniversary of his death.

Some deputies heard the crash happen, according to the USCO.

Law enforcement officers were quickly on the scene to assist while those involved in the crash waited for medical personnel to arrive.

By 3 p.m., both eastbound and westbound lanes of SR-73 were re-opened to vehicle traffic.

Less than 100 years ago, anyone could look up on a clear night and see thousands of stars. Now, millions of children cannot experience the Milky Way where they live.

The increased and widespread use of artificial light at night is not only impairing views of the galaxy, but also adversely affecting the environment, safety, energy consumption and the natural world. 

Light pollution is a side effect of industrial civilization. Its sources include building exterior and interior lighting, advertising, commercial properties, offices, factories, streetlights and illuminated sporting venues. 

Much of the outdoor lighting in the United States is inefficient, overly bright, poorly targeted, creating light trespass (light falling where it is not intended or needed), improperly shielded fixtures and, sometimes, completely unnecessary lighting, according to the International Dark-sky Association. This light, and the electricity needed to create it, is being wasted. 

Eagle Mountain City proactive

One of the primary reasons that residents move to Eagle Mountain is to “get away” from it all.

Recognizing the beauty of the night sky, and that residents can have an impact on preserving it, Eagle Mountain City has proactively taken measures to ensure the night sky is observable for years to come.

In Nov. 2014, as the City was expanding its development and population, the Eagle Mountain City Council approved an outdoor lighting ordinance that requires full cut-off light fixtures for all exterior lighting, effectively making it dark-sky compliant.

The City Council, in doing so, followed the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA)  standard, which encourages the use of fixtures that cast little or no light upward in public areas and generally encourages neighborhoods to adopt lighting regulations.

These recommended fixtures are designed to reduce light pollution, minimize glare and reduce light trespass. Please note that these ordinances do not call for eradicating all light. To do so would be unsafe in a thriving community. 

Dark-sky lighting is a concept very important to the dark-sky movement. It greatly minimizes light pollution. The IDA is the recognized authority on light pollution and is the leading organization combating light pollution worldwide.

The movement started with professional and amateur astronomers becoming alarmed that nocturnal skyglow from urban areas was blotting out the sight of stars. For example, the world-famous Palomar Observatory in California is threatened by sky-glow from the nearby city of Escondido and local businesses.

Because light at night can be so potentially problematic, the IDA created the Dark Sky Places Program in 2001 to encourage communities worldwide to adapt responsible lighting policies to cut back on light pollution. 

Eagle Mountain lighting requirements

Details of the City Council’s 2014 decisions and subsequent updates are included in the Community Standards Guide, Exterior Lighting Requirements, and the Outdoor City Lighting Code found on the Eagle Mountain City Website

You can help 

It is encouraging to note that light pollution, unlike some other forms of pollution, is reversible, to an extent, and everyone can make a difference. The IDA suggests residents begin by minimizing light from their own home at night. Some of the ways of doing this are as follows:

  • Only use lighting when and where it is needed.
  • If safety is a concern, install motion detector lights and timers.
  • Properly shield all outdoor lights.
  • Keep your blinds drawn at night to keep light inside.
  • Turn off lights when not using them.
  • Don’t use excessive illumination.
  • Use energy-efficient lighting sources and fixtures.
  • Spread the word to family, friends and neighbors, asking them to pass it on.

Energy use/carbon dioxide

The federally-funded National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) estimates that poorly aimed and unshielded outdoor lights waste more than 17 billion kilowatt-hours of energy each year in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 13% of home electricity usage goes toward outdoor lighting. More than one-third of the light is lost to skyglow, resulting in about $3 billion wasted per year. About 15 million tons of carbon dioxide are released each year to power outdoor lighting, and the IDA estimates that wasted light releases 21 million tons of CO2 annually.

Light pollution can impact nature

Travis Longcore, a biogeographer with the Urban Wildlands Group in Los Angeles, told National Geographic, “Wildlife species have evolved on this planet with biological rhythms. Changing that has profound effects.” 

As an example, light at night throws off the biological clocks of nocturnal animals. The Sea Turtle Conservancy says sea turtles are affected in several ways – first by discouraging them from nesting. Baby sea turtles, which hatch at night, typically find their way to the sea by looking for horizon lights. Artificial lights along the shore throw them off and draw them away from the ocean.

Artificial lights can interfere with the migration patterns of nocturnal birds that use the stars and moon for navigation. Birds can become disoriented by lights and may collide with brightly lit towers and buildings. 

For frogs and toads, when nighttime croaking is interrupted, so is their mating ritual and reproduction.

Eagle Mountain City appreciates input

Eagle Mountain City says that it welcomes and appreciates the concerns of its residents and hopes for continued partnership to help the City make improvements.