t the center of the book
“Bargaining for Eden: The Fight for the Last Open Spaces in America,”
the Utah-based writer andphotographer Stephen Trimble placesthe story of the Snowbasin land exchange,a public land scandal of epic proportions.With this trade, Earl Holding, billionaireowner of Sinclair Oil, Sun Valley Resort,and Little America, obtained 1,300 acresof national forest land to expand hisSnowbasin ski area near Ogden, Utah.From the time he purchased the ski areain 1984, Holding wanted a land exchangethat would enable him to develop lodges,condos, and homesites around the skiarea. After many years of struggling witha skeptical Forest Service, he nally got what he wanted through the rich man’sshortcutthe U.S. Congress. Branding hisresort expansion as critical to Salt LakeCity’s 2002 Olympic Winter Games (whichit patently was not), the Utah delegationhappily did Holding’s bidding with passageof a bill that waived environmental laws andbent the land appraisal rules in his favor.The exchange represented a loathsometrampling of both the public interest andthe fragile environment of Mount Ogden.
Bargaining for Eden
covers theintricacies of the land trade inimpressive detail, and much of thestory is told through portraits of theoperators, activists, and bureaucratsinvolved. Trimble then takes off into both narrower and widerterritory. His own purchase of aparcel of land in southern Utah’sred rock country and constructionof a second home prompts himto examine his new status as adeveloper. It also puts him at thevirtual Center of the Universe of ruraland public land politicsextraction vs.preservation, locals vs. transplants, conict vs. consensus. He uses both his knowledgeof the Snowbasin deal and experiences inhis new community to illustrate the forcesroiling around land use in the West.Even as he weighs the competingphilosophies around him, Trimbleconsistently asserts his own strong belief inthe value of the commons. “In the UnitedStates, where we have retained much of ourwild country as public land, every citizen of the democracy shares in the wealth of thisland. On this scale we are all wealthy.”
A book about the real west
Published by the University of California Press, “Bargaining for Eden” has just won the Utah Book Award and is now available in paperback.
Books by the Western Lands Project
“Commons or Commodity? The Dilemma of Federal Land Exchanges” by George Draffan & Janine Blaeloch
We now oer ourthree publicationsas ree PDF fles.Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org torequest any or all.
“Carving Up the Commons: Congress and Our Public Lands,” by Janine Blaeloch “The Citizens’ Guide to Federal Land Exchanges: A Manual for Public Lands Advocates” by Janine Blaeloch
Western Lands Update 3 Fall 2009