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The Seven Canyons Trust is working to daylight and rehabilitate the seven canyon creeks, restoring the health and beauty to the hydrology of the Salt Lake Valley. As urbanization slowly gripped the Salt Lake Valley, natural spaces gave way to bricks and pavement. This is the story of the seven canyon creeks of the Salt Lake valley; City, Red Butte, Emigration, Parley's, Mill, Big Cottonwood, and Little Cottonwood Creeks were neglected and taken for granted, dubbed as a nuisance. These creeks were put in underground culverts as they entered the city, no longer needed as drinking or irrigation water sources, essentially becoming canals. The Trust believes that these creeks and the overall hydrology of the Salt Lake Valley play a significant role in the identity of our valley; our oasis in the desert. The water flowing throughout the Salt Lake valley should be showcased, rather than hidden, to contribute to the overall health of all residents, flora and fauna alike. The journey the water takes from the Wasatch Mountains to the Jordan River should unify all the communities and ecosystems. The water should be allowed to prosper.


How We Started

In the Spring of 2014, the Urban Ecology and Planning Workshop class in the University of Utah department of City and Metropolitan Planning taught by Stephen Goldsmith shared a vision of a replenished Salt Lake valley. The Urban Ecology major at the University of Utah enables students to explore the built and natural environments. It encourages students to become critical observers of the health, systems integrity, and potential our environments have. The class divided these theories into three groups: social, economic and environmental. Each covering one of the three spheres of our society. This work was then compiled into a vision document that would be the first steps in the daylighting and rehabilitation of the seven canyons creeks. This document became the 100 Years of the Daylighting, which received a Utah Chapter of the American Planning Association Outstanding Achievement award in 2014.



Coming off the recognition from the Utah APA, a dedicated group of students began to pursue the creation of an organization to back the vision set forth in the 100 Years of Daylighting. This is where the Seven Canyons Trust was created. In determining what we wanted our work and our organization to reflect, the group came up with a set of values that we felt represented the course of action we wanted to undertake. The Trust’s operations will be carried out with these seven Core Values forever at heart:

  1. transparency

  2. effort

  3. accountability

  4. cooperation

  5. sustainability

  6. diversity

  7. respect

The 100 year plan is only the beginning. Our work as a community will continue long after the completion of daylighting our seven canyon creeks. Uncovering the creeks is the initial step toward the revitalized hydrology our organization seeks.