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After Two Years, Park City Council Approves Bonanza Flat Conservation Easement And Management Plan

Renai Bodley

At Thursday’s meeting, the Park City Council checked its last three boxes regarding the preservation of Bonanza Flat. They finalized a land exchange agreement with the Girl Scouts of Utah; approved Utah Open Lands’ holding of the conservation easement; and approved the adaptable management plan for the area.

Utah Open Lands Executive Director Wendy Fisher says, with the acquisition of the Daderko, Bransford and Girl Scouts properties, more than 1,500 acres of land in Bonanza Flat are permanently protected. Fisher says the terms of the easement and the management plan have balanced the needs of the property, ecosystem and all parties involved.

“This can only become a more sustainable, more amazing opportunity for everybody in the entire community, from the wildlife to the human species,” Fisher said.

Park City Councilmember Becca Gerber thanked city staff, outside partners and the community for their work getting Bonanza Flat to the finish line.

“I’d also like to thank the public, because we have gotten so much feedback from so many diverse groups," Gerber said. "From the hikers and the skiers and snowmobilers and the dog owners and Nordic skiers and backcountry usage of all kinds, and it has really taken the community,, and two years of stakeholder meetings to get to this point.”

Mayor Andy Beerman says the city council tries to represent the hopes and goals of the community but preserving Bonanza Flat was one of his own dreams when he started on city council. He says the council and mayor at the time told him it was never going to happen.

“To see us eight years later on the final steps of protecting this land is something that, to me, is incredibly special, and I think it's special to the community," Beerman said. "We dodged some large bullets. This is a gem of the Wasatch, and to see this protected forever is, of the many things, great things we've done, for me this is a standout.”

In November 2016, city voters approved a $25 million bond to preserve Bonanza Flat as open space.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.
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