Utah Open Lands Executive Director Wendy Fisher says 2019 started on a high note after the passage of the Treasure Hill/Armstrong Snow Ranch Pastures open space bond at the end of 2018. Utah Open Lands successfully raised the rest of the money to conserve Armstrong Snow Ranch Pastures with help from the community, the Armstrong family and additional funding from the Park City Council at the end of June.
“Not only did we successfully protect the Armstrong Snow Ranch Pastures, but as we were going in for those final dollars, we got the announcement that Kerry Armstrong would also be donating a conservation easement on the Armstrong barn property," Fisher said. "So, you know, the two Armstrong families, we were just so grateful that we were able to bring that across the finish line.”
Another success came in the acquisition of privately owned land within the Bonanza Flat open space area. Fisher notes conversations around the 10-acre Daderko property and the Bransford inholding near Guardsman Pass had been ongoing before the city council approved the purchases.
“We had been talking with those folks for a while," Fisher said. "They both had other offers out there for development, but at the end of the day, we were again grateful to see that the land owners wanted a conservation solution for their property.”
Fisher says there’s still more to do with Bonanza Flat. Utah Open Lands and Park City Municipal are finalizing the terms of the conservation easement and management plan. Within the conservation area, Fisher says there are different management areas based on natural resource inventory.
“We looked at the property from all seasons, and basically really use that to inform the conservation easement and the management plan," Fisher said. "So the management plan and the conservation easement work in tandem to really do our best job in managing that property.”
Park City and Utah Open Lands are also working to finalize a land exchange agreement with the Girl Scouts of Utah. The Girl Scouts would acquire 16 acres where some of Camp Cloud Rim’s facilities are located, while Park City Municipal would receive 170 acres of open space where trails connect to and from Lake Lackawaxen and Bloods Lake. Fisher says the exchange will allow the scouts to continue to have outdoor camping experiences.
“The girl scouts actually have some of their structures—their cabins and some of their programming that occurs on Bonanza Flat—so the goal on that really was a constant conversation with the Girl Scouts of Utah, to see how best we could ensure that their programming, which is just phenomenal, could continue.”
The Park City Council is scheduled to vote on the terms of the management plan and the land exchange with the Girl Scouts on Jan. 9.