On Saturday, Sept. 28, the Hi Ute Ranch will have an open house where community members are invited to experience its 1,400 acres of open space. The event celebrates the preservation of open space in the greater Park City community.
The open house, hosted by the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District and Utah Open Lands, commemorates the protection of the 3,000 acres of contiguous open space that stretches from State Road 224 to Parley's Summit.
Utah Open Lands Executive Director Wendy Fisher believes this is a "rare opportunity" for people to come out and see the beauty of Hi Ute's open space.
"We wanted to celebrate the amazing open space preservation that's taken place in the Snyderville Basin that's only come through the bonds that voters voted for," Fisher said. "This is an opportunity to celebrate that these places provide character for the community."
The Hi Ute Ranch is preserved by a conservation easement, but the Buehner family still owns the title to the property. Basin Recreation District Director Rena Jordan spoke to the beauty of Hi Ute's open space.
"It's just an amazing piece of property you're so in the backcountry," Jordan said. "There's an opportunity to hike up a mile and a half. From that perspective, you can see up toward Toll Canyon. It's easy to see Murdock Peak. It's one of these 'wow' moments."
The Hi Ute (1,400 acres) and Toll Canyon (781 acres) parcels were purchased by Basin Recreation in coordination with Utah Open Lands and Basin Recreation taxpayers using bond monies that were approved in 2010. Of the $20 million in bonds, $12 million was allocated for open space.
Jordan and Fisher appreciate that Park City residents put a great value in the preservation of open space.
"You look at Park City and you recognize that everybody has the ability to get out and recreate in a lot of amazing places," Fisher said. "There are lifestyle benefits [to open space] that we understand in Park City. That's one of the things that you preserve in open space."
"I think [open space] is part of what makes being here very special because we have a balance between the recreation created from the ski resorts, the commerce created from the businesses, combined with the beauty created by the open space, which we have the opportunity to recreate on," Jordan said.
The Hi Ute open space, Fisher said, also provides a great amount of wildlife habitat for animals such as moose and beaver. Species of concern such as the smooth green snake can also be found on the land.
"We love people to get a sense that there is such a diversity of conservation values, from the unique wildlife habitat to public trails," Fisher said.
Fisher added that open space is crucial to both preserving a quality of life as well as economic development. She applauds the efforts that leaders in the community have taken to secure open space.
"[Residents are] really lucky to have such visionary leaders in Park City, Summit County and Basin Recreation," Fisher said. "Having a community that really understands the value of [open space] has enabled Basin Recreation and Utah Open Lands to ensure these places get protected and not developed."
The Hi Ute Ranch's open house is this Saturday, Sept. 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The ranch is located at 2201 Kilby Rd. in Park City. A bike valet will be provided and it is requested that visitors leave their pets at home.