Conservationists pledge to protect Bonanza Flats | ParkRecord.com

Conservationists pledge to protect Bonanza Flats

Utah Open Lands, Wasatch Backcountry Alliance and five other organizations want to do their part in protecting a plot of land high in the Wasatch County mountains.

While the Park City Council unanimously decided in August to ask voters to approve a $25 million bond to help pay for and conserve the area known as Bonanza Flats, Utah Open Lands and other groups hope to add more money to the pile with pledges from people who enjoy the high alpine lakes and trails.

"Part of this is to see how much Bonanza Flats means to so many people," said Wendy Fisher, Utah Open Lands' executive director. "It definitely will demonstrate to us that it is a place that people, both on the Wasatch Back and the Wasatch Front, really do love."

To kick off the initiative, on Thursday evening the team hosted a pledge drive and forum.

The forum offered information on the bond, which will be on the Park City ballot in the Nov. 8 election. While no conservation deal between the city and Redus, LLC, the firm that owns Bonanza Flats, yet exists, the bond will ensure that funding will be available if or when a sale is negotiated.

Those who made pledges Thursday did not write checks, but promised to donate if a purchase deal for Bonanza Flats comes to fruition. Fisher said pledging gives Park City residents and those who don't live in Park City a chance to get involved.

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"The bottom line is the Park City voters obviously have the opportunity to step up to the plate for the $25 million bond," she said. "Those out there who don't live in Park City proper should be able to show their support."

Utah Open Lands has collected 40 pledges, but Fisher hopes more people will sign up for the cause. There is a Bonanza Flats pledge page available on the Utah Open Lands website at http://www.utahopenlands.org.

Fisher said the other participating nonprofits' websites also have pledge links. In addition to Utah Open Lands, the organizations include Wasatch Backcountry Alliance, the Mountain Trails Foundation, Summit Land Conservancy, Friends of Alta, the Sierra Club and Save Our Canyons.

Fisher believes helping to conserve Bonanza Flats is part of Utah Open Lands' mission to preserve and protect Utah's open spaces.

"Utah Open Lands started in Park City in 1990," Fisher said. "We've protected about 25,000 acres in Wasatch and Summit County alone. One of our very first preservation projects back in 1994 was the protection of Snake Creek Canyon, which is one canyon over from Bonanza Flats."

Bonanza Flats, owned by Redus, LLC, is a 1,400-acre piece of land located south of the Park City Limits. The firm took possession of the plot that is downhill from Guardsman Pass after Wells Fargo and Midtown Acquisitions brought a foreclosure case against the Talisker corporate family. The case involved Bonanza Flats and other lands.

City Hall said in August that another development firm, Discovery Land Company, also might interested in purchasing the land.