Land conservancy is still trying to save Osguthorpe Farm on Old Ranch Road
Organization needs $5.5 million by March
Cheryl Fox, executive director of the Summit Land Conservancy, wants people to know that “we are not done” and a significant amount of money is still needed to protect the Osguthorpe Farm on Old Ranch Road from development someday.
Fox said there is a common misconception among the community that the entire $14.2 million needed for a conservation easement has been collected. Last month, the Summit Land Conservancy entered into an agreement with the Osguthorpe family to preserve the 158-acre property. The land is located adjacent to Willow Creek Park in the Snyderville Basin.
The conservation still needs $5.5 million to protect the land.
“People think we are done,” Fox said. “It’s not done. It is a big lift and a complicated transaction, in some ways.”
Summit Land Conservancy secured an $8.7 million federal grant from a Farm Bill program that will be put toward the acquisition, but the rest of the money is required before March 2018. Fox said a partial payment is due at that time. She also emphasized that federal grant has an expiration date if it is not used within a couple of years.
Fox said it is “really crunch time” because, if the remaining balance is not collected, the deal is at risk of falling apart. She added, “It would be a shame to walk away from $8.7 million of federal funding.”
“We are honored to have this incredible opportunity to save this farm,” Fox said. “I am so grateful that this family is willing to put itself through a process like this in order to preserve what the community wants to preserve as well.”
Earlier this month, the Summit County Council offered $4 million toward the acquisition, but the Summit Land Conservancy did not accept the offer. Fox said the county’s requests tied to the donation were in conflict with the federal funding.
County Council Chair Chris Robinson said the Council continues to have meetings with various stakeholders, including the Summit Land Conservancy and Snyderville Basin Open Space Advisory Committee, to preserve the property.
“We made a proposal that involved getting recreation benefits and solving some other issues and they rejected it,” he said. “But, we are still talking. It is a high priority for the Council to get to the bottom of this and resolve it one way or the other. I think the Council is supportive of preserving it, I think it is just the details of how it is preserved that we are caught up on.”
Summit Land Conservancy has a fundraising plan, Fox said. She said they are reaching out to community members to make the purchase possible.
Fox highlighted the community support that went into preserving Bonanza Flat and said the same effort is needed for the Osguthorpe Farm. The $38 million acquisition resulted in a conservation easement on the land, which stretches 1,350 acres downhill from Guardsman Pass.
“The long and the short of it is we have the chance to save this farm,” she said. “The only way we will save this land is to use this federal money. So we either have a choice of saving it as a farm or we will have houses.
“When I see a letter to the editor or a photograph from a 10 year old of sandhill cranes on that property, that keeps me at the table and energized to make sure we find the resources to save this property,” she added.
For more information about the Summit Land Conservancy’s efforts to preserve the Osguthorpe Farm or to make a donation, go to wesaveland.org. Questions can also be directed to Cheryl Fox via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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