New nature preserve could be on 106 acres adjoining the Weber River in Peoa
The Summit Land Conservancy announced it has entered into an agreement to purchase 106 acres of land in Peoa on the Weber River with the aim of protecting the watershed and creating a publicly accessible nature preserve.
Cheryl Fox, the conservancy’s executive director, said there is an Oct. 30 deadline to raise $450,000 to close the deal, but that the property is one they’ve eyed for years.
She acknowledged that it’s a tough time to be asking for money but said it was the only way to prevent development.
“We just didn’t want to lose this land,” she said. “It’s an iconic property.”
The land is on Wooden Shoe Lane and has been in the Marchant family for six generations, according to a press release.
Already there is a $66,000 challenge grant from members of the Peoa community, Fox said, which allows donors to double their contributions.
The conservancy is planning to purchase the land and then sell a conservation easement to the federal government, an unusual arrangement and one that will place the nonprofit in the role of land manager for the first time.
Fox said it’s time the conservancy took that step, though it comes with ongoing costs and responsibilities like maintaining fences and preventing weeds.
The property is beautiful, Fox said, with two different strands of the Weber River braiding across it to create wetlands and pockets of trees home to a variety of fish and wildlife.
The group hopes to create a wetland public access preserve where visitors can enjoy the Weber River with a network of trails, similar to Steven’s Grove in Oakley. And Fox said that preventing development will enable the waterway to continue across the land undisturbed, allowed to flood and meander in a natural way that cleans the water and refreshes local ecosystems.
Borrowing a phrase from the nonprofit’s 2018 conservationist of the year, then-7-year-old Tenneson Klein, Fox said the motivation for the purchase was simple.
“If we don’t save it, they’ll pave it,” she said with a laugh.
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