Park City told of a range of Bonanza Flat ideas |

Park City told of a range of Bonanza Flat ideas

Utah Open Lands Executive Director Wendy Fisher explains possibilities for the City Hall-owned Bonanza Flat open space during an event at the Marsac Building on Monday. Fisher holds a key role as the municipal government crafts long-term plans for the land.
Jay Hamburger/Park Record

Park City on Monday received a broad range of opinions about Bonanza Flat, the high-altitude tract of City Hall-owned open space in Wasatch County, an expected scenario as officials continue to consider the future of the land.

The municipal government hosted an open house at the Marsac Building that drew approximately 40 people to learn about the Bonanza Flat discussions. The people represented differing interest groups, leading to the spectrum of comments that were made at the event. Some of the people in attendance are recreation lovers who see possibilities on Bonanza Flat while others who were at the open house live or own land close to the acreage. The people who live or own land there are closely following the Park City talks since changes in the way the acreage is managed could have effects on places nearby.

The event was a step as City Hall continues the efforts to craft a management plan for Bonanza Flat and create a document known as a conservation easement that will outline the restrictions on the land. The opinions gathered by City Hall and Utah Open Lands, a not-for-profit organization the municipal government tapped for the work, will be made a part of the overall discussions.

Charlie Sturgis, the executive director of the not-for-profit Mountain Trails Foundation, is among the people monitoring the discussions about Bonanza Flat and attended on Monday. He noted there was not a management plan in place during the decades Bonanza Flat was under private ownership.

“I don’t know if you can get everyone to agree,” Sturgis said of the range of opinions about the land.

Sturgis said he would like a new trail built accessing Bloods Lake in Bonanza Flat. He described a trail as running from a point one mile below Guardsman Pass to Bloods Lake. Parking and bathrooms would be built as part of the trail construction, he said. Sturgis said a trail accessing Bloods Lake is the first new trail he envisions on Bonanza Flat.

“Limiting use is the way to preserve the conservation value,” Sturgis said.

Another person at the event, Robbie Powel, has lived in the Brighton Estates neighborhood for upward of 20 years. Brighton Estates is one of the areas close to Bonanza Flat that is monitoring the City Hall discussions since policy decisions made by Park City officials could have effects there.

Powel said he supports the elimination of the use of motorized vehicles on Bonanza Flat other than snowmobiles used to access Brighton Estates. He said a wintertime route known as the Jeep Hill that accesses Brighton Estates must remain intact.

“That route needs to be open for tracked vehicles. Literally, you couldn’t get out” in severe winter weather, he said.

The discussions about Bonanza Flat have illustrated the complexities of what was City Hall’s grandest conservation acquisition. Officials understood at the time of the acquisition the discussions about the land’s management would likely be more difficult than for other acreage City Hall has acquired for conservation purposes over the years since there are so many competing interests.

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