Park City and Summit County residents demonstrate that open space is a priority | ParkRecord.com

Park City and Summit County residents demonstrate that open space is a priority

Park City has voted numerous times in favor of protecting lands

Kenneth Hollinger and Kyler France, 11, eat their BBQ among the Aspen trees at Rotary Park Sunday evening, August 21, 2016. Other attendees scattered about the park on picnic tables or on the ground to eat their dinner. (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)

We value the view. Whether it's a farmer's field or an untouched meadow, Park City and Summit County residents like breathing room. And, they're willing to put their money where their hearts are. Park City has voted in favor of four open space bonds, to protect land from development and allow recreation. Those funds have preserved over 8,000 acres in and around town. Basin Recreation has raised $10 million from public bond elections in both 2010, and 2014 for trails and open space.

This summer, the gem of the Wasatch Back, Bonanza Flats, was purchased and protected at a sale price of $38 million. The 1,350 acres of high-altitude meadow and aspen forest in Wasatch County was purchased with a $25 million commitment from Park City voters, and another $13 million raised from thousands of donors and other public entities. Summit County chipped in $4,250,000, and the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation came up with $165,000. Kids came up with quarters, and their parents wrote checks. With a looming deadline, Leadership Park City gave the final $3,119,253 to clinch the sale.

For decades, the private owners had allowed people to hike and bike and ski, but a pending sale and threat of another high-altitude development spurred the City to act. "This is really an asset and a legacy not just for this county, not just for this city, but for the whole region," said Summit County Council Chair Chris Robinson. "We hit the jackpot."

This is really an asset and a legacy not just for this county, not just for this city, but for the whole region.”

Summit County Land Conservancy has been acting for years to save land locally. They're helping families ensure a smooth generational handoff by placing ranches into conservation easements. They've protected a 23-acre stretch of the Weber River in Oakley, another 44 acres in Henefer, and 225 acres on the hills above Park City. In all, they, and their donors, have saved over 3,000 acres of land from development.

Tanzi Propst/Park Record

Park City is committed to maintaining open space in its 2017 Strategic Plan, with their Citizens Open Space Advisory Committee, and meeting regularly with private landowners and other organizations. Summit County's Basin Open Space Advisory Committee was created in 2013 to provide similar input to the county council. Balancing development and protection is no easy, or inexpensive task. But local citizens have vowed to keep our community's environment healthy, clean and accessible.