Toll Canyon agreements passed by Summit County and Park City councils |

Toll Canyon agreements passed by Summit County and Park City councils

The purchase of Toll Canyon has been a collaborative effort between several entities with hopes expressed that the partnership can continue forward. (Caroline Kingsley/Park Record)

Seven hundred eighty one acres of wildlife refuge and year-round recreational opportunities will be preserved, thanks to the efforts of the public and several additional entities.

The Summit County Council unanimously passed two cooperative agreements necessary for the purchase of Toll Canyon following a public hearing Wednesday.

The following evening, the Park City Council passed a similar agreement to exchange open space property with the county to enable the county enough funds to purchase Toll Canyon.

"A lot of the problems facing us currently and facing us into the future are going to be regional problems, and I think this is a good step for us to take together and get creative on this," Park City Councilmember Andy Beerman said. "And I hope we continue to do that going forward. I think any time we can combine resources and work together to preserve open space is a good thing for all the communities."

The Summit County Council collaborated with Utah Open Lands, the Park City Council, the Snyderville Basin Recreation District (Basin Recreation) and the Basin Open Space Advisory Committee (BOSAC) in a creative effort to come up with the $6.1 million required to purchase Toll Canyon from the Sorensen family.

Basin Recreation contributed the initial $2 million using a $12 million bond approved by voters in 2010 for open space.

"The Piute Ranch and Gillmor Property were two high priorities for the open space money. But Toll Canyon was also a high priority, and that left us with insufficient funds to do that," Councilmember Chris Robinson said.

The first agreement passed by the County Council Wednesday was between Summit County, Basin Recreation and Park City to exchange the Gillmor property and PRI open space between them, with Park City paying the county $3.9 million for the Gillmor property.

The second agreement was between Utah Open Lands and Basin Recreation for Toll Canyon.

And, if Utah Open Lands could raise $250,000 from the public by Dec. 31, the Sorensen family agreed to lower the total cost by 10 percent.

A round of applause followed Utah Open Lands Executive Director Wendy Fisher’s announcement that they had reached the goal.

"With the amount of community support that has come out to fill that gap with the pledges and contributions that have been made, Utah Open Lands has reached that $250,000 goal, or $245,000, and we will cover the rest," she said.

BOSAC Chair Max Greenhalgh expressed his appreciation to the county and residents for bringing them to that point.

Greenhalgh added that BOSAC had established four basic criteria for the open space funds: preserve sensitive lands, provide recreational opportunities, protect watershed from major highways and existing neighborhoods and stop urban sprawl.

"If you look at this property, you see it meets all these expectations," Greenhalgh said. "And it’s something special for the community to have, this great tract of open space from one end of the Basin to the other."

Art Lang, who lives at the mouth of Toll Canyon, said he is proud of the lengths the county government has gone to acquire the property, as well as the community at large.

"Well done, folks, for coming up with $250,000 with three weeks notice. It shows you how much the community wants this effort," Lang said.

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