Guest editorial: Goal of saving Osguthorpe Farm is worthy of everyone’s support
Like many of us, when I first drove up the canyon from Salt Lake City to Park City, I knew this was the place for me, notwithstanding in my case the expensive speeding ticket I attracted from the Utah Highway Patrol with my rental SUV. Shortly thereafter, Kitty and I moved here full-time and have never regretted our decision.
That was almost seven years ago, and in that relatively short time we have seen many changes in town. We sympathize with Parkites who have been here much longer who are concerned that their home is in some ways becoming unrecognizable. Just in our time, the traffic has greatly increased (with no real solution in sight), the ski trails are much more crowded (and some say dangerous!), and property values are (or have) skyrocketed out of reach for anyone on an ordinary budget. Of great concern to many of us, our local vibe continues to pulse in some ways more and more in the inevitable direction of a Disneyland-esque megaresort, away from the really appealing low-key, old-time ski town that attracted us here.
But one thing that has not changed and will not change if we all pull together is the glorious natural beauty which surrounds us. Whether we ski or ride or hike in our wonderful mountains or simply gaze up at them from our homes, we know (and this is no exaggeration) that we are truly blessed to live in this place. This is also true of the natural beauty of many of our streets and trails and neighborhoods, especially the areas that have already been forever saved in their bucolic state, like McPolin Farm and Round Valley and the Swaner Preserve.
To me, one of the most special places is the area around Old Ranch Road. I’m a road biker and one of my regular rides takes me down Old Ranch and past the Osguthorpe Farm. The spectacular panoramas of green fields and farm buildings below the Wasatch Back and cloud-studded blue skies above fills me with joy and draws me back time and time again. I can’t get enough of it. Whether you are a cyclist or a dog walker or a jogger or you just occasionally drive through, I’m sure you know what I mean.
This is a part of the unique beauty of Park City which we can save. Working with the Osguthorpe family, the Summit Land Conservancy has entered into an agreement to acquire a conservation easement on the 158-acre farm to forever protect it from residential or commercial development. The Conservancy’s efforts are being supported by substantial grants from the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service and from Summit County, as well as hundreds of donations already made by Parkites, including major contributions from the Osguthorpe family itself. The deadline to complete the transaction is approaching and the Conservancy still needs to raise almost $600,000. This is a large amount, but it is an achievable goal if all of us who love this place rally today and make a generous contribution reflecting the incalculable value we enjoy every day, and will enjoy in perpetuity, from our wonderful surroundings.
In these contentious times, I hope you will join me in supporting this uncontentious goal, which hopefully everyone in town can agree is worthy of our support.
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