Record editorial: Parkites are on the clock to help Osguthorpe Farm, Snow Ranch Pasture efforts
It is shaping up to be a tense month for Park City open space advocates.
Two important conservation efforts in the area face sizeable funding gaps as deadlines at the end of March approach. Parkites who understand the value of protecting the Osguthorpe Farm on Old Ranch Road and Snow Ranch Pasture near Thaynes Canyon — parcels that represent some of the last remaining ties to Park City’s farming heritage — are on the clock to step up before time runs out.
Without significant contributions from the community over the next few weeks, both may be in danger of falling short.
Supporters of the projects have toiled for months to ensure that doesn’t happen.
The Summit Land Conservancy has led the push to secure funding for a conservation easement on the 158-acre Osguthorpe Farm in the Snyderville Basin for well over a year. The group’s successes include earning an $8.8 million federal grant through a Farm Bill program, receiving a $500,000 contribution from Summit County and garnering hundreds of private donations. But as of Friday, the nonprofit still had $800,000 to raise by the end of March. If that doesn’t happen, the organization says it will lose the federal grant, scuttling the entire endeavor.
Likewise, the nonprofit Utah Open Lands needs nearly $1.5 million to complete a conservation agreement on the 19-acre Snow Ranch Pasture close to the Park City Golf Club. Park City voters in November elected to provide up to $3 million toward the $6 million deal as part of the open space bond that included the Treasure land.
Contributing more money to save open space is certainly a big ask in a community that has agreed over the last few years to spend nearly $100 million on land conservation between the Bonanza Flat and Treasure deals. It’s understandable if some residents are tapped out.
But without the funding, both parcels are at risk of being transformed into hulking housing developments sooner rather than later. That’s an outcome few in Park City desire.
So as the March deadlines near, residents should donate if they are able. If the groups trying to save Osguthorpe Farm and Snow Ranch Pasture reach their funding goals by the end of the month, generations of Parkites will reap the rewards of preserving the fertile land.
Summit Land Conservancy is scheduled to host an open house detailing the effort to save Osguthorpe Farm on March 11 at 5:30 p.m. in the Sheldon Richins Building.