Easement Protects Land for Summit Park, UT

Summit Park, Utah-Yesterday the State of Utah’s Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands purchased a conservation easement over 325 acres in Summit Park to protect the land for open space purposes under the Utah Forest Legacy Program. The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization that negotiated the purchase of the easement from the owner, GBF Properties, transferred the easement to the state.

Located approximately halfway between Salt Lake City and Park City, the property consists of forested, mountain terrain that forms the scenic backdrop to the small community of Summit Park. It contains a stand of mature timber and offers unparalleled views of the Snyderville Basin. The conservation easement prohibits development on the property, which will remain in private ownership. The owner will retain an adjacent 25-acre parcel. Congress provided a total of $800,000 for the purchase of the Summit Park property easement through the Forest Legacy Program. Those funds were matched by the Utah Quality Growth Commission, which contributed $400,000.

“The Trust for Public Land commends the State of Utah for its commitment to preserving its invaluable forest lands and Senator Bob Bennett and Congressman Chris Cannon, who worked tirelessly to bring federal Forest Legacy dollars to Utah,” said TPL Project Manager Deborah Frey Love. Bennett is a member of the Senate Interior Appropriation Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over funding decisions for the Forest Legacy Program.

“I am very pleased to see that the Forest Legacy Program has been successful in its effort to protect precious lands in Summit Park, Utah,” said Bennett. “This has been one of my priorities over the past year and I am thrilled that diverse interest groups have come together to support a program that benefits the community and environment alike.”

“This is a great accomplishment for the Forest Legacy Program!” said Ed Storey, acting director for the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. “The protection of this land will enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Utah. The cooperation and common interests of the partners involved-Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands; USDA Forest Service; Quality Growth Commission, and the Trust for Public Land-have been instrumental in the successful completion of this project.”

The Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District and the Mountain Trails Foundation, a nonprofit trails advocacy group, will work together to develop and maintain a trail system on the land that supports Utah Forest Legacy’s goal of protecting the state’s timberlands.

“Open space preservation is a high priority due to ongoing development pressure in the Park City area,” commented Bonnie Park, the Recreation District’s administrator. “The purchase of this conservation easement provides a unique opportunity for the Recreation District to work with the state forester in providing the expansion of mountain back-country trails.”

The Trust for Public Land, founded in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for the public=s use and enjoyment. The Trust has helped protect more than 1 million acres nationwide, including watershed, forest, scenic, and agricultural lands, as well as parks, greenways, and historic landmarks. TPL’s “Greenprint for Growth” campaign helps sprawl-threatened communities protect land as a way to guide development and sustain a healthy economy and high quality of life. During the past three years, TPL has protected more than 20,000 acres in partnership with the Utah Forest Legacy program.