Improved Access for UT’s Wellville Mountains
SALT LAKE COUNTY, UT, 8/31/05 — The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the USDA Forest Service (USFS) announced today the permanent protection of a 603-acre property in Cache Valley along the foothills of the Wellsville Mountains, one of the nation’s steepest ranges. The property, now owned and managed by the USFS as part of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, provides essential public access from the valley at Narrow Canyon into the Wellsville Mountains and the northern part of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST). The Utah Congressional delegation, particularly U.S. Senator Robert Bennett who is a member of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, tirelessly pursued and obtained public purchase funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for this project.
For over a decade, Senator Bennett has worked to secure over $12 million in federal LWCF funding for the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. “The Bonneville Shoreline Trail is a tremendous recreational asset in our state,” said Sen. Bennett. “I’m pleased with the work we’ve been able to do to continue its growth and expansion. I’m especially pleased with the acquisition of this new parcel which will provide another great scenic open space for all to use and enjoy.”
Cory Yeates–one of seven Cache County Council members and the chair of the county’s public-access and roads committee– sponsored a resolution to purchase the property and worked with Utah’s congressional delegation and the Trust for Public Land to secure federal funds. “I know people will be excited to have more access to the Wellsville Mountains,” Yeates says. “It really opens up the southeast end of the mountains.”
“We don’t have a lot of access into the Wellsville Mountains,” explains Rob Cruz, the USFS district ranger for the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Logan. “We have two legal access points in the north, but that’s it.”
To provide access from southern Cache County, the USFS plans to build a trailhead on the property. “This is a great location for a campground someday,” Cruz added. “But for now, people will be able to get in and enjoy these mountains.”
Wellsville Mayor Ruth Maughan sees the protection of the land as a “win-win” situation for her town of 3,000 residents. “The property is right on the edge of our city,” she says. “We’re really the gateway to Cache Valley. This way we’ll be able to keep the beautiful vista,” Maughan added.
Last month, TPL was pleased to announce the hiring of Shauna Kerr as Utah State Director. A native of Wellsville, she was the first woman elected to the Summit County Commission, where she chaired their 2002 Winter Olympics committee and served as the Governor’s appointee to the Utah Quality Growth Commission. An attorney by training, Kerr was the Deputy City Attorney for Park City and, most recently, in private practice as a land use attorney.
“We are very grateful to all our partners, including Utah’s Congressional Delegation, especially Senator Robert Bennett and Congressman Rob Bishop, the U.S. Forest Service, Cache County, the City of Wellsville, the Northern Bonneville Shoreline Coalition, and the Murray Family for working hard together to protect this special place. And finally, we could not have completed this purchase without the ongoing support of the Trust for Public Land’s generous donors,” said Kerr.
The BST borders Utah’s urbanized center and provides tremendous recreational opportunities for the foothill communities below the Wasatch Mountains. Since the early 1990s, TPL has worked in partnership with the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Committee, the Bonneville Resource Conservation and Development Council, the U.S. Forest Service, Salt Lake County and many cities and counties adjacent to the BST corridor in an effort to purchase critical “gap” properties along the trail and preserve public access.
The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to preserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas ensuring livable communities for generations to come. TPL works with local, state, and federal agencies and grassroots community groups to protect open space nationwide. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has protected 2 million acres of land in 46 states. In Utah since 1985, TPL has protected more than 40,000 acres throughout the state. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information, please visit us on the web at www.tpl.org.