Bonanza Flat Conservation Area is approximately 1,350 acres of undeveloped backcountry majesty nestled in the upper elevations of the Wasatch Mountains among alpine meadows and lakes. It lies beyond Deer Valley Resort, on the back side of Guardsman Pass from Brighton Resort, and above Midway’s Wasatch State Park. This recreational paradise, known for its wildlife, scenic and ecological values, seemed destined for development until, in 2016, the possibility of purchasing the land for preservation became reality.
How the Preservation Effort Began
On November 8, 2016, Park City residents overwhelmingly voted to tax themselves up to $25 million in hopes that Bonanza Flats could be purchased and preserved as open space. With a $38 million total price tag, the future of the largest Wasatch recreational backcountry was in a precarious state and the $13 million gap between the purchase price and the bond amount was one of significance. Park City Municipal along with local recreational, environmental, and conservation non-profits, the community, and various local governmental jurisdictions came together to raise, dollar by dollar, the money to close the deal. On June 15, 2017, Park City and Utah Open Lands along with their partners, announced that the total purchase price fundraising goal was achieved.
Bonanza Flat Saved, Now Stewardship Begins
Bonanza Flat will be forever protected from development and it could not have been accomplished without everyone who contributed to this effort. Now begins the task of careful stewardship and analysis of the critical conservation values connected to the land to ensure its protection forever.
Utah Open Lands is the land trust that will hold the conservation easement. The biggest task will be finding ways to ensure we all are positive stewards of the many conservation values that exist on Bonanza Flat.
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Bonanza Flat Conservation Area
August 25, 2017
Technical Resource Advisors Meeting Recap
The technical resource advisors in attendance: The Mountain Trails Foundation (MTF), the Citizens Open Space Advisory Committee (COSAC), Trails Utah, Save our Canyons (SoC) and Wasatch Backcountry Alliance (WBA) consists of organizations able to provide technical advice associated with possible uses. This initial meeting was purposed to introduce the planning framework and timeline, in addition to, receiving initial input on proposed technical planning documents
Technical Planning Discussion: Similar to concerns echoed within the Mountain Accord planning process, the sentiment from the advisory group was that the property could be ‘loved to death’, should the access to the property be mismanaged. Specifically, the group noted that the property and proposed recreational amenities (trails) would have a carrying capacity, which ultimately would be regulated by the type, amount and location in which access is provided.
o The creation of a sustainable trail network that manages use and impact to the property by avoiding environmentally sensitive areas.
o Dog management within a watershed was discussed.
o Recreational snowmobiling versus the utilization of snowmobiles for access to private property in the area was discussed.
o Education and enforcement was a topic that continually arose, noting that any limitation and/or regulation of use would require a combination of both to ensure the environmental properties of the land would be preserved.
Bonanza Flat Conservation Area Jurisdictional input meeting
June 11, 2017
Led by Heinrich Deters and Wendy Fisher
On June 15 Park City Municipal acquired the 1,350 acre Bonanza Flat property and the first part of the process is to get input from the stakeholder jurisdictions and explain the process for moving forward on preservation goals. We asked for input on the overlying conservation values from the following jurisdictions present:
Summit Council County – Doug Clyde
Park City Council – Jack Thomas and Andy Beerman
SLC Public Utilities Department – Director Laura Briefer
Wasatch County Council – Steve Ferrel (also representing Midway Irrigation Company)
Midway City – Mayor Colleen Bonner
Wasatch State Park -- Tracy See
US Forest Service – Bekee Hotze
Metro Water – Mike Wilson
Snyderville Basin Recreation District --Bob Radke
CITY COUNCIL REPORTS AND MINUTES
Aug 31, 2017, BF Update to City Council : Report I Minutes
Oct 6, 2017, Bond Voter Pamphlet: Report