If you’ve walked your dog in Round Valley or hiked or biked the Mid-Mountain trail or skied in Empire or Lady Morgan canyons or fly-fished along the Weber River, you’ve enjoyed open space protected and preserved by the Summit Land Conservancy, a local non-profit dedicated to preserving land as open space. The beauty of these undeveloped areas, aside from the actual physical beauty, is that all of them are wide open and wonderfully free. All you need is a pair of shoes—though fishing poles, bikes and skis are also welcome.
They’re free due to the support of landowners willing to create conservation easements and the help of local donors and a sizable contribution by the federal government (up to a 50-percent match). “Thanks to the incredible community support of events like Live PC, Give PC and gifts by local donors, we’ve had tremendous growth and gained the capacity to increase the pace and scale of land conservation in Summit County,” says Executive Director Cheryl Fox.
Fox has had a stake in Park City since moving here from Southern California in 1987. A self-described “anti-athlete,” she shocked friends and family by becoming a ski instructor en route to grad school. In 1998, after participating in Leadership Park City, Fox helped create Conserving Our Open Lands (COOL), which later became the Summit Land Conservancy.
To date, the conservancy has preserved 3,000 acres, monitoring and defending 27 permanent conservation easements throughout Summit County. The conservancy recently purchased 23 acres critical to its Weber River Watershed Initiative, preserving riverfront angler access, wildlife habitat and farmland that protects drinking water.
Acting as a mentor for grass-roots organizations is nearly as important as saving land, says Fox, who describes Utah as “under land-trusted” in relation to other states. “We’ve been successful because there is money here [in Park City], but agricultural land is extremely important in rural Utah and maintaining green space is important to people everywhere.”
Nana B’s Preserve, 63 acres in Brown’s Canyon, Peoa
Siddoway Ranch & Wetlands, 73 acres in Peoa
Gambel Oak, 225 acres in Park City
Risner Ridge, 53 acres in Park City
Dog Holler Organic Farm, 85 acres near Hoystville
Pyper Tracey Ranch, 50 acres in Henefer
Miss Billie’s, 11 acres in Park City
Osguthorpe Ranch, 121 acres in Park City
Judd Ranch, 35 acres in Wanship
Fawcett Ranch, 46 acres in Henefer
Quarry Mountain, 183 acres in Park City
Enclave at Cedar Draw, 63 acres in Park City
McPolin Farmlands, 116 acres in Park City
Rail Trail, 2 acres in Park City
Richards Ranch, 19 acres in Park City
Round Valley, 690 acres created from 5 separate easements in Park City
UP&L. .5 acres in Park City
Virginia Mining Claims, 13 acres in Park City
Empire Canyon, 1093 acres made up of 4 separate easements in Park City
Warren Claims, 105 acres in Park City
For an interactive map of these properties, visit wesaveland.org
written by: Vanessa Conabee
photo by: Adam Finkle