Bonanza Flat Conservation Area

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The Place

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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Winter 2017-2018:
The City and Utah Open Lands will continue to monitor the property throughout the winter and provide City Council the findings as part of the extended resource inventory.


  • Bonanza Flat Jurisdictional Stakeholder Input Session #2.

November 17, 2017 -- City Council Chambers, 445 Marsac Ave

 This meeting open to public. Jurisdictional Partners: Summit County - Wasatch County - Salt Lake County - Salt Lake Public Utilities - Midway City - Metro Water - Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest - Wasatch State Parks .

The group discussed the high level conservation values represented on the property and the need to balance those resources effectively.

  • The groups discussed concerns with the current access issues associated with the use of the Guardsman Pass area during summer months as well as the unsustainable nature of the Blood’s Lake trail.

  • The groups expressed concerns associated with summertime motorized uses, and target shooting and dispersed camping which can lead to wildfires.

  • The groups expressed interest in establishing ‘zones’ in which certain conservation values could be prioritized.

  • The group discussed the need for controlled access points (trailheads) and a sustainable trail system in which the public could access and recreate responsibly, while preserving the natural environment.

  • The Committees supported the City’s position to continue with the monitoring of the property this winter. 

  • Bonanza Flat  Technical Stakeholder Input Session #2.

November 17, 2017 - 1:30pm-3pm - City Council Chambers, 445 Marsac Ave

This meeting open to public. Technical Partners: Mountain Trails Foundation - Summit Land Conservancy - Wasatch Backcountry Alliance - Citizens' Open Space Advisory Committee (COSAC) - Trails Utah - Save Our Canyons .

The group discussed the high level conservation values represented on the property and the need to balance those resources effectively.

  • The groups discussed concerns with the current access issues associated with the use of the Guardsman Pass area during summer months as well as the unsustainable nature of the Blood’s Lake trail.

  • The groups expressed concerns associated with summertime motorized uses, and target shooting and dispersed camping which can lead to wildfires.

  • The groups expressed interest in establishing ‘zones’ in which certain conservation values could be prioritized.

  • The group discussed the need for controlled access points (trailheads) and a sustainable trail system in which the public could access and recreate responsibly, while preserving the natural environment.

  • The Committees supported the City’s position to continue with the monitoring of the property this winter.

  • Resource Inventory Presentation by Utah Open Lands

November 9, 2017  - City Council Chambers, 445 Marsac Ave

City Council Update, Utah Open Lands to present Bonanza Flat Resource Inventory. The Park City Council provided direction to move forward with the Bonanza Flat Easement Process.

  • Bonanza Flat Lease Holds

October 5, 2017

In 2015, Wells Fargo foreclosed on several assets owned and operated by Talisker Corp. Bonanza Flat was one property but there were several others, including an entity referred to as ‘The Talisker Club’. For over ten years, the Talisker Club held a lease on the current Bonanza Flat property. The lease hold included the ability to have some small structures, a yurt and deck and teepee on approximately six acres, in which members could participate in campfire dinners and winter sledding in a backcountry setting. Currently, visitors to the property will recognize these improvements as they can be seen from Pine Canyon road. This item will be brought before the Park City Council as a staff communication. It may or may not be discussed.

  •  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

 

Please visit the Bonanza Flat Community Preserve Facebook page for more updates, photos and other pertinent information.