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Development Threatens Bonanza Flats in Utah's Wasatch

04.25.17

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Development Threatens Bonanza Flats in Utah's Wasatch

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  • The area goes crazy with autumn color.- Development Threatens Bonanza Flats in Utah's Wasatch
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Pro Contributor

A call to all my fellow Wasatch enthusiasts...our beloved Bonanza Flats has been put up for sale and is poised to be developed into a gated luxury community. Thankfully we have an opportunity to keep this land open and for all of us to enjoy! Please take a moment to see if this is something you would like to help us achieve. The implications go far beyond hiking, mountain biking, and skiing and directly affect the residents of three counties in northern Utah. The area can be accessed by Big Cottonwood Canyon of Salt Lake, Park City's Empire Pass, and also from Snake Creek of Heber/Midway, making Bonanza a regular destination for a significant portion of the local outdoor populace.

As more and more people discover Utah's greatness, the state finds itself in a predicament with its growing population. The private and publicly owned open spaces that make the area such a desirable place need to be developed so our new residents and children have homes in the future. While development is necessary for the economy and growth, there are times and places where it is in the best interest of the locals and the city governments to take action and protect open spaces from being developed. This is one of those times, and Bonanza Flats is one of those places. There is no idealized talk of trying to keep the privately owned land from being legally sold to developers; rather, the surrounding community is pulling together to purchase the land from the seller so that it stays public and open rather than private and covered in condos.

Bonanza Flats sits at the apex of Summit, Wasatch, and Salt Lake county's boundaries, which makes it an important watershed for tens of thousands of people. Guardsman's Pass makes up the western edge and allows access to such local jewels as Bloods Lake, Peak 10420, the Wasatch Crest Trail and many other trails, lakes, peaks and valleys. The threatened area covers 1,350 acres and is chock full of yellow bellied marmot, red tailed hawk, moose, deer, porcupine, and dozens of species of wildflowers that bloom in spring. The changing leaves on the trees give way to some of the best autumn colors in the state, and an average of 400 inches of snow fall per year, making this one of the great backcountry ski access points in the Wasatch. Far beyond the importance of natural beauty, the melting snow provides us with clean drinking water. Saving this area has so many benefits and positive long term effects, it deserves to be protected.

We have until June 15, 2017, to raise the $2.8 million dollars not covered by bond sales and pledges from the various affected cities. Your donation will be returned if the fundraiser comes up short, so giving is really a no-brainer. My wife and I love frequenting this area, so we have separately made donations to see if we can help keep it open. We implore you to visit the donation page and take part in protecting our water, our wildlife and our community's physical and mental health. These places are a critical part of the health and happiness of our local population. Easy access to nature is one of the main reasons why the state of Utah consistently ranks with one of the nation's highest standards of living.

A bonus to the successful purchase of the land by the Utah Open Lands for Bonanza Flat would be improved access and additional parking for the Wasatch Crest Trail and the multiple alpine lakes. Obviously we can't keep everywhere safe from development, but the unique location of this property really requires us to find another solution. Time for those of us that frequent this area to put our money where out mouth is and save Bonanza Flats for us and for future generations. Thank you for your support. Visit Save Bonanza Flats to learn more about Bonanza Flats and other areas they are working on saving and those they have successfully saved in the past.

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