Wasatch Environmental Update for May 05, 2014
By John Worlock, Member, SOC Board of Director
“Provo’s Rock Canyon”
We were delighted to learn this week of the decision of the City of Provoto spend about a million and a half dollars and buy out those who claimed mineral rights in Rock Canyon, in order to put that special place aside for recreational and academic pursuits.
Rock Canyon is a beautiful, narrow, rock-bound canyon, allowing access into the Wasatch Range from the Utah Valley. It is incorporated within the city of Provo and located just east of the BYU campus. It has become a Mecca for rock-climbers, hikers and others. It has also been an outdoor classroom for curious biology, botany and geology students learning about the wonders of the natural world. On any given day, one could encounter both academics and adventure seekers exploring in Provo’s Rock Canyon.
Rock Canyon has been under attack for at more than a decade. Although the land is federally owned and part of the National Forest System, there were mineral rights owned, at least partially, by a person who wished to turn Rock Canyon into a rock quarry, excavating and removing rocks that could be sold as landscape decorations. That individual threatened to pull down and break up one of the most popular climbing rock-faces.
Ten years ago, local citizens revived the Rock Canyon Alliance, which had for decades been fighting against unwanted destruction and development, such as rock quarrying. Again five years ago, the rock-diggers were back, and were fought to a temporary standoff.
Now, suddenly, after five years of silence, last week we were delighted to learn that Provo has closed on a contract to purchase those 80 acres of mineral rights at the mouth of the Rock Canyon, ending decades of disputed ownership and contentious development.
We expect that the city of Provo will preserve the natural beauty of Rock Canyon, so that generations of residents, visitors and students will enjoy their outdoor classroom and their various recreational pursuits.