Wasatch Environmental Update; Bonanza Flats

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Wasatch Environmental Update for August 14, 2016

By John Worlock, Member of the Board of Directors of Save Our Canyons

“Bonanza Flats”

This will be about Bonanza Flats, a large and attractive piece of undeveloped land just beyond the Guardsman Pass at the head of Big Cottonwood Canyon. I became fond of that place some 24 years ago as I arrived here from the east coast, having driven and camped myself across the country. I am not fond of superhighways, so when I discovered a back-country way to enter Salt Lake City from the east side, I took it. It brought me up and through the beautiful Bonanza Flats, and I took my time, enjoying and photographing the scenery before descending into the valley.

But no piece of mountain scenery is safe as long as there is money lying around waiting to be spent on mansions and resorts. Bonanza Flats is on our minds because its urban neighbor, Park City, is scheming to take it off the market and turn it into permanent open space. Park City proposes to float a bond issue of some 25 million dollars to be ready in case it comes on the market in that price range. Bravo….Park City.

Bonanza Flats is 1,400 acres of undeveloped and pristine ground traversed by Guardsman Pass Road in unincorporated Wasatch County at the upper elevations of the Wasatch Mountains. It is scenic mountain land with alpine terrain of dramatic stands of conifers, large aspen groves, steep cliffs, alpine lakes, and open meadows.

Unfortunately, Park City is not the only schemer in the neighborhood. At least one developer has expressed an interest in turning it into a high-end mountain resort. The prospect of a private, exclusive club for the wealthy with golfing, horseback riding, fishing, skiing etcetera is beyond frightening.

We suggest that Park City is not the only entity that should be interested, as it will benefit citizens of three counties to have that open space not only preserved but opened up for public enjoyment. The three are Wasatch County, where the Flats lie, plus the contiguous Salt Lake and Summit Counties. All of us can benefit from an immense public playground of such beauty.

Let’s applaud Park City and urge our Wasatch Front leaders to join the campaign for the preservation of the Bonanza Flats.

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