(KCPW News) The Salt Lake County Council will decide this afternoon whether to protect 250-acres of open space in Killyon Canyon, above Emigration Canyon. Lorna Vogt, the county's open space program director, says the property has prime wildlife habitats and recreation potential.
"We're losing our open space, people long to get up into the mountains, and have that connection to nature, so recreation access like this is incredibly valuable," Vogt says. "It's also valuable because it will be lost if we don't develop it, because there are development deals there."
If the county doesn't step in, Voigt says 27 new homes could be built on the properties. Together, their appraised value is $3 million. The county is being asked to chip in half of that from its $24 million open and green space fund. The rest would be raised by private donors through two conservation groups, Utah Open Lands and Save Our Canyons. Voigt says the county's money would be used as a challenge grant.
"It's a 50/50 match. What we're going to do is put in $1.5 million of the $3 million purchase. But our $1.5 won't kick in until the rest of the money has been raised," Vogt says.
The private property owners have worked for the past three years to protect the land. They already have signs posted allowing public access. If the deal is approved, Vogt says the county would allow hiking and possibly camping and fishing on the land. But it would not allow motorized vehicles.