Hill Above Red Butte Garden to Close

(KCPW News) Red Butte Garden is counting on a smaller crowd for next year’s outdoor concert series, at least when it comes to those who don’t pay for tickets. Communications Director Bryn Ramjoue says the University of Utah has decided to fence off a half-acre area behind the garden where people frequently listen to the concerts for free due to safety concerns.

“There are not services on the hillside, there are not restrooms, there’s not water, there are not lights, and with the fire that happened in the Heritage Preserve in July, the fear and risk of fire became heightened for us, thinking if anyone from a lit cigarette or a match or any reason caused a fire and people had to run from that area, it’s very scary,” she says.

Native plants will be added to both sides of the fence to return the hillside back to its natural state.

Meanwhile, the fenced area will not cut off hikers and bikers.

“It is between two areas where Gambel Oak are still in existence on the hillside, so the University has asked Red Butte Garden to re-vegetate the landscape with what would be on that hillside,” says Ramjoue. “The fencing will protect those young trees while they get a chance to mature.”

The fence will go up this fall. It’s estimated the new plants being put in will take ten years to mature, after which the fence may be removed.