This week, shamefully, our Utah House members, led by Bishop, have officially failed to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that protects and improves parks and outdoor areas WITHOUT burdening taxpayers. It is paid for by those corporations who extract from public land. The LWCF has brought hundreds of millions of dollars to help UTAH with over 50 major projects.
As of Sept. 30, LWCF is officially out of business. Money collected with stay with the polluters and extracting industries.
HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF LWCF PROJECTS IN UTAH:
Project: Wasatch-Cache National Forests
LWCF Contribution: $13.4 million
Short Description: For years, the residents of Salt Lake, Weber, Davis, Utah, and Cache Counties have benefited from their unique geographical location along the slopes of the Wasatch Range, which provides recreational opportunities, an escape from urban pressures, and a sense of community pride and identity. Over $13.4 million in LWCF investment has gone to the National Forests, protecting this important resource for all of its visitors.
Project: Bonneville Shoreline Trail
LWCF Contribution: $15.3 million
Stakeholders Involved: The Trust for Public Land, Weber Pathways
Project Characteristics: Recreational access, drinking water, consolidating maintenance)
Short Description: Local governments, citizens, non-profits, and private landowners have been working with the U.S. Forest Service since 1991 to acquire and protect properties along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Because the BST crosses scores of canyons that drain the Wasatch Mountains, residents along the trail – about 80 percent of all Utahans – rely on the lands along the BST for recreation access into the canyons and for watershed protection. LWCF funds have protected thousands of acres and ensured a high quality of life for the area’s residents. As former Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon has stated, “Open space in our urban interface areas may well be one of the final frontiers. It’s no secret our valley is growing dramatically and with this
project, and others, we will provide future generations with that elbow room we used to think was so readily available here in the Mountain West.”
Project: Coldwater Forest Legacy Project (Forest Legacy Program - state grant)
LWCF Contribution: $435,000
Wasatch-Cache National Forest
Bonneville Shoreline Trail
Credit: Natural History Museum of Utah
Characteristics Recreation access, working forestlands, drinking water
Short Description: The 3,000-acre Coldwater Forest Legacy Project is located in the heart of the Bear River watershed in Northern Utah. It borders the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, State of Utah’s Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area and the 5,600-acre Green Canyon Ranch, a Forest Legacy conservation easement. Active forest management projects include timber harvests, fuel reduction, forest health projects, aspen regeneration and tree planting. The property provides high-quality brooding habitat and lek sites for the sharp-tail and greater sage-grouse - both Utah Species of Concern. The Bonneville cutthroat trout, a Utah Conservation Agreement Species, is present in the Blacksmith Fork and Millcreek Rivers that flow through the property. The property provides crucial winter and summer habitat for hundreds of elk and moose as they seek refuge from the harsh winter weather in the Wasatch mountains and the urbanized Cache Valley. Springs on the property provide drinking water for the town of Paradise, Utah. Coldwater is used for seasonal cattle and sheep grazing and offers public access for hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing. Though $435,000 in LWCF funds has been invested in Coldwater Ranch, there is a significant need for additional funds to complete the project.
Project: Washington County Habitat Conservation Plan (Habitat Conservation — state grant)
LWCF Contribution: $23 million
Short Description: Utah’s Washington County is one of the fastest growing retirement and recreational areas in the nation. New residents are attracted in part by the exceptional red rock landscape, and tourists converge to visit Zion National Park and the Dixie National Forest. The county is also home to the highest density of Mojave desert tortoises in the United States. From 1980 to 1990, the population of the county increased 86 percent, and this trajectory has continued since then. In order to protect the desert tortoise, along with a number of other species, Section 6 funding has helped to build a 62,000-acre reserve, allowing for continued growth and development elsewhere in the county in compliance with the Endangered Species Act. This investment of nearly $23 million from LWCF has prevented further fragmentation of habitat, established wildlife corridors and connectivity, and brought stakeholders together to manage the community’s resources collectively and solve a very difficult problem.
Project: (Forest Legacy Program —state grant)
LWCF Contribution: $5,130,000
Short Description: The 1,790-acre Orderville Gulch property is located two miles east of Zion National Park (ZNP) and is adjacent to BLM’s Orderville Canyon Wilderness Study Area (WSA). The property serves as the popular alternate route to the stunning Zion Narrows hike. The intricate sandstone slot canyons of Orderville and Birch Canyons attract over 20,000 climbing and canyoneering enthusiasts from around the world. Visitors contribute $3.07 million to the local economy. The property can be viewed from at least three observation points in ZNP: Lavapoint Lookout, Observation Point and Cable Mountain. With a conservation easement on the property, trail access to ZNP and BLM trails will be protected in perpetuity. Timber stands on the property include Ponderosa pine, Gambel oak, Mountain maple, pinion-juniper and mature cottonwoods in the canyon bottoms. Orderville Creek runs through the property to the North Fork of the Virgin River inside ZNP and support two endangered fish, three endemic fish and one endemic snail. The land is designated critical habitat for Mexican Spotted Owl and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher. The federally-endangered California condors have been seen on the property with nearby roosting sites in ZNP.