SALT LAKE COUNTY – The clock is ticking to preserve the open space in Wasatch County known as Bonanza Flats. Supporters must raise $2.6 million by June 15, or the land could be developed.
Located near Guardsman Pass in Wasatch County, the 1,350 acres at Bonanza Flats serves as a vital landscape in terms of drinking water and recreational benefits.
“I see Bonanza Flat, aside from being the heart of the Wasatch, as being a universal landscape,” said Wendy Fisher, Executive Director of Utah Open Lands.
She’s launched an aggressive fundraising campaign to rescue Bonanza Flats. Supporters must come up with $38 million by June 15. With a $25 million bond approved from Park City voters and another $10 million in private donations, that leaves a $2.6 million gap.
“Utah Open Lands has almost a million dollars in funding requests out there right now, so we are hopeful some, if not all, of those will come together,” Fisher said.
Fisher says they’ve received 3,000 individual contributions, and various businesses are stepping up.
There’s an event scheduled for June 10.
"Just recently, we had Kodiak Cakes get together with Skull Candy and Probar: They’re doing a race with the Park City Trail Series, run by Salt Lake Running Company out on Round Valley, as a fundraiser for Bonanza Flat.”
Municipalities are also chipping in: Wasatch County with $25,000, Midway with $10,000, Salt Lake City Public Utilities with $1.5 million, Utah Reclamation Mitigation & Conservation Commission with $150,000, and the Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake in Sandy is adding in $500,000.
But Fisher says if Salt Lake County comes to the table, it could make a big difference. Salt Lake County previously rejected a $3 million request to help fund Bonanza Flats.
“Salt Lake County has to be a partner, and we’re hopeful they’ll consider a contribution of something; $1.5 million could do a tremendous amount at this point," Fisher said.
Evelyn Everton is with Americans for Prosperity in Utah. The group opposes funding from Salt Lake County. She says any donation would come from the county’s general fund and burden taxpayers.
“It’s hard to make the argument that paying for land outside of our county is a higher priority than taking care of people who are homeless, and people who have drug problems, and keeping our roads safe," Everton said.
If supporters don’t reach their goal, all the donations would have to be returned.
“This just cannot fail," Fisher said. "It means so much to so many people."
For more information about fundraising efforts, click here.