A Bonanza for All | Urban Living

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Bonanza for All

Posted By on June 14, 2017, 4:00 AM

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Admit it; you love the Rocky Mountains and the fact that Utah has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Sure, we've also got the Big Five gorgeous red rock parks, too, but on a summer day, it's the mountains where we run to for cool, pure air. Many of you, like me, wait each year to drive over the pass between Brighton and Deer Valley. Some are lucky to cross-country ski or snowmobile there in winter. Once the snowmelt has gone down and the gates on each side of the mountain open, we flock to enjoy Mother Nature.

At the top of Guardsman Pass, the vistas of Summit County and Salt Lake and Heber valleys are breathtaking. Girl Scouts smile as they approach the scenery; their biggest camp in the state is located in an area called Bonanza Flats. Tens of thousands of summer and winter campers have hauled up their sleeping bags, pocket knives, lanyards, mess kits and flashlights and made memories out in the wild with new and old friends under starry night skies. I am a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts and secretary of its Utah board of directors. I know those smiles and I have those memories. We don't own the land under our camp, and the possibility of losing it is terrifying to all of us. We are legendary watchdogs of Bonanza Flats and take very good care of the land.

The 1,350 acres of Alpine meadow at Bonanza Flats is up for sale at $38 million. Park City passed a $25-million bond to cover a huge part of the cost, and a coalition of nine nonprofits has raised another $10 million—but there's still a funding gap. Thousands of members of all ages have been campaigning to raise funds, and some very generous Girl Scout supporters donated anonymously in our name to help save our beloved camping area.

Action Utah, Summit Land Conservancy, Utah Open Lands, Mountain Trails Foundation, Wasatch Backcountry Alliance, Winter Wildlands Alliance and Save Our Canyons are supporters, as are environmentalists locally and even worldwide. Salt Lake County initially refused to help purchase the land, but, as I'm writing this, they're reconsidering the decision. The SLC Department of Public Utilities has pitched in $1.5 million; Wasatch County, $25,000; Midway, $10,000; Utah Reclamation Mitigate and Conservation Commission, $150,000; and the Metro Water District of Salt Lake and Sandy, $500,000.

The deadline for donations is Thursday, June 15. For more information, check out savebonanzaflats.org.

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