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UOL Announces Northfields Protection Initiative and Beyond: A Hallmark of Heritage, Habitat and H2O

Courtesy: Johnny Aldolphson Photography

The vital, iconic and uniquely American Western Landscape of the Northfields in the Heber Valley has UOL as its champion with our new land protection campaign. Get involved in Northfields conservation efforts For over 25 years, Utah Open Lands has been seeking conservation solutions for the Northfields. This remarkable landscape offers unparalleled scenic beauty and contains crucial waterways that feed into the Provo River and sustain the Heber Valley and parts of the Salt Lake Valley. Unfortunately, these lands face threats from misguided development plans. Some believe that the community lacks the resources to protect these treasured fields, but Utah Open Lands knows otherwise. Every dollar pledged by the community to Utah Open Lands for safeguarding land in Wasatch County has been matched by at least $5 from outside sources. Our latest project, the Gertsch Farm, has achieved a 6:1 leveraging ratio. While Utah Open Lands is collaborating with several landowners in the Northfields, three properties (the Giles, Getsch, and Christian Michel properties), have emerged as the first phase of our Northfields Protection Initiative. These landowners, recognizing the increasing value of their land as the Heber Valley grows, have chosen to make a significant sacrifice. They are pledging at least 25% of their property value, amounting to millions of dollars, to preserve their properties and maintain the character of their community. The collective value of these three properties nears $23 million. Utah Open Lands has diligently fundraised for these lands, successfully securing over $15 million in county, state, and federal funding. This fundraising, in combination with the generous contributions from landowners, has left us with $975,000 left to raise, less than 5% of the total funding required. We need the community's help to bring the first phase of the Northfields Protection Initiative, these first three properties, to the finish line. Completion of the first phase of the Northfields Protection Initiative not only serves as a signal to other landowners in the area that conservation is a viable option, but demonstrates to major funding entities the widespread community backing for this initiative, setting the stage for future leveraging up to $20 million in additional funding for the Northfields and Heber Valley beyond. To learn more about the Northfields Protection Initiative and how you can get involved, please visit our campaign site.

Miss Wasatch Candidate Alexa Hewlett Promotes
Utah Open Lands' Northfields Protection Initiative

Eighth generation Wasatch County resident promotes Utah Open Lands’ Northfields Protection Initiative in campaign for Miss Wasatch, aiming to protect the cherished landscape she has known since childhood. Candidates running for Miss Wasatch are required to choose a Community Service Initiative, or cause, that they are passionate about. For Alexa Hewlett, that cause is Utah Open Lands’ Northfields Protection Initiative. As an eighth generation Wasatch County resident, Alexa has seen first hand the way development has impacted the Heber Valley. “Open space is something I have felt passionate about since I was just a little girl,” shared Alexa. “My grandparents live in the Northfields, where I spent countless hours exploring with cousins. We'd count cattails swaying in the breeze, watch sandhill cranes in the pastures, and listen to the nightly chorus of frogs croaking in the meadows,” continued Alexa. She sees her campaign as a tangible way to protect the places she loves in the Heber Valley from development. As part of Alexa’s campaign for Miss Wasatch, she hopes to raise awareness within the community about the significance of the Northfields and the importance of its preservation. On June 22nd, Alexa is hosting a fundraising event with food from local vendors, performances from local talent and a silent auction. Tickets for this event are $25 and can be purchased here. All proceeds from this event will directly support Utah Open Lands’ Northfields Protection Initiative. For Alexa, ensuring that the next generation of Wasatch County youth can enjoy the Northfields, just as she, her parents, and her grandparents have, is a top priority. The need for community support in this campaign cannot be overstated. Its success is what will set the stage for a larger preservation vision for the Heber Valley.

Miss Wasatch
Moab spring spruce up

Stewardship Spotlight: Moab Spring Spruce Up

Courtesy: The Landmark Project

UOL and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hosted a dedicated group of volunteers for the Grand County Active Transportation and Trails’ Moab Spring Spruce Up. This spring, Utah Open Lands (UOL) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hosted a dedicated group of volunteers for the Grand County Active Transportation and Trails’ Moab Spring Spruce Up. This initiative focused on enhancing the landscapes surrounding Castleton Tower. Volunteers spent the day removing signs of illegal campfires and social trails, contributing significantly to the proper use and preservation of the area. Photographers from the Landmark Project were on hand to document the day’s efforts, capturing the spirit of community and stewardship. We are immensely grateful to our partners and the volunteers whose hard work made this event possible. Their dedication ensures that Castleton Tower remains a pristine and well-maintained landmark for all to enjoy.

Access Fund

Utah Open Lands Awarded Stewardship Grant from Access Fund

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UOL receives $4,000 grant from Access Fund to help steward Castleton Tower Preserve and Campground We are thrilled to announce that UOL has received a $4,000 stewardship grant from Access Fund to steward the Castleton Tower Preserve. This funding will greatly enhance our ability to care for the Castleton Tower Preserve and Campground. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Access Fund for their invaluable support. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project and other stewardship initiatives.

CAST Reopen

Castleton Tower Campground Receives Grand County
Approval to Reopen Under Historic Use

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The value of the protection of Castleton Tower Baselands was reaffirmed nearly two and a half decades later, underscoring the critical work of Utah Open Lands. Over two decades ago, when the threat of development loomed over Castleton Tower's base lands, Utah Open Lands spearheaded a campaign to ensure the preservation of one of Utah's most iconic climbing destinations. As many of you know, the campground at Castleton Tower was temporarily closed in February. Fortunately, Utah Open Lands was able to work with Grand County regarding its historic use and importance to an international community that has for over a half a century served as a campground to climbing pioneers and generations of climbers and hikers. In early April working directly with Grand County Utah Open Lands garnered approval under County regulations to continue to retain this historic use. We have addressed access issues to allow for our continued sustainable maintenance and want to remind folks that this historic use must be complied with. Remember only 13 sites for camping exist. Failure to comply with this jeopardizes the continued permit of the historic use. You are part of the continued protection of this incredible place. Share that awareness with peers. Remember to stay within designated campsites, clean up after yourself and leave the area better than you found it. Let's continue to enjoy and protect this landscape together. To learn more about how you can Challenge Your Inner Steward and ensure minimal impact on the landscapes you love, please visit the Leave it Loved campaign on our website here:

transit to trails

UOL Proposes Transit to Trails Program Extension to Wasatch Front

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Explore how expanding Transit to Trails can benefit Wasatch Front trail users and how you can support this program's expansion Since 2021, Utah Open Lands has proudly partnered with the Park City Municipal Corporation to implement the Transit to Trails program, offering a sustainable transportation solution for Park City residents to access popular trailheads within the Bonanza Flat Conservation Area. We are excited to announce that this year, we plan to expand this program to serve trail users along the Wasatch Front. The Bonanza Flat Conservation Area is a beloved hiking destination for both Utah residents and visitors. During the summer months, many recreationists from the Wasatch Front visit Bonanza Flat to escape the valley's heat. Data collected from cell phone usage in the area indicates that visitors from the Wasatch Front make up a significant proportion of the total visitors. Expanding the Transit to Trails program aims to better serve these visitors. By offering an alternative transportation solution, we encourage users to minimize their environmental impact, enhancing their recreational experience while protecting the area's ecosystems. Utah Open Lands' involvement ensures that educational and practical resources promoting recreational stewardship are accessible to trail users both online and during shuttle rides. Our initiative not only facilitates transportation but also fosters a culture of mindful recreation, empowering users to make thoughtful choices that benefit both the land and their recreational activities. Utah Open Lands has received a short-term project grant from the Central Wasatch Commission to support the extension of our Transit to Trails program. In the coming weeks, we will be presenting to officials in Salt Lake City, Sandy, and Cottonwood Heights, but we need YOUR help. If you are a Wasatch Front resident, we encourage you to contact your local representatives and city council members to advocate for funding for the Wasatch Front Transit to Trails Program. While we have received $10,000 in grant funding for this project, additional funding is necessary to fully implement the program.


Summer Solstice Stewardship: Garlic Mustard Pull at Killyon Canyon DATE: June 21st, 2024 TIME: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. LOCATION: Volunteers will meet at the Little Mountain Trailhead (588 Emigration Canyon Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84108) and carpool to the Killyon trailhead to hike to the weed pull site. DESCRIPTION: Celebrate the summer solstice in style by joining Utah Open Lands, Salt Lake County, and Save Our Canyons for a day of environmental action at Killyon Canyon. Length of the walk to the weed pull site is roughly 2 miles and covers varied terrain so please bring comfortable clothing and sturdy footwear as well as ample water to stay hydrated. Gloves and trash bags for weeds will be provided. While participants of all ages are encouraged to join, minors must be accompanied by a responsible adult. At the event, you will learn about the impact of invasives on our local ecosystem and proper Garlic Mustard removal techniques. As a group, you will remove Garlic Mustard, allowing native species a better chance to flourish. Soak up the sun on the longest day of the year while giving back to the landscapes you love. Email to secure your spot. RSVPs required to ensure transportation for all participants.


Northfields Fundraiser & BBQ DATE/TIME: June 22nd, 2024 at 6:30 PM TICKETS: $25/person. Purchase tickets HERE. DESCRIPTION: Join Alexa Hewlett, a local resident with deep roots in Heber Valley (eighth generation, no less!), and Miss Wasatch County candidate, for a fun-filled evening supporting Utah Open Lands' Northfields Protection Initiative. Alexa, raised in the Heber Valley, understands the importance of preserving the Northfields more than most. Witnessing development firsthand, she's dedicated to protecting the lands that shaped her life and our shared heritage. Enjoy delicious food from local vendors, live performances by talented artists, and an exciting silent auction – all to raise awareness and funds for this vital cause. Every dollar goes directly towards protecting the Northfields for future generations. Don't miss this chance to experience a delightful summer evening in the Heber Valley, support a cause that preserves the very character of our community, and make a lasting impact on the Northfields. This is a casual backyard barbeque. Meet not only Alexa, but Utah Open Lands' staff to learn more about the Northfields Protection Initiative.


Breakfast and Birding at Bonanza DATE/TIME: Saturday, June 29th. 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM LOCATION: Bonanza Flat Trailhead DESCRIPTION: Join Utah Open Lands’ Recreation, Use, and Education Interns, UOL conservation staff, and Park City Municipal Corporation rangers for a pancake breakfast at the Bonanza Flat Trailhead Parking Lot. Enjoy a delicious meal while learning about the birds of Bonanza Flat, seasonal trail closures, and how your compliance with these closures helps protect local bird species.


Utah Open Lands Night at the Front Climbing Club DATE/TIME: Wednesday, July 3rd. 6:00 - 9:00 PM. LOCATION: The Front Climbing Club - Salt Lake City (1470 400 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84115) DESCRIPTION: The Impact Coalition was formed by The Front Climbing Club as a way to provide consistent support for local nonprofits making a positive impact in our local community. As a proud Impact Coalition Partner, we are excited to join the Front for one of their popular summer concert series nights. Come enjoy local music, food and beverages and learn about Utah Open Lands’ mission and current initiatives. During the music set breaks, compete in Adventure Aware trivia for a chance to win a prize that will help you Leave it Loved!


Utah Open Lands & Fisher Brewing Company Concert Night DATE/TIME: Tuesday, July 23rd. 6:00 - 10:00 PM. LOCATION: Fisher Brewing Company (320 W 800 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101) DESCRIPTION: Join Utah Open Lands at Fisher Brewing Company for a night of live music from local bands, drinks and conservation. During the music set breaks, learn about Utah Open Lands’ mission and current initiatives and compete in Adventure Aware trivia for a chance to win a prize that will help you Leave it Loved! A portion of the proceeds from drinks purchased will be donated to Utah Open Lands.

Summer Solstice
Northfields BBQ
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Breakfast & Birding
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