Summit County receives $2.5 million federal grant for land conservation

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — Summit County’s Land and Natural Resources Department recently received a $2.5 million grant to purchase a 320-acre portion of the Ure Ranch property.

Ure Ranch, located in the Kamas Valley, is a region located in the far western highlands of the property, south of SR-248.

This land will be designated for future open space, public recreation, and continuous agricultural activities, all safeguarded by a permanent conservation easement.

“This funding propels us closer towards completing the purchase of the Ure Ranch property and demonstrates that our commitment to protecting open space in Summit County is shared by our great partners at the Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation which administers the funding for this grant program in Utah,” said Jess Kirby, Director of Summit County’s Public Lands and Natural Resources Department.

The federal grant received by Summit County is managed by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is supported by the Great American Outdoors Act.

The Great American Outdoors Act aims to conserve the nation’s land and water resources and provides the Land and Water Conservation Fund with $900 million annually.

This grant functions as a matching fund, necessitating a $2.5 million contribution from the county towards the conservation effort. The matching amount is pledged from the funds of Summit County’s Open Space Advisory Committee (OSAC).

In March 2023, the Summit County Council entered into an option agreement to buy the property for $25 million. Thanks to this latest grant, the County has now secured over half of the required funding for the purchase.

This winter, Summit County held two public engagement sessions, both in-person and online, to assess interest in utilizing Ure Ranch for conservation, recreation, historic preservation, agricultural education, and other purposes.

With funding and conservation measures already in place for the North Meadows and Recreation areas, the County Lands staff’s next steps include securing additional conservation easements, exploring potential conservation buyers, and considering a partnership with Utah State University to establish a 4-H agricultural education center on the remaining South Meadows and Homestead parcels.

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