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Bishop and Hatch Push Bill for Park City Open Space

March 23, 2007
Press Release
 Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R – Utah) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R – Utah) announced that they have introduced legislation to transfer more than 100 acres of federal land to Park City to be used for open space and public recreation.  The parcels of land, commonly known as White Acre and Gambel Oak, are currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  The land transfer would add significantly to city-owned open space within Park City.

The earlier version of the bill, H.R. 3462 from the previous Congress, cleared the House last year, but did not come up for a final vote in the Senate.  The bill has now been reintroduced in both chambers.

"From the start, we've had three goals with this bill," Bishop said.  "First, we need to settle long-term concerns over the future of these lands.  Second, this bill seeks to preserve some important open space.  And third, control and access for these lands need to be in the hands of those closest to it, the leaders and citizens of the city."

"One of the reasons Park City is such a haven is its careful management of development and open space," Hatch said. "This bill gives Parkites the local control they want to plan their own community for the future. We don't want to lose skiers or other tourists to Vail or Aspen because we didn't do enough for Park City."

In 1975, the BLM completed a comprehensive study of BLM lands in and around Park City.  As part of the study, several parcels of land were identified as suitable for disposal or transfer to other entities.  Nearly 30 years have passed since the completion of the study.  Meanwhile, development in and around Park City has increased the value of the cited lands and the value of and need for open space.

Consistent with these goals and with the help of Park City leaders, two parcels of land were identified for conveyance.  Bishop, who originally announced the legislative concept during a town council meeting in Park City, expressed gratitude for the hard work of city leaders and other parties involved.

Bishop commented, "This has been a team effort from day one, and it has taken a lot of hard work and negotiation already.  The contributions of Park City leaders and others interested in this outcome have been critical.  They deserve to have this land transfer enacted."

The Gambel Oak parcel, with 88.5 acres, and the White Acre parcel, containing 20 acres, are both located within the Park City limits and are surrounded by development.  Preserving them as open space preserves the unique view shed and leaves the land open for wildlife habitat and recreation.

Language in the bill states that all land must be maintained as undeveloped open space and be available only for public recreation purposes.  Additionally, Park City may construct necessary recreational facilities on the land, such as signs, needed utilities, and trails.

The bill also directs the Secretary of Interior to offer for sale, through a competitive bidding process, two other specified parcels of BLM property in Park City.  The proceeds derived from this sale will go towards environmental restoration projects on lands within the BLM Salt Lake City Field Office.