The Salt Lake County Council will set aside $250,000 to help preserve five acres of scenic, wildlife habitat in Emigration Canyon.
In September, the non-profit Utah Open Lands made an offer on this undisturbed meadow just around the bend from Ruth’s Diner. Utah Open Lands Executive Director Wendy Fisher says they’re affectionately referring to the property as Owl Meadow.
“In the spring, prior to this property coming up for sale, four baby Great Horned Owlets were fledged on this property,” Fisher says. “Prior to that Red-tailed Hawks had fledged some babies. So we know that this is important for wildlife but it also has tremendous heritage value and water-quality value.”
The seller of the property gave the group two months to come up with the $700,000 asking price. Private donors and Emigration Canyon residents raised a majority of the money and on Tuesday, the Salt Lake County Council unanimously approved the remaining $250,000 to close the gap.
Salt Lake County Councilman Jim Bradley says it was an easy to decision to protect the area indefinitely.
“People who are driving up and down the canyon or riding their bike or jogging will be able to actually interact with it or at least observe it, depending on what you’re doing, and be able to see just the remnants of what Emigration Canyon used to be,” he says.
Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation officials say before the money will be made available to the group, the county will first have to do an environmental assessment and an updated appraisal on the property.