Salt Lake City completes purchase of 305 acres of open lands near City Creek Canyon, closing out 12-year Open Space Bond

Today, Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced Salt Lake City had completed the purchase of approximately 305 acres of open land near City Creek Canyon. The land was first identified by the Open Space Program in February 2016, and was recommended for purchase to the Mayor and City Council by the Parks, Natural Land, Trails, and Urban Forestry Advisory Board.

The purchased land is split in two distinct parcels. One parcel of 144.8 acres is located in the city’s foothills, directly north of Ensign Peak (Parcel 1 in graphic), known as Hell Canyon. This parcel fills a gap in the city’s foothill open lands area, and includes a section of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST). Acquisition of the parcel protects large, native gambel oak woodland, and secures scenic views from the BST as well as opportunity for future trail development. This parcel was purchased from a private owner using the remaining balance of the city’s Open Space Fund managed by the Department of Public Services.

The second parcel of 160 acres is located on City Creek Canyon ridge (Parcel 2 in graphic), adjacent and within the City Creek Watershed. This parcel is a piece of relatively undisturbed foothill habitat, which is a rarity in the Salt Lake Valley. This acreage is part of a larger area that serves as winter habitat for elk, year round habitat for turkey and mule deer and is home to a wide variety of mid-elevation and foothill wildflower communities. This parcel was purchased from a private owner using the city’s Watershed Fund managed by the Department of Public Utilities.

“Preserving this land has been a top priority for our teams in Public Utilities and Parks, who worked cooperatively to secure this deal for Salt Lake City,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski on the announcement. “This acquisition helps protect assets our city cares deeply about, including our delicate watershed area, comprehensive trail system, and spectacular wildlife viewing areas, a fitting end to the Open Space Bond which has served this city well for 12-years.”

The combined purchase price of the land was negotiated at a total of $1,375,000, $735,000 through the city’s Open Space Fund, and $640,000 through the Watershed Fund. In 2003, voters passed the $5.4 million Open Space Fund Bond for the acquisition of open space lands. Per the rules regarding the collection and expenditure of bond proceeds, the funds in the Open Space Fund were set to expire in September.

Since 2004, the Open Space Bond helped fund the acquisition of seven open space sites along the Jordan River Parkway (35 acres), six open space sites in the foothills and along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (315 acres), and four open space sites along Emigration and Parleys Creeks (10 acres). Properties protected with bond funds include, the scenic Bonneville Shoreline Preserve in the city’s north foothills, natural grasslands around the H-Rock on the east bench, Wasatch Hollow Preserve nestled along Emigration Creek, the Sugarhouse Draw connecting Sugarhouse Park to Hidden Hollow, and key parcels along the Jordan River corridor near North Temple that will facilitate completion of the 50+ mile Jordan River Parkway Trail.

“The Open Space Bond has been a powerful resource over the last 12 years, allowing Salt Lake City to act quickly to protect important natural lands, waterways, and trail corridors as opportunities arose,” said Mayor Biskupski. “Moving forward, the city will continue to look for opportunities to protect valuable open space properties of unique recreational, ecological, and scenic value.”

Download the Open Space Land Purchase Map