In May of 1999, Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) auctioned off sixty acres at the base of Parriott Mesa in Castle Valley, Utah, to developers. They also announced that the next auction would include land at the base of Castleton Tower, a valley landmark. In response, a group of Castle Valley residents formed Castle Rock Collaboration, a citizens’ action committee to represent conservation interests and monitor local SITLA activities.
Soon the group realized the broad and complicated scope of these efforts. In order to provide an effective voice and move toward the goal of preservating the upper valley as wild land, CRC sought help from and became the southeastern branch of Utah Open Lands, a statewide land trust. At that time UOL had ten years of experience in land transactions, conservation easements, and fundraising, and was seen as an invaluable resource to the CRC organization–a godsend. This relationship allowed fundraising, application for grants, and the purchase of land and conservation easements. Under UOL’s umbrella, the CRC dream of saving Castle Valley wild lands became a reality.
UOL/CRC is committed to finding a 100% conservation solution for the 4,500 acres of SITLA owned land in Castle Valley. We believe that the open lands surrounding Castleton Tower, Parriott Mesa, Porcupine Rim, and Round Mountain are worthy of permanent protection. We are committed to a plan that insures public access to the traditional recreation areas in the valley. We believe the community, through UOL/CRC and its partners, should have the right to purchase any Castle Valley land for sale by SITLA.
THIS LAND MERITS PROTECTION BECAUSE OF ITS UNPARALLELED ATTRIBUTES:
Buy Formoterol Online Internationally significant landscape of national park quality.
Important recreation resource for hikers, climbers, and mountain bikers.
Interconnected critical wildlife habitats for mule deer and other wild creatures.
Scenic open space enjoyed by tourists from all over the world. La Sal Mountain Loop Road Scenic Byway is an important economic resource.
Home to federally listed threatened plant species, the rare Jones Cycladenia and Schultz Stickleaf.
UOL/CRC KEY OBJECTIVES:
1. CRC/UOL has acquired the Parriott Mesa parcel previously purchased by developers from SITLA. This was the first step in preserving the entry corridor to the Valley and the open space under these prized landmarks. The land is no longer threatened by development. This is just the first of many open space land acquisitions.
2. UOL/CRC and the Town of Castle Valley entered into an agreement with SITLA that resulted in the cancellation of their notice to auction 221 acres at the base of Castleton Tower. SITLA placed a temporary moratorium on all auction sales in Castle Valley for as long as we engaged in a planning process with them. CRC/UOL, the Town of Castle Valley, and SITLA entered into a land planning process with Conservation Partners, a Denver-based firm, to determine conservation potential, land values, and development limitations. Others involved in this process included Grand Canyon Trust, The Nature Conservancy, CVRR Property Owners Association, community of Castleton, Grand County administration, BLM, Forest Service, State Division of Wildlife Resources, and Utah Geological Survey.
3. We currently have a contract with SITLA to purchase land at the base of Castleton Tower, the heart of our Castleton Tower Preservation Initiative.
LAND PLANNING PROCESS
SITLA and UOL/CRC hired the team of Conservation Partners, Denver, and Studio 2 Design and Computer Terrain Mapping of Boulder, Colorado, to develop a plan for the SITLA owned land in the valley. These planning firms have extensive backgrounds in conservation planning and open space preservation.
In addition, the Town of Castle Valley has arranged a hydrology study conducted by the Utah Geologic Survey. The purpose of the hydrology study is determine such issues as septic tank density, water quantity, and how to insure long-term protection for our aquifer –data crucial to the planning process. The Town, CVRR Property Owners Association, Utah State Division of Water Rights, Community Impact Board, and a SITLA pledge have all contributed funds for the hydrology study, with the Town committed to raising the balance through grants and foundations.
The land planning process is funded by UOL/CRC, Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, the CV Property Owners Association, and SITLA.
A COVENANT WITH THE LAND
As long as we live here it is our responsibility to protect and restore the land which sustains us. We who are a part of UOL/CRC realize our interdependence with all parts of our community, including the intricate web of life that exists in our valley. We are committed to finding the highest and best solution to preserve this unique and precious place.