The Uinta National Forest Service is considering swapping land with three private property owners.
All of the proposed trades will help consolidate the Forest Service's land holdings. But, more importantly, each of the parcels could be developed for recreational use.The three transactions:
- The Forest Service is proposing to exchange 920 acres in Provo Canyon for 1,821 acres owned by Robert Redford in the lower reaches of the Diamond Fork drainage system. The Forest Service land is located in two parcels: 680 acres near the southeast corner of the Mount Timpanogos wilderness and 240 acres north of Wildwood.
- Darryl Tanner is proposing to exchange 160 acres plus several smaller parcels of land in the right and left forks of Hobble Creek Canyon for four land parcels in the left fork of Hobble Creek Canyon.
- Provo City is proposing to exchange 608 acres in the Big Springs and Water Hollow drainages of the south fork of Provo Canyon for 75 acres near the mouth of Rock Canyon.
"We are trying to acquire land that has high value either as critical deer winter range, watershed, areas adjacent to wilderness where we could provide better access or protection, or areas that have high recreational value," said Loyal Clark, spokeswoman for the Uinta Forest Service.
The Provo City swap
The proposed trade between Provo City and the Forest Service is particularly beneficial to both parties. Provo City already has a special-use permit to maintain the Forest Service property, which includes the Rock Canyon debris basin.
The city wants to turn 55 acres at the site into what would be the largest park in Provo, according to LeRoy Dennis, parks director. The park would partially surround the Cambridge subdivision.
What does the Forest Service get? Greater access to lands already in its possession in the Big Springs area, including control over the section of the Great Western Trail that passes through the area. The Forest Service may build a parking lot in the area for use by visitors to the Great Western Trail.
The Redford swap
The Forest Service would also receive land with high recreational value in the Redford exchange. Redford originally purchased the property in Diamond Fork with the intention of building a subdivision there; nothing came of the proposed development, however.
Picnic areas and campgrounds could be developed on the property, according to the Forest Service. The property also is considered "prime" wildlife range and good livestock grazing land.
The Forest Service received a petition signed by approximately 300 people opposed to the swap between Redford and the Forest Service.
According to Clark, most of the land Redford will receive is virtually inaccessible and has no developed roads or trails through it. Most of it is "steep canyon walls of 60 percent to 100 percent slope," according to a document by the Forest Service.
Its use to Redford? The added acreage would enable Redford to apply for "transfer credits" for development projects nearer the resort, according to Dave Gardner, agent for Sundance.
Tanner property swap
The Tanner property is considered "high quality" wildlife habitat and could be used for picnic areas. Also, a trailhead for the Kirkman Hollow Trail could be located on one parcel.
This swap primarily allows the Forest Service to attain control of parcels of land surrounded by national forest.
A decision on whether to proceed with the swaps will be made in two to three months, Swanson said. The Forest Service's decision will then be subject to a 45-day appeal period.