Conservation Easements class members enjoy hands-on experience in Bonanza Flat Conservation Area

Sep 29, 2023 | Stegner Center

Professor Nancy McLaughlin, a white woman with long dark-brown hair wearing sunglasses
Professor Nancy McLaughlin

Professor Nancy A. McLaughlin recently took her class on a field trip to the Bonanza Flat Conservation Area, which sits at the apex of Salt Lake, Wasatch, and Summit counties and consists of 1,350 acres of aspen and conifer forest, dotted with several alpine lakes.

In 2017, when development threatened Bonanza, Park City and Utah Open Lands worked together to preserve this beautiful area. A purchase price of $38 million made it seem impossible, but Park City residents voted to pass a $25 million bond. Then three cities, three counties, three public agencies, 11 nonprofits, and thousands of private donors contributed the remaining funding, thus enabling Park City to buy the property.

In January 2020, Park City granted a conservation easement to Utah Open Lands to forever protect the property’s conservation values and prohibit any uses of the property that may materially impair or interfere with such protection.

McLaughlin’s class viewed the area and discussed the process leading to its permanent protection and the conservation easement with Wendy Fisher, Executive Director of Utah Open Lands, and Heinrich Deters, Trails and Open Space Manager for Park City.

“These on-the-ground learning opportunities make learning the law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law a very special and unique experience,” McLaughlin said.

Students walk in a line amid the golden fields and mountain landscape of Northern Utah

Students and featured speakers stand together near trees with golden yellow leaves in Northern Utah