SALT LAKE CITY, UT. — The U.S. Forest Service, the Utah Department of Natural Resources and the White family announced today the permanent protection of 5,573 acres of forested ranch land near the mouth of Blacksmith Fork Canyon in the southern end of Cache Valley.
Jon White and his family have voluntarily entered into a perpetual conservation easement with the Utah Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. The arrangement ensures public access for fishing along the Blacksmith Fork River, while preserving the land indefinitely as a working ranch.
“My family and I are pleased that future generations will be able to work the ground, hunt, fish and enjoy the property as we have for over 100 years. With all of the development pressure in Cache Valley it is comforting to know that when valley residents look up towards Blacksmith Fork Canyon they will not see our foothills dotted with new residential subdivisions”, said landowner Jon White.
The Green Canyon Ranch area is critical winter range for mule deer and elk and provides year-round habitat for the Columbia sharp−tailed grouse, a state sensitive species. Perched above the towns of Hyrum and Paradise, the project area provides much of the culinary water for both towns. Some of Green Canyon’s 4.5 mile northern boundary runs along the scenic Blacksmith Fork River, a “Blue Ribbon” trout stream. Brown and rainbow trout are the primary species. The river also provides habitat for the Bonneville cutthroat trout, a state sensitive species.
Funding for this acquisition of development rights was provided by the U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state’s LeRay McAllister Critical Land Conservation Fund, the Department of Environmental Quality Division of Water Quality and also through a significant landowner donation of value.
Since 1998 the Forest Legacy Program, the Department of Natural Resources and other partners have worked with 26 landowners to protect approximately 75,000 acres of important working forests across the state. For more information about this program, visit <a href=”http://www.ffsl.utah.gov/forestryassist/legacy/legacy.php”>http://www.ffsl.utah.gov/forestryassist/legacy/legacy.php</a>.