LOGAN – The dream of Logan City officials to extend public and recreational access to the lower Logan River came true on Friday.
At a by-invitation-only ceremony held along the river, Logan Mayor Holly Daines announced that the city had finalized an agreement with the Kunzler family to obtain a 47-acre conservation easement along the north side of the Logan River from approximately 1000 West to 2000 West.
In her remarks, Daines thanked Bernice and Sharon Kunzler, the widows of brothers Chet and Darrell Kunzler respectively, for their generous support in making the conservation easement a reality.
The easement will generally include the property 50 feet from the riverbank, providing public access to that land and opportunities for an eventual extension of the city’s trails system.
In addition to precluding commercial development in perpetuity, the easement will facilitate the city’s flood and stormwater mitigation efforts; provide access for potential river restoration projects; and, allow extension of the city’s Blue Trail, a river pathway for kayaks, canoes, tubes and other non-motorized water craft.
The announcement ceremony was well-attended by local dignitaries. In addition to Bernice Kunzler, the guests included state Sen. Chris Wilson, state Rep. Dan Johnson, state Agriculture Commissioner Craig Buttars, Cache County Council Chair Gina Worthen and Cache County Executive David Zook.
City officials explained that the price tag for the easement property was slightly more than $20,000 an acre, for a grand total of $963,000.
The city’s funding partners in the land deal include the state of Utah’s LeRay McAllister Critical Land Conservation Fund; Cache County, with grants of RAPZ tax funds; and, members of the Kunzler family.
Specially, the McAllister Fund contributed $481,750 in response to a successful grant request from city officials; the Kunzler family contributed $96,350; and Logan City and Cache County each contributed $165,240 obtained from RAPZ tax grants. The remainder of nearly $55,000 came from city trail grant funding.
“Logan City is grateful to all our funding partners who helped to make this possible for the citizens of Cache Valley,” Daines emphasized. “This is key property that the city has been aware of for years.
“When the McAllister funding opportunity came up, my staff and I worked diligently to complete a grant application, work with the (Kunzler) family and adapt to changing situations to achieve our goal of conserving this property along the river.”
In his remarks, Travis Lish — the grandson of Bernice Kunzler — praised Daines for her vision in making the easement possible; the efforts of Logan City officials; and, the philanthropic spirit of his own family.
“If you want to know what the Kunzler family is about,” Lish said, “they’re generous, kind and they always show up. They are the kind of people who are willing to give you the shirts off their backs. If there’s a neighbor in need … the Kunzlers are the first ones there to help … They are the kind of people who push you to be your very best.”
Daines explained that Logan City is developing plans for a bridge to connect the easement property to the existing Trapper Park and Trapper Trail on the south side of the Logan River. The city also plans to create a trail the length of the easement on the north side of the stream. But the timing of those projects will depend on future funding availability and opportunities.
A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement that permanently limits uses of land in order to protect its conservation and recreational values. A conservation easement is a favored way to protect property for use by future generations, often at lower costs to public entities.