SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources won the bid Tuesday during a public auction for 8,107-acres of Cinnamon Creek property in Cache and Weber counties.
The state agency plans on this piece of prime real estate to become an invaluable wildlife management area.
The property is located southeast of Porcupine Reservoir, west of Ant Flat Road, just north of the Cache/Weber County boundary line. This portion of Cinnamon Creek was owned by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) and was named after the creek, which runs through the property.
“This is a big win for our beneficiaries,” stated Michelle McConkie in a release, an Assistant Director at SITLA who oversees the agency’s Surface Management Group. “It’s about a 50/50 split with reservoirs and public schools. This piece of land brought in about $20,000 last year; with this sale, the beneficiaries are looking at millions in revenue, an amount that would take decades to generate in its current state.”
The DWR leases public hunting and fishing access to SITLA lands, so the public already could hunt and fish on the property.
“Utah experienced some of the worst water supply conditions this year than most of us have seen in our lifetimes,” said Candice Hasenyager, director of the Utah Division of Water Resources in a statement. “Many of our reservoirs have hit record-low water levels. Looking ahead, we need to reduce how much water we use and increase our storage. SITLA has always looked out for us, and this sale couldn’t come at a better time.”
Paula Plant, Director of the School Children’s Trust at the Utah State Board of Education, said, “We’re grateful to SITLA for making this sale such a success! This sale will generate additional funds for Utah school students, not just next year but every year going forward. In Utah, every public school has a council that directs how their portion of the trust funds are spent. Councils may hire teachers, reading specialists, purchase technology, provide hands-on STEAM projects and equipment for children with special needs. The funds are spent for the unique needs of each school.”
The public auction opened Tuesday, Nov. 9 and ended Tuesday November 16, with DWR claiming the winning bid. The bid was made possible through the help of several partners who have committed significant funding, including the Mule Deer Foundation, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, the State of Utah and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“The Cinnamon Creek property provides important public access for hunting, angling and other wildlife-related recreation in northern Utah in an area that is mostly private land,” DWR Assistant Director Mike Canning said. “It also contains important habitat for elk, mule deer, moose, greater sage-grouse and sharp tailed-grouse.”
Cinnamon Creek also has a genetically pure Bonneville cutthroat trout population.
“We will manage the area as a wildlife management area to continue providing crucial habitat for wildlife and will also continue to allow access for hunting and fishing,” he said.
This area will become the 193rd wildlife management area in Utah and will provide prime areas for people to hunt and fish, wildlife management areas help minimize and mitigate wildlife depredation on private property, and are vital to providing important winter ranges and feeding grounds for many wildlife species, including big game.
“We are extremely grateful to all the conservation groups who also realized the significance of this property for wildlife and the public, and contributed funds to allow us to purchase it,” Canning said. “We also appreciate the support of the Utah Legislature — including Rep. Casey Snider, whose district includes this property — throughout this process. It would not have been possible without the contributions and support of our many partners. We are thrilled to have preserved another area for wildlife and wildlife-related recreation.”