Forest Legacy to Fund Summit County’s  Wasatch Back Forest Conservation Project


SALT LAKE (May 14, 2024) – The United States Forest Service (USFS) announced yesterday that they will provide $40 million of Inflation Reduction Act funding through the Forest Legacy Program that will go to Summit County’s Wasatch Back Forest Conservation Project to preserve a large landscape project in Summit County.

The 910 Ranch is 8,588 acres of privately owned forested property within the Wasatch Mountains, the largest remaining parcel of this size.  The purchase of this land will connect a 52,000-acre corridor of protected land that consists of other Forest Legacy projects, conservation easements, state parks and National Forest lands.  

“The Division is thrilled to support Summit County in this important project,” said Natalie Conlin, Forest Legacy Coordinator for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. “The successful funding of this project shows the national significance of protecting this forest. The forestry, watershed, wildlife and recreational benefits of this tract are outstanding.”

With the funding, along with $15 million in funding from Summit County, the 910 Ranch will be purchased by the county and preserved as open space. The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands will hold a conservation easement on the property to prevent future development and conversion to non-forested land. 

The project area will permanently secure public access across the site for recreation, education, and research. Approximately five miles of East Canyon Creek runs through the property that was once considered a blue ribbon fishery abundant with Bonneville Cutthroat Trout but now is listed as a critically impaired waterway.  The property will also connect wildlife migration corridors and provide critical habitat for elk and mule deer. 

Summit County will assume ownership by late summer 2025 but will serve as stewards and begin implementing their property management plans. Current work will include documenting land conditions, animal species and sensitive areas. 

The funding for this project is part of $150 million in grants for 26 projects that will conserve forested land and support rural economies in 17 states. $69 million in funding came from the Inflation Reduction Act and more than $84 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands currently holds conservation easements on 31 Forest Legacy projects totaling over 85,000 acres.

These ‘working forests’ support local rural economies, maintain wildlife habitat and migration corridors, and protect water resources for downstream users.

About Utah’s Forest Legacy Program

Utah’s Forest Legacy Program (FLP) is designed to protect and manage, for future generations, environmentally important forest areas threatened by conversion to non-forest uses, such as development and subdivision. Conservation easements are used to achieve this goal. 

Using a conservation easement, a legal agreement between a willing-seller landowner and the state, allows the land to remain in private ownership while ensuring that its environmental values are retained. Instead of making a costly outright purchase of forest land, conservation easements limit development rights. This ensures that the land will remain in forest cover while private landowners continue to own, manage and use their lands and natural resources.