Summit County Council will consider a recommendation by the Summit County Manager to enter an option agreement with the Ure family to acquire their approximately 834-acre farm in the Kamas Valley.
"The Kamas Meadow is a critical part of the Summit County water ecosystem and its preservation has been prioritized by the County as well as the Open Space Advisory Committee’s guidelines for open space acquisitions in the South Summit region,” County Council Chair, Roger Armstrong, said. “This purchase is an important step in preserving the Kamas Meadow and supports the preservation of agricultural values in the Kamas Valley. Collaborating with Summit Land Conservancy allows us additional financing options, which enables us to leverage our open space monies, and the County will have flexibility in overall land uses in the South Summit region.”
To fund the purchase, Summit County will combine 2021 GO Bond (Open Space) funds with funds from Summit Land Conservancy, the development community, state and federal grants, and other open space partners. The majority of the property acquired by this option will become protected open space.
“While we are sad to end an over 130-year legacy of Ures farming this ground, we are thrilled with this outcome,” the Ure family said in a statement. “This will be a great benefit to the community and county for a very long time. A continuation of grassy fields and open space is something our ancestors, parents and their 197 posterity can be proud of. Changes are hard but progress must go on. We knew we could not continue farming and be equitable to all the posterity with the challenges of being located on the edge of a suburban area with people unfamiliar with agriculture. This makes a better future for everyone to enjoy this new legacy.”
The Ure property was homesteaded in 1892 and has operated as a dairy and cattle ranch for more than 130 years. The property is located at the southern entrance of the Kamas Valley, and the gateway to the Uinta Mountains, along Highway 248.
“The Summit Land Conservancy is thrilled and honored to partner with Summit County in preserving this key property in eastern Summit County,” Summit Land Conservancy CEO, Cheryl Fox, said. “The Kamas Valley is a vital piece of the Weber River Watershed and preservation of such a large property will increase the potential for more conservation in this critical area.”
Summit County will pay $5 million as an option fee to secure the property and may take up to four years to close on the property. This time will be used to secure additional funding to go toward a total purchase price of $25 million. While there are GO Bond funds available for the entire purchase price, the county intends to leverage these funds and combine other grants and funding sources to reach the total purchase price at closing.
“The Summit County Open Space Advisory Committee considered the Ure property a high-priority acquisition due to both its scenic value, development pressure and agricultural heritage,” Committee Chair, Wes Siddoway, said. “As our county continues to grow rapidly, we’re glad to move forward securing properties with open space funds.”
Summit County is actively accepting notices of intent from landowners who are interested in preserving their property through acquisitions or conservation easement projects. Summit County landowners interested in applying for funds to protect and preserve their property can learn more HERE. Qualifying criteria include funding, location of property and other priorities adopted by the open space advisory committee.