SALT LAKE CITY – The future of Bridal Veil Falls – whether as a state monument or a state park – is in the hands of the Utah Department of Parks and Recreation.
Governor Spencer Cox recently signed UNHCR13a resolution passed by the Legislature this year calling for a study to “enhance recreational opportunities in the Bridal Veil Falls area and to showcase the unique beauty of the Bridal Veil Falls area to Utah tourists and of the world”.
The resolution stems from events that have unfolded around Bridal Veil Falls since last fall. Richard Losee, owner of the Cirque Lodge drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, proposed to develop the land and build a tram that would take people to the top of the falls.
The Provo City Council has opposed plans to develop the land, even though the falls and over 20 acres of land are actually owned by Utah County. The council passed a resolution Dec. 2 calling on the county to protect the area just north of Provo.
On December 8, the Utah County Commission voted unanimously to place an easement over the falls and awarded management and maintenance of the area to Utah Open Lands.
County Commissioner Tom Sakievich said the conservation easement was a local government responsibility – in this case, the county – and therefore the tax burden would be too.
“If it’s a state monument, we can distribute the funds more equitably so that people who visit anywhere in Utah can have equal participation with local people,” did he declare.
Sakievich said Provo commissioners and officials worked with UNHCR13 sponsors Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, and Senator Curt Bramble, R-Provo, to see what more could be done for Bridal Veil. Falls.
Sakievich said the passage and signing of HCR13 was a positive step due to strong interest in making Bridal Veil Falls a state monument.
“So many people from across the country and literally other parts of the world came to see it and many other sites in this area,” he said.
Devan Chavez, spokesman for the Utah Department of Parks and Recreation, said the department is evaluating companies to contract to do the study and will in turn provide the department with the information needed to submit proposals to the Legislative Assembly by fall, as required by UNHCR13.
“The Parks and Recreation Division, they have a long history in this area and they can bring their expertise and maybe outside interest groups and how best to use this land, use the landscape,” Sakievich said.
Chavez said that, like the UNHCR13 notes, the department wants stakeholders, such as Provo and Utah County, to be part of the process.
“(To) make their voices heard too, because it’s their backyard,” he said.
The study will help the department determine what the falls need in terms of staffing, maintenance, safety measures and anything else that could improve the visitor experience while protecting the area, Chavez said.
The difference between the amenities of a monument versus a park comes down to what’s best for the area and for visitors, he said. A park would have full-fledged campgrounds and visitor centers and a “big old front door,” Chavez said, as opposed to something on a smaller scale with the monument-style of some amenities and rest areas. picnic.
“It’s of interest because it’s early, but we’re excited to get started. … As soon as we can get people in and do this study, it will happen,” Chavez said.
Sakievich said he doesn’t think the COVID-19 pandemic will hamper progress, but may actually be good motivation to complete the study.
“Let’s do something useful that we’ve been talking about for years. Let’s finally start. And let’s make something beautiful out of this place for everyone to enjoy for a very long time,” Sakievich said.