Open Space, Trails, Parks and Trees Advisory Committee
As part of Heber City’s community priorities Heber City has established the Heber City Open Space and Trails Committee to help guide Heber City staff and elected officials in the preservation of open space, and the development/maintenance of Heber City’s growing trails system. As part of the $10 million open space bond Wasatch County voters passed in 2018 and the Wasatch County Open Space Code; Heber City has direct influence over a percentage of these open space funds based in proportion with the taxable value derived from properties in Heber City. Applications recommended by the Heber City Open Space and Trails Committee and subsequently the Heber City Council will be given priority in the Wasatch County legislative body’s decision to use Wasatch County Open Space Bond revenue.
The Heber City Open Space, Trails, Parks and Trees Advisory Committee commits to sustain, preserve, and expand Heber Valley’s cherished system of parks, trails, and open spaces for the purpose of enhancing our residents’ quality of life, for protecting the historic, scenic, ecological and geological value of our community, and to promote a healthy balance preserving the community’s rural character especially during times of economic and developmental growth.
- Muirfield Park expansion: In August 2021, Heber City purchased 4.25 acres of open space in the North Fields adjacent to Muirfield Park on 200 W. In addition, Heber City has submitted a Notice of Interest to the Wasatch Open Lands Board in hopes to purchase an additional 10 acres of adjacent open space. If approved, Muirfield Park will expand to include passive recreation and will provide the only public access to the coveted North Fields!
- I Care About Heber Air: In August 2021, Heber City passed a Clean Air ordinance. See kpcw’s coverage here, and read the new ordinance listed down below: Heber City Ordinances Promote Clean Air And Dark Sky | KPCW
- Christensen Farms New Park: in May 2021, it was announced a new park will be built in the Christensen Farms development on 12th S and 18th E. Great news - we’ll keep our eyes open!!
- Wasatch County Trail Master Map: See here for a comprehensive map of all the best trails in our beautiful valley! Heber Valley Mountain Biking Trails | Trailforks
- Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant: Heber City’s Open Space Committee and Wasatch County worked together to receive a $160,000 grant to build a new trailhead in Jordanelle State Park and to complete the Perimeter Trail! Our committee also worked with Wasatch Trails Foundation to receive a Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant to connect the WOW trail to the Bonanza Flats Trail System! Beautiful!
- Momentum Development: Along with Momentum Development, we’ve assisted with the relocation of the Lower Riverview Trail in preparation for the Jordanelle Village development and have added almost 10 miles of backcountry trails to the existing Coyote Trail System. The more, the merrier!
- Heber City was recognized as a Tree City USA for 2020 (PDF). To receive the award, Heber City needed to do 4 things: Establish a Tree Board, Adopt a tree ordinance, Expend at least $2 per capita on a community forestry program, and Observe Arbor Day (PDF)
- Why Should I Preserve my Land as Open Space?
Preserving your land as open space protects and benefits you and your land, preserves Heber City’s heritage, and ensures the quality of life we all enjoy for future generations.
- What Type of Land and Properties Qualify/What Type of Land and Properties Can be Preserved Under the Wasatch County Open Space Bond?
- The preservation of land areas for outdoor recreation by, or the education of, the general public.
- The protection of a relatively natural habitat of fish, wildlife, plants, or similar ecosystems.
- The preservation of open space (including farmland and forest land) where such preservation is:
- For the scenic enjoyment of the general public; or
- Pursuant to a clearly delineated Federal, State, or local governmental conservation policy and will yield a significant public benefit; or
- The preservation of a historically important land area.
- What Does it Cost to Preserve my Land/Do I Have to Donate my Land?
- Priority will be given to applicants who donate 25% towards the total cost of the conservation easement. Your contribution happens as a qualified tax deduction, not as money out of pocket. This contribution toward a conservation easement qualifies you for tax benefits that a Qualified Land Trust can explain.
- How Do I Learn More About Preserving my Land/Property?
- Contact the Heber City Open Space and Trails Committee at email@example.com to set-up a meeting to learn more and discuss the options available to you.
- Visit the Wasatch County Open Lands Board website and review the information there:
- Contact a qualified local Land Trust such as Utah Open Lands or the Summit Land Conservancy to have them help guide you through the process:
- What is a conservation easement?
- A conservation easement is a legally binding agreement entered into voluntarily and mutually between a landowner and Utah Open Lands, protecting the land from some or all future development in perpetuity. Utah law provides landowners with a choice of easements coinciding with the conservation resources in need of protection on the property. The forms of conservation easements include: agricultural, historical, ecological, public recreational, or scenic. A conservation easement may protect one or all of the aforementioned values. A conservation easement may be purchased by a conservation organization at its full fair market value, purchased at a fraction of its fair market value, or donated by the landowner to a qualifying conservation organization. Landowners retain their landowning rights as well as many others, including right to use and sell the land. The easement will only retain the rights necessary to protecting certain conservation values, while potentially providing the landowners with tax incentives.
- Will the County or another entity condemn my land?
- The preservation of open lands is always based on a willing seller who enters into a conservation easement transaction willingly without the threat of eminent domain.
- Do I still own the land?
- Yes. The property owner is not selling the land, but instead selling or donating certain rights associated with the property. Depending on the easement, there will be different rights that the landowner will agree to give up—often times being the right to develop. The easement holder, either a private organization or a public agency, will hold the right to enforce the agreed upon regulations.
- Will my land now be open to the public?
- Every easement is unique. It is up to the landowner and what they agree upon and what is deemed appropriate. Some easements will allow for public access, but others will not. Generally, if land is conserved for agricultural purposes, public access is not necessary. The entity entrusted with holding the conservation easement will maintain annual monitoring of the land to ensure the terms of the conservation easement remain in tact.
The Open Space, Trails, Parks and Trees Advisory Committee serves as the Tree Board. This committee established a Tree Advisory Subcommittee to assist with the duties of the Tree Board in administering the city's tree ordinance. There are currently six volunteers who serve on the Tree Advisory Subcommittee.