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Land exchange benefits many

SALT LAKE CITY — What do motorists on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley have in common with school children and wildlife in Utah?

All three will benefit from a recent land exchange.

Three Utah government agencies — the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) and the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) — recently finalized the three-way exchange. Here are some details:

  • UDOT is pursuing rights-of-way near 5600 West, between 1300 South and 2100 South, to extend the Mountain View Corridor in the future. The corridor will cross DWR property once known as the Remington Arms Property.

    The property is now part of the Lee Kay Public Shooting Range.

    The federal government deeded the property to the DWR in 1950 with a restriction that it be used only to benefit wildlife. However, in 1986, Congress passed a bill that allows the DWR to exchange some of the property. The DWR may exchange the property only for replacement lands that provide equal, or better, values for wildlife.

  • SITLA administers thousands of acres of lands in Utah that have significant values for wildlife. Many of these lands are next to or within wildlife management areas managed by the DWR. These lands don't have the resources needed to generate revenue to help fund critical public education needs, which is SITLA's principal mission. These SITLA lands made the exchange possible.

SITLA will exchange a portion of school trust land property located in prime wildlife management areas to the DWR for land UDOT needs for the Mountain View Corridor. SITLA will then sell the land it receives from the exchange to UDOT. The money SITLA receives will go directly into Utah's Permanent School Fund.

The land that the DWR is acquiring include critical wintering areas for big game animals; wetlands and marshes that are vital to several species of wildlife; and river and riparian habitats that are important to sportfish and birds.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says the transaction is a win-win-win for everyone. "It will raise money for school children, protect valuable wildlife habitat and give the public improved access to the west side of the Salt Lake Valley," Herbert says. "I commend these agencies for their collaboration and efforts to create a quality outcome for all stakeholders."

SITLA Director Kevin Carter says the money SITLA is receiving in exchange for transferring the lands will significantly benefit Utah's public school children. "This is the type of cooperation and coordination that the citizenry should expect from their government," Carter says.

DWR Director Greg Sheehan says Utah's wildlife, and those who enjoy hunting, fishing and watching wildlife, will benefit greatly from the exchange. "We are thrilled to provide these new lands to hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers," Sheehan says. "These lands are important now, and they will provide enormous benefits for wildlife and outdoor recreation for years to come. Conserving these properties makes Utah a better place to live."

"This collaboration will greatly benefit Utah motorists by providing an essential piece of land for future construction of the Mountain View Corridor (MVC)," says UDOT Executive Director John Njord. "This property will allow UDOT to extend MVC to I-80 in western Salt Lake County, creating a vital transportation solution for Utah's growing population."

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