HYDE PARK – To paraphrase an old saying: The federal government giveth and the federal government taketh away.
The city of Hyde Park will be the beneficiary of one of those occasions, with the Bureau of Land Management ceding about 80 acres of land previously held by the federal government to city control.
Hyde Park Mayor Sharidean Flint says that the transfer of the property is expected to be finalized this summer.
“We’re just waiting for a couple of signatures to make everything official,” she explains.
That land is a rectangular parcel about a half-mile long by a quarter-mile wide just outside the city limits at the mouth of Hyde Park Canyon. It is an island of federal land completely surrounded by private property and was pretty much neglected by all concerned.
An Isolated Tract Planning Analysis way back in 1985 declared that the parcel was only good for unauthorized grazing, off-road vehicles and hunting. Based on that report, the U.S. Department of the Interior declared the land useless.
Thirty-two years later, the island parcel was still in federal hands when Hyde Park officials came up with a new vision for the land’s use.
Flint credits former city council member Mark Hurd with recognizing that the land could provide an additional water source for Hyde Park and access for hikers to the trails along the city’s bench.
“We plan to put a water line and a water tank up there to allow for growth along the city’s bench,” the mayor explained. “There’s also a public road through that land that leads to trails that might eventually connect to Logan’s Bonneville Shoreline Trail system.”
Hurd coordinated with U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop to introduce legislation to facilitate transfer of the useless land to Hyde Park in 2017. At that time, Bishop predicted that the measure would easily sail through the U.S. House and Senate.
But the government seldom gives without taking away.
The transfer of the parcel to Hyde Park was finally approved as part of the Conservation, Management and Recreation Act of 2019, an omnibus measure honoring the late U.S. Rep. John D. Dingell Jr. of Michigan. The bill designated more than 1.3 million acres of new wilderness areas, expanded several national parks and established four new national monuments.
Here in Utah, the federal government used the Dingell law to designate more than 650,000 acres of protected wilderness on one hand, but also to give 80 acres to Hyde Park on the other.