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First Preserve


Founder's Blog – 12 September 2022

Western Lands Preservation (WLP) bought 30 acres of land up Soldier Canyon in Tooele, Utah - our very first property!

The deal closed about three weeks ago, on August, 24th.  I've been busy lately with high school starting; I hope you forgive the belated announcement.

Okay, a description.  It's not road accessible - it's about a two-mile hike along a creek bed into the canyon.  It's national-park-level beauty up there, with rushing streams and bubbling creeks, groves of aspens and foresty pines.  The trees aren't all carved with initials, and the only trails are animal trails, except for the one that starts where the road ends, but it tapers out.  Just beautiful.

First is a picture from the property looking down the canyon.  See that burned area (click photo to enlarge) in the distance?  It's the same place I talked about in my last blog post (Thoughts on Fire).  Little cameo there.

WLP could have bought land in central Wyoming for cheaper, but it would have been flat sagebrush-less dirt plots next to oil derricks or windmills, and I don't think that would be worth it.  This first purchase almost broke the bank, but I'd say it's worth it for some beautiful land that's worth preserving.

How'd we get the funds to purchase it?  Well we first applied all our saved income for two years from sponsors, members, and some product sales.  For the balance we couldn't get a bank loan because our monthly revenue was too low for them to consider us worthy.  So we decided to allow our members and sponsors to lend it to us.  Why should a bank get our interest payments when our members could benefit from them?  A neat idea, and I might make it a standard procedure in the future - allowing members to participate in our purchases before we reach out to third parties.

Oh dear, I've been sidetracked!  The Preserve itself (that's what we're calling it now) is about 500 feet by a half a mile in size.  The same creek bed runs through the center of it, but water only runs for spring runoff and fresh rainwater.  This creek bed is more like a ravine, with 30-foot tall walls on the left and right that lead up to a steeply sloped hill face on each side; there's no flat land on the Preserve.  On the sunny side, the north face, it's a green carpet of low bushes with two groves of aspens passing through.  And the south side is a veritable forest filled with pines and aspens with a top soil that looks like the mulch you buy at Home Depot.

It's hard to describe how beautiful it is and how proud I am that it's now WLP's first preserve.  This has been the culmination of near two years of preparation, and it's also the very beginning of a much grander dream.  It's a great step forward.  I hope to see it go far.

I don't think WLP can let people onto the Preserve willy-nilly.  There's legal/insurance stuff that needs to be done.  But if a member or sponsor were to reach out to me specifically, I might invite them to accompany us on a surveying trip...

At this stage, WLP is not going to do anything with the Preserve besides keep it as it is and take pictures to use for marketing and some product ideas we have.  I don't think anything needs to be done to it such as planting trees or fencing off cattle (there are cattle there, but they aren't around often and aren't hurting anything).  However I am thinking of putting a redwood picnic table on a nice spot there, but I don't know: it would be quite a job to lug a table all the way to it.

Steven moving branch in front of aspen trees.

And that's what we've purchased.  Those are our first acres of land we're going to preserve.  Exciting!  For a couple more weeks you might still see a few mentions on the WLP website that don't acknowledge this first land purchase.  Please accept my apologies as I just need more time in between school and college applications to rewrite those website parts.  I just wanted to let you all know as soon as possible that we have purchased a property.

Preserve Page    or     View Pictures

– Steven Whitney

Thoughts on Fire
7 August 2022
18 February 2023