Utah County blocks private development at Bridal Veil Falls

Water cascades down the upper falls of Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon, Utah, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. On Tuesday, the Provo Municipal Council voted on a resolution seeking to keep the falls area in its natural state and maintain the falls for public recreational use. (Isaac Hale/The Daily Herald via AP)

PROVO, Utah (AP) — Utah County has unanimously approved a measure that would block private development at the Bridal Veil Falls after protests and concerns from residents.

The Utah County Commission’s decision after a public hearing on Wednesday occurred a day after protesters gathered outside the Utah County Administration Building to oppose a proposed private development at the tourist attraction.

Reports had indicated last week that developer Richard Losee had requested to build a tram and drug treatment center at the waterfall attraction, The Daily Herald reported. Losee is the owner of Cirque Lodge, an addiction recovery center in Orem. The Utah County Commission had rejected a similar development proposal from Losee in 2018.

The county-approved conservation easement would limit the use of the falls in order to preserve its amenities. The measure is expected to be finalized by the Utah Open Lands Board of Directors next week.

The scenic views at the falls and its proximity to area parks and the Sundance Mountain Resort make it a popular landmark.

The Provo Municipal Council had approved a city resolution last week to help keep the falls public land.

The Utah County Commission also unanimously approved Wednesday an additional $500,000 to refurbish the Bridal Veil Falls.

Utah County purchased the falls from a private owner for $2.4 million in July 2015. Since then, county officials have discussed whether the area would be better operated by public officials or private owners.

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