Conserve Utah Valley aims to protect open spaces throughout Utah Valley

Conserve Utah Valley is an organization dedicated in preserving open spaces through Utah Valley, including Bridal Veil Falls. Bridal Veil Falls is a local gem that attracts many visitors throughout the year. (Kristine Kim)

Conserve Utah Valley is a recently organized non-profit organization that advocates for the conservation of open space and local areas throughout Utah Valley.

Conserve Utah Valley started as a group of BYU students and faculty whose main interests were protecting Bridal Veil Falls from potential development, but the group’s mission has now expanded beyond than that.

Bridal Veil Falls is a scenic waterfall recreation area in Provo Canyon that attracts thousands of local visitors per year. However, late last year, Utah developer and owner of Cirque Lodge treatment center Richard Losee wanted to build a drug rehabilitation center and a tramway that would go up and down the falls. If built, the tram would be open to the public for a fee.

“I wasn’t happy about it. I think that what makes Utah County beautiful is Bridal Veil Falls and having it up for development would be sad for many people who have been going there for many generations,” said BYU public relations student Andrea Vega.

As Conserve Utah Valley started to fight for protection of Bridal Veil Falls, it was able to get the attention of local activists, Utahns and the local government.

“We wrote hundreds of letters to the county commissioners and had other people do the same. We collected signatures, then presented those signatures, emails and letters to the county commissioners at a public forum where they voted on the initial conservation easement that protected Bridal Veil Falls,” said Conserve Utah Valley assistant executive director and BYU student Adam Johnson.

The group teamed up with local leaders and environmental activists, gaining traction and funding to be organized into a non-profit organization.

In a Jan. 22 press release, Conserve Utah Valley stated that through its efforts, it was able to push the Utah County Commission to “put Bridal Veil Falls into a conservation easement, permanently protecting the falls and the surrounding area from future development.”

Conserve Utah Valley advisory board member and BYU environmental law professor Brigham Daniels said the group is grateful for local and state leaders who helped protect Bridal Veil Falls. “It is vital that we protect it for all those who treasure it and for generations to come.”

Johnson said while their initial goal was to protect Bridal Veil Falls from further development, the organization now encompasses so much more. “We’re here to protect and sustain treasured canyons, foothills, open spaces and waters of Utah Valley.

The group has been working on multiple projects. Currently, Conserve Utah Valley is trying to put a few parcels of land under conservation easements. They also have been organizing garbage cleanups around Utah Valley.

“Over the last decade or so, some of the public lands have started being developed or threatened, and the natural beauty has been taken away. However, people are coming together and being able to confront this,” Johnson said.

Conserve Utah Valley currently has over 50 volunteers helping out on different environmental projects in Utah County. Volunteers are able to utilize their set of skills to help with different aspects of the projects the group is working on.

“If anyone wants to help out, we will find a place for them. We need as much help as we can get,” Johnson said.

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