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Daggett County Reaches Landmark Conservation Deal

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grandcanyontrust.org
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Daggett County is the first county to reach consensus with conservation groups and Utah's government.

In a press conference on Thursday, Utah government officials and conservation groups announced a new agreement concerning public lands in Daggett County. The deal will protect more than 110,000 new acres around the Green River. According to Tim Peterson of the Grand Canyon Trust, in drafting the agreement, wildlife advocates and local government officials worked out a deal that took into account a host of possible economic and political roadblocks.

“We started meeting with the county commissioners down in Daggett. We spent a pretty significant amount of time out on the ground looking at the areas personally, finding out where the proposal boundaries were, where the potential resource and use conflicts were, and then going out with various different stakeholders with folks from the Governor’s Office and from the delegation,” he said. “Daggett County put forward a pretty comprehensive proposal of what they wanted from the deal and we had a proposal of what we wanted and we eventually met in the middle.”

Such an agreement involving all levels of government and private conservation groups is rare. In a statement, the Grand Canyon Trust says that only a handful of similar agreements have been made since 1978. The success of these efforts requires understanding between all involved parties, Peterson said.

“It really takes the stars aligning in a very special way where both the county commissioners and the conservation community are really willing to give and take,” he said. “[Where both] engage and build relationships and build trust and really work towards finding a mutually agreeable solution.”

The stars could align once again with tentative deals in the works for several other Utah counties, Peterson said.