Park City open space—a sagebrush-filled haven for hikers, bikers, skiers, moose, eagles, and an array of other flora and fauna—sat on the brink of extinction in the late ’90s, as development inked its way across Summit County maps. As I-beams and asphalt threatened to blot out trails, views, habitat, and watersheds, an organization sprouted in the backhoe’s path. Spearheaded by a local leadership class and initially funded by sales of Park City Witness (a collection of essays and art about preserving open space), Summit Land Conservancy (SLC) pursued its land-saving mission by buying development rights, thus preventing suburban sprawl while nurturing recreation, habitat preservation, and the ranching way of life. Now an accredited land trust, the nonprofit (summitlandconservancy.org) celebrates 10 years, 2,400 acres protected in conservation easements, a successful $1 million capital campaign, and selfless stakeholders dedicated to preservation. SLC marks this milestone by returning to its roots with a new Witness publication due out in June. After all, as executive director Cheryl Fox says, “The land can’t speak for itself.” 

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