Take Action: Write a letter to your state representatives (sample linked below)
- What is the LeRay McAllister Critical Land Conservation?
- The LeRay McAllister Critical Land Conservation Program was created in 1999 to provide grants to conserve or restore Utah’s agricultural lands, wildlife habitats, watersheds, recreational lands, and lands with cultural and historical significance.
- What has the Fund been used for?
- Since its inception, the Quality Growth Commission, which administers the fund, has approved more than 100 projects and helped fund the conservation of 95,000 acres of land in the state.
- To date, the fund has spent $25 million, money that has drawn matching donations from federal and state agencies and from private donors exceeding $210 million.
- The Fund respects private property and uses a free-market approach to land conservation, working with willing landowners without the use or threat of eminent of domain.
- Projects have included the Logan River Trail, the Kohler Dairy in Midway, the Cottonwoods Heights section of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, and Simon Gulch in Zion National Park.
- What has the Fund impacted recently in Utah Valley?
- In 2020, the McAllister Fund contributed $300,000 to help conserve the 40-acre Robin’s Ranch in Northwest Provo.
- In 2021, the Quality Growth Commission is considering applications for four additional farms on Provo’s west side, 80 acres of agricultural and critical open space between the Provo River, Utah Lake State Park, and the new Provo River Delta Restoration Project. It may also consider an application from Crandall Orchards in Orem, to protect it from encroaching development and maintain a local source of fruit.
- How is it Funded?
- Funding has been inconsistent, year to year. In 2018, the Utah legislature let the program go unfunded.
- Over the last 20 years, funding has averaged about $800,000 annually.
CUV would like to see the McAllister Fund consistently and generously funded, year to year, so that we can beset leverage matching funds from other agencies and private donors, to protect more farms, open spaces, rivers, canyons, the lake, and other priorities before they are lost forever. Utah has little arable farmland relative to other states, and we are losing acreage at an alarming rate due to the state’s rapid economic growth. We agree with the Quality Growth Commission’s priorities to protect farms to defend Utah’s food security so we do not have to rely on other states, primarily California, for our next meal.
Who You Should Write: It’s important to write to as many reps and senators as you can. While several items are local, all reps and senators will be voting on bills so they need to hear from many people. Start with your representatives and then expand to others who cover Utah County districts.
It is easy to find the emails of each House Rep and Senator.
- Find your Utah House Representatives by going to https://house.utah.gov/house-members/ and look for your county. Click on the representative’s name for contact info.
- Find your Utah State Senators by going to https://senate.utah.gov/senate-roster/ and click “View Table” to see county designations. Click on senator’s name for contact info.
What You Include in Your Letter: We created a template to make this as easy as possible. Feel free to make it your own:
Click here for the LeRay McAllister Fund Sample Letter
Thank you so much for your participation and help! This is a big “ask” but it’s why we formed this group – to have a network of like minded people guiding conversations. This is one of those moments in time we can make a difference!