Our View: Public parks, private homes

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 2:22 PM

Editorial Board

There is justifiable concern over a private home being built within the area of Zion National Park. In Kolob Canyon there remains about 3,000 acres of private land. An owner has chosen to build a home there. That is, of course, the owner’s right. Nevertheless, these areas are meant to retain a pristine beauty, and the inclusion of a home, no matter what its quality, erodes the natural beauty of the park.

It’s not uncommon to have isolated pockets of private land within the confines of public park lands. One solution toward preventing more private structures invading wilderness lands is to have agreements by recreational developers — whether ski resorts or biking and hiking efforts — to purchase these isolated pockets of private land located within nearby public lands and parks. Such agreements could be written into the deals.

Unfortunately, that option doesn’t appear likely for Zion National Park. Officials are hoping that Congress will allocate money for the park to buy the private land, but with the bad economy that’s probably a tough sale.

With 3,000 acres of potential land for homes, the prospect of thousands of structures intruding into the park’s terrain is a possibility. One concern that park supporters have expressed is that the presence of large windows in homes will affect the stargazing at the park. Considered a "dark park," Zion National Park is a favored location for stargazers.

There needs to be an effort to buy the pockets of private land within the parks. The best solution to achieving these prevention measures is through the private sector.

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