OGDEN -- Acquiring the 50-acre parcel known as the Gaskill property has been on the agenda of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources since it was approached by the owners.
The prospects of DWR obtaining the property is more likely, now that Weber County has given its approval.
The division's Northern Regional supervisor, Justin Dolling, spoke before the Weber County Commission on Tuesday, seeking support of the acquisition of the Gaskill property. The commissioners voted unanimously to support the proposal.
"I think once we've got the county's support, the RDCC's (Resource Development Coordinating Committee's) and the governor's support, which we still need, we should be able to get it through. We're working on a 90-day closing format," Dolling said.
The Gaskill property is slightly east of 4785 S. 7500 West in Hooper, adjacent to the Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area. It contains land that serves as a valuable habitat for ducks, geese and other birds in the area. The land has some emergent wetland, which contains plants that typically stay the same throughout the varied weather seasons of Utah.
"It's a nice wetland complex. About 18 acres of it is emergent wetland. It has really nice uplands that join into the wetlands, become seasonally flooded and provide a lot of migratory value to the birds," Dolling said.
The property was first offered for sale by the Gaskill family to Ducks Unlimited, a habitat protection organization, but the negotiations did not work out. The Gaskill family then approached the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and offered to sell it the property at the same price, which the division accepted.
"It's a property that's been adjacent to one of our wildlife areas. They acquired it with the understanding that they were going to maintain it," Dolling said of the Gaskills.
The DWR does not technically need the approval of the Weber County Commission to purchase the land, but obtaining its approval will expedite the process and remove concerns about the property being taken off the tax roll, because the DWR will still pay a sum in lieu of taxes.