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Survey seeks public input on fate of Bridal Veil Falls

By Genelle Pugmire - | Sep 21, 2021

Daily Herald file photo

Diego Galvez and Gaje Robarge, both of Lehi, enjoy the cool water at Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon on June 29, 2015.

On April 13, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson and other state officials gathered for a ceremonial signing of a resolution encouraging the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation to evaluate either a state park or state monument designation for Bridal Veil Falls.

In a resolution, sponsored by Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, it refers to Bridal Veil Falls as “one of Utah’s most spectacular and beautiful natural waterfalls, conveniently located in Provo Canyon and easily accessible from both the Wasatch Front and the Heber Valley.”

Ask just about anyone who lives close to Provo Canyon, particularly in Utah County and they will have firsthand knowledge of the beauty of the falls, surrounding cliffs and year-round foliage and trees.

During that April signing, indications were the plan was to conduct a feasibility study and to prepare an operational plan for the Bridal Veil Falls area.

It appears that may have begun. Members of the Conserve Utah Valley group say they have noticed an uptick in the number of helicopters that are flying over the area, not related to search and rescue missions, however that has not been confirmed. When Utah County and the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation were contacted, representatives said they could not verify if there were more or fewer helicopters or surveys being done.

Connor Richards, Daily Herald file photo

Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, speaks during a press conference in Salt Lake City held for the ceremonial signing of a resolution to consider making Bridal Veil Falls a state park or monument on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

“One of the great envies of our nation is our state parks and the balance we’ve been able to find between caring for the state parks … and making them economically feasible,” Stratton said.

Stratton noted in the April signing that it is a significant commitment from the Legislature to “put our money where our mouth is” and that “we need to recognize as we seek to be wise stewards that there’s a wise and appropriate use of the resources.”

So what is going to be the best: a monument or state park, with or without a building? It is the public’s turn to weigh in through a survey now open for responses.

Currently, the survey is planned to be open for two weeks so it can be aggregated and findings analyzed before a steering committee meeting on Oct. 5. If an abundance of survey input is received, the time for receiving survey input could be extended.

To take the survey, visit https://bit.ly/3tUNJRb.

“The Utah County Commissioners were wise to listen to the majority of public input to protect Bridal Veil Falls with a conservation easement. Now, with a possible state monument status in the works, we really need public dialogue about what should and shouldn’t be there,” said Kaye Nelson, director of public dialogue for Conserve Utah Valley. “This survey that is available now to the public is everyone’s chance to weigh in, to help guide the discussion. We should all jump at that chance!”

Craig Christensen, executive director for Conserve Utah Valley, calls the falls a treasure.

“Bridal Veil Falls is one of the most visited attractions in Utah for a reason. It is the jewel in Provo Canyon and a breathtaking sight. Let’s not develop anything close to or around it,” Christensen said. “Its pristine beauty stands alone. It’s time for all of us as neighbors to stand up and be counted. We do not want Bridal Veil Falls ‘developed.’ We want it preserved. If citizens don’t speak up, development will take that right away.”

Susan Christensen, director for volunteer outreach for Conserve Utah Valley, said that residents need to engage and be active about saving the nature of the falls.

“We have to learn the issues around Bridal Veil Falls. Each of us has a responsibility to know what is going on. With so much natural beauty at stake, we can’t hope that someone else is taking care of it,” she said.

Bridal Veil Fall is the Utah Valley natural retreat regardless of socioeconomic status, according to Angela Mourik, director of public dialogue for Conserve Utah Valley. She calls the falls the “great leveler.”

In December 2020, the Utah County Commission unanimously approved a conservation easement for the county-owned property in an effort to prevent future private development.

Before the ceremonial bill signing, Cox noted that “sometimes, in the past, Utah has been criticized for not wanting to protect the land,” adding that “nothing could be further from the truth.”

“And this, with Bridal Veil Falls, is a perfect example of that,” the governor said. “We always hear that Utah only cares about development, and this is a case where in the face of development, the Legislature stepped up and said, ‘No, we don’t want to develop this area. We actually want to protect it.'”

Both the House and Senate unanimously approved the Bridal Veil Falls resolution earlier this year. Cox signed the resolution on March 11.

Over a dozen lawmakers co-sponsored the resolution, including Utah County Reps. Brady Brammer, R-Highland; Nelson Abbott, R-Orem; Val Peterson, R-Orem; Jefferson Burton, R-Spanish Fork; Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton; Cory Maloy, R-Lehi, Marsha Judkins, R-Provo; Adam Robertson, R-Provo; and Doug Welton, R-Payson.

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