A privately owned 30-acre tract in the shadow of Tabernacle Dome inside Zion National Park has been acquired by two non-profit organizations that intend to donate it to the park.
The acreage was acquired by the National Parks Conservation Association and the Trust For Public Land, which were aided by an anonymous $825,000 donation for the purchase.
The acquisition is a bright spot in the ongoing effort to see that such inholdings within national parks aren't developed. According to NPCA officials, hundreds more inholdings remain in national parks, many of which have been turned into large trophy homes. In fact, an inholding two miles north of the Tabernacle Dome property is now the site of a large mansion that was recently constructed.
“There are lots of places to build large homes with great views, but national parks like Zion aren’t one of them,” said Will Rogers, president of the Trust. “These parks are for all of us. And now, thanks to a generous donation from a private individual, the view of Tabernacle Dome will remain forever unspoiled.”
NPCA staff knew about the inholding from their work in preserving and protecting Zion National Park and informed the donor about the urgency to protect this specific property from development.
“National parks like Zion were established to protect the unique natural beauty of those places and to prevent development from scarring their pristine nature,” said NPCA Program Manager Cory MacNulty. “The purchase of private pieces of property like the Tabernacle Dome location should be handled through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. But for decades Congress has raided this fund that was supposed to be set aside to protect our national parks and other protected areas from encroachment and improper adjacent development.
“We are fortunate that a private donor was able to protect this historic piece of land, but with hundreds of more inholdings still at risk due to the lack of funding, Congress needs to step up to the plate and fulfill its duty to protect and preserve our national parks for future generations,” she said.
The National Park Trust is supporting and assisting in acquiring inholdings in National Parks across the country and provided financial support to The Trust for Public Land to protect this property.