As local and state budgets tighten, officials look for ways to refill the coffers. One way to do this is to replace low return land uses with higher yield options, like this shift in focus in a rural Utah county. And though the focus here is on glamping, if the idea works, could it mean replacing grazing lands with regular campgrounds and adding much-needed campsites for RV travelers?
Rural leaders in Utah who often chafe at how federal officials manage public lands are now also growing frustrated with state authorities who are increasingly canceling grazing permits in favor of more profitable land uses, reported KSL.
In one case, Garfield County passed an ordinance that would temporarily block a planned $200 million tent resort for high-end glamour camping, or “glamping,” on former grazing land, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The development would sit a few miles from Lake Powell and could bring in thousands of new jobs, as well as $26 million into the school lands trust, according to Kim Christy, deputy director at the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.
The land previously brought in $140 a year from a grazing lease.
But for county leaders, the cancellation of that lease is part of a trend that threatens their way of life.
Garfield County Commissioner Leland Pollock said just 3.5% of the land in the county is privately owned, so ranchers are dependent on grazing leases to feed their animals.