Another big win for open space advocates is the recent purchase and protection of Midway's historic Mt. Spaa property. A collaborative community effort resulting in another open space acquisition will be celebrated at Preserve Midway's annual Volksmarch Festival and fundraiser on Saturday, September 17th, 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.
Working together with property owners and local land trusts, Preserve Midway helped to protect more than 150 acres over two years. Rather than impacting Midway's rural character with hundreds of new houses and more traffic, the historic Mt. Spaa property, Kem C. Gardner Midway Legacy Preserve and Albert Kohler Legacy Farm are now preserved by conservation easements. Another 100 acres in Midway are also well on the way to permanent open space protection.
After working for nearly two years with the Summit Land Conservancy, Preserve Midway, Mt. Spaa partners, and City and County representatives, the Chair of Midway's Open Space Committee, Courtland Nelson, reflects on the recent preservation of most of the Mt. Spaa.
“The property's viewshed protection, active agriculture use and the sage, wetland, wildlife habitat are outstanding representations of the purpose of open space protection in Midway.” He adds, “Combined with the Kohler agribusiness property, it is a wonderful entrance to Midway off River Road.”
In a creative model for open space preservation, Summit Land Conservancy, an accredited land trust, cobbled together a powerful partnership that successfully acquired the 78-acre Mountain Spaa property, removed over 60 units of housing density, and preserved the agricultural uses and view corridors from both Burgi Lane and River Road. The former spa area, owned by Ameyalli Resort developer Chuck Heath, will be redeveloped as a boutique resort. It received full master plan resort approval from Midway City in early August.
According to Summit Land Conservancy Director Cheryl Fox, “This has not been an easy project to explain or do. There are three separate conservation easements on the property as well as two deed restrictions.”
The public will have access to the spa and to trails crossing the property. Funding for this unique conservation effort came from conservation buyers, who purchased land subject to conservation easements, the new spa developer, private donations, and public open space money from both the Midway and Wasatch County open space bonds. “The Midway Open Space Committee are rock stars,” says Fox. In the end, the plan allows Midway to keep its Resort City Sales Tax while 48+ acres remain undeveloped into perpetuity.
The 2022 Volksmarch Festival is sponsored by Preserve Midway, a local non-profit organization, along with Midway's Historic Preservation Committee. Volksmarching is a European tradition promoting non-competitive walks for fitness. The American Volksmarch Association hosts many events with local chapters nationwide. Groups like Preserve Midway, create a walking route along a predetermined pathways of varying distances (usually 5K to 10K). After documenting their walk, people of all ages and abilities collect commemorative pins or walking stick medallions, called stocknagels. The unique medallions, which indicate cumulative miles walked, are proudly displayed on a Volksmarcher's favorite walking stick.
“Our community walk through Midway's pastoral open spaces and charming historic neighborhoods is the centerpiece of this year's fall festival,” says Lori Stone, Preserve Midway's president. “We are proud to raise awareness and funds for Midway's open space acquisitions and conservation.”
'Volks' of all ages begin and finish their 'volksmarch' at Midway's Town Center with ticket sales and Day-of, on-site registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. The Official Start is at 10:00 a.m. with alpenhorn send-off. Adorable farm animals and a stunning black Friesian horse will lead-out the Volksmarch. Other walkers can depart any time until 1:00 p.m.
Pre-register online: preservemidway.org. For a guided historical tour, visitors are encouraged to download the Utah Heritage Walks app: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/utah-heritage-walks/id913495313. The mobile app will complement your stroll with fascinating historical insights. Or choose the self-guided “Pathways to Preservation.” The route meanders past current conservation projects, like the 105-acre Albert Kohler Legacy Farm and Midway's historic Mt. Spaa.
Midway's Town Center will welcome walkers with live music from Cary Hobbs, Wendy and the Boys, Chris Jones, and a Swiss Miss performance. A bounce house, climbing wall, popular food trucks (Shaka Shake and Goochy Goo), opportunity drawing, and prize announcements every 15 minutes, await all participants. Utah Open Lands and Summit Land Conservancy will be on site to introduce the Mt. Spaa purchase and announce new open space efforts.
This is a rain, shine, or snow event. Please leave Fido at home and bike, walk, or carpool to the Midway Town Center. Parking is available at the LDS Church at 165 Center, Midway.
Lori Stone, Preserve Midway, President
Preserve Midway is dedicated to thoughtful growth and providing options to landowners to preserve the rural character, open space and heritage of Midway, Utah