SALT LAKE – The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands (FFSL) has completed the Fremont Island Property Management Plan (PMP) according to the terms and conditions outlined in the conservation easement held by The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
“Conserving Fremont Island as open space and allowing resources present to flourish contributes to the holistic protection of Great Salt Lake, where all water and land resources are tightly interwoven,’ said Marisa Weinberg, the interim Great Salt Lake Coordinator for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands and the author of the management plan. “Additionally, the Division can better manage Great Salt Lake sovereign lands surrounding Fremont Island when the island itself can be managed under similar Public Trust principles.”
In late 2020, an anonymous buyer with the Palladium Foundation purchased Fremont Island on behalf of TNC. TNC donated the land to FFSL to manage as a public resource. This donation marked the first time in 100 years that the island would be publicly accessible. As a part of the donation of the island, TNC holds a conservation easement that will guide FFSL in its land management efforts and prevent future development from taking place.
FFSL will manage Fremont Island primarily as public open space, consistent with TNC’s conservation easement, public trust values, and multiple-use sustained yield principles. The PMP defines management practices that focus on conserving and protecting the island’s ecosystem, water, geological, mineral, cultural, and community resources. In addition, the PMP identifies current and future partnership opportunities with state, federal, tribal and non-profit partners.
FFSL manages the state’s sovereign lands according to the Public Trust Doctrine. Under this doctrine, lands are managed for the public’s benefit, including navigation, public health, fish and wildlife habitat, public recreation, aquatic beauty and water quality.
Sovereign Lands are defined as those lands lying beneath bodies of water that were navigable at the time of statehood, including Great Salt Lake’s lakebed. While Fremont Island does not qualify as a sovereign land, it is now considered a parcel of state land that FFSL will manage with similar practices.
The management plan underwent an extensive review process, including input from state, federal, tribal, and non-profit shareholders. Their input helped shape the conservation-oriented management practices included in the plan.
The Fremont Island Property Management Plan is available on the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands website for public viewing.