PROVO, Utah – – An idea that would have brought a rehab treatment facility to Bridal Veil Falls officially gets the ax, as the Utah County Commission unanimously voted to put the area under a conservation easement. The decision was made after several hours of public discussion.
The proposal from the owner of the Cirque Lodge Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery Center would have put a new facility in an area near the falls, along with a tram to take people to it. If approved, the public would be able to use the tram to get to that portion of the falls, but only between the spring and summer months.
The developers reportedly spoke with Commissioner Bill Lee about their idea, and Lee tells KSL he was willing to hear the proposal. However, he says that doesn’t mean he was leaning toward selling the land. He says he always wanted to ensure the public would have constant access to it, and he refutes any claim that that land was being sold.
“That seems to be a narrative that was pushed around over and over that Bridal Veil Falls is for sale. The whole time that I’ve been here as a commissioner that has never come before us,” he says.
Lee also says other development plans have come before the commission, and he voted against those. Commissioner Nathan Ivie thanked Lee for saying the land was not for sale, but he believes future commissioners might not share that sentiment.
Ivie says, “There will always be individuals who would like to purchase something, and history has taught us, through sad recourse, that there are individuals willing to sell what is most cherished to us if they feel it benefits them.”
Some county residents came to speak against the easement. They say private development has potential benefits, and they don’t believe shutting the door on future construction would be beneficial.
One man says, “Saying ‘no, forever’ right now is a really bad idea.”
However, the majority of comments were in support of the easement. They say the county has had to “save” Bridal Veil Falls from previous projects, and the easement would mean they never have to worry about development in the future.
“It’s one of those special places that I don’t want to have public access to between Memorial Day and Labor Day, for a fee,” one woman told the commission.
Some participants had harsh words for Lee, accusing him of closed-door meetings with the developers.
“Bridal Veil Falls is one that has been on your docket for four years, and you’ve done nothing,” one man says.
The commission also voted to provide $500,000 worth of improvements to the area.