In the fall of 2008 the Office of Regional Services was given oversight authority of SUU's Mountain Ranch. The 2,383-acre ranch is located 12 miles east of the main campus, up Cedar Canyon.
(The SUU Mountain Center is not part of this assignment. The Mountain Center is managed by the SUU Office of Event Services, while the Mountain Ranch assignment encompasses the land and natural resources of the ranch.)
The Mountain Ranch Web page is organized in the following manner and these links will take you to the corresponding section:
The first task in late 2008 was to appoint a Mountain Ranch Resource Advisory Council (RAC), which is charged with creating and then implementing a Mountain Ranch Resource Management Plan (RMP).
RAC members currently include:
Brian Cottam provides planning coordination and staff support for the RAC as well as oversees on-the-ground management activities at the Ranch.
The RAC met multiple times throughout the 2008/09 academic year organizing the RAC, preparing and agreeing upon a process for creating the RMP, and inventorying existing uses of the Mountain Ranch. A detailed list of Mountain Ranch Desired Conditions was also created. This important desired conditions document guides the planning and land management decisions of the RAC.
The RAC, along with other invited planning participants, resource specialists and students, spent much of the 2009/10 academic year crafting the first two resource-specific components of the overall Mountain Ranch RMP. With guidance and facilitation by Patrick Moore, Southwest Area Forester at the time, and his staff at the Utah Division of Forestry, the property's first-ever Forest Stewardship Plan has been completed. (While this is the "abridged" SUU Mtn Ranch Forest Stewardship Plan, the full-length plan can be obtained by contacting Brian Cottam at SUU or the Utah Division of Forestry.)
A Mtn Ranch Recreation Development Plan, facilitated by Professor Briget Eastep with assistance from students in her Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism Program, was developed during the 2009/10 academic year and a final plan drafted in September 2010. Recreation projects and policies have been prioritized in this plan, and on-the-ground projects will be implemented in the coming years as resources allow. A complementary Mountain Ranch Interpretive Plan was developed throughout the summer and fall of 2011, and provides interpretation, signage and other public outreach goals and objectives.
The RAC also initiated a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) planning process under the direction of the UT Division of Forestry and in cooperation with adjacent property owners. The “Woods Ranch/SUU Mountain Center CWPP” was completed in late 2010, and this plan has been instrumental in guiding fuels reduction work at the Ranch and securing funding to do so. Copies of the CWPP can be obtained from the Divison of Forestry.
Future RMP sections may include Range & Grazing, Research & Academic Use, an administrative section (e.g., policies, risk management, access & use request forms, etc.), and other resource-specific sections as determined by the RAC.
The University is excited to announce the latest milestone for the Mtn Ranch. At a grand event held at the Mountain Center on August 31, 2010, SUU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the UT Division of Forestry creating the state's first Demonstration Forest. This is an exciting achievement and partnership for both the Division and University, and this article details the day's festivities. The RAC is looking forward to working closely with the Division of Forestry in the coming years to meet the objectives of the MOU.
The Mountain Ranch Resource Advisory Council has developed a protocol for requesting access to and use of the Mountain Ranch for research, education and recreation activities. For more information, please link to the appropriate application form--Research and Education or Recreation--and instructions below as well as the required “Release, Assumption of Risk and Waiver Form:"
The History of the Southern Utah University Farms and Mountain Ranch (Southern Utah University Publications, April 1995) can be found in the Gerald R. Sherratt Library special collections.
For more information about the Mountain Ranch, RAC or RMP and associated planning, please contact Brian Cottam at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 435-865-8023.