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Cannonville residents hoping to make 400 acres near Kodachrome Basin State Park public

GARFIELD COUNTY, Utah — The legacy of Promise Rock is kept alive by Mayor Bill Scoffield and the people of Cannonville.

“Historically near Cannonville, it’s been a place where people proposed marriage, and if they didn’t accept the proposal, they were pushed off, they didn’t keep the promise,” he said. “So, who knows? But my own grandson went up there and set up a table and proposed to his fiancé on Promise Rock just because that’s what you do at Promise Rock.”

Kodachrome Basin Utah Cannonville

The rock sits on one of two parcels of land spanning 400 acres, owned by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA). Scoffield said the administration told him just last month told that they were now accepting proposals to develop that land.

“We got input from a lot of different people that said, ‘Oh yeah, grandpa did this’, and ‘This is what this land was used for,’ and ‘This is what that land was used for,’ all to make a case for, ‘We don’t want any development,’” said Scoffield. “We’d like to leave it the way it is.”

Scoffield proposed a couple of options to SITLA: let the town of Cannonville or Garfield County manage the land like a park, or consider expanding Kodachrome Basin State Park, which borders the land, to include the 400 acres.

“We put out an RFP, casting a wide net,” said Michelle McConkie, the director of SITLA. “We want to see what interest is out there. We haven’t determined exactly what we’ll be doing moving forward, but we’re testing the market, and we can be patient.”

McConkie says SITLA is required by state and federal law to make money off the lands they were given when Utah became a state.

“Trust lands are not public lands,” she said. “They’re often mixed in with other public lands, but they are actually for a specific purpose, and that is to make money for the school kids of the state.”

At this time, they haven’t accepted a proposal yet and don’t know what will go here, but she says they’ll have a better idea in a few weeks.

“The trust system deposited almost $400,000 last year just to Garfield County Public Schools, and this year it’ll be almost half a million, so if you think about the impact that’s above and beyond what is given by the legislature,” she said. “That’s not taxpayer money, that’s money that’s just generated off this land.”

Mayor Scoffield understands the administration has a job to do, but he said that won’t stop him from trying to protect this land.

“When it strikes home, it’s just tough,” he said.

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