VIRGIN – A 200-acre chunk of Cave Valley that borders Zion National Park has been sold to Lyman Family Farm Inc., a Utah company.
The parcel, located near Virgin and adjacent to Zion National Park, was sold to Lyman for $1.74 million at an auction in October, Deena Loyola, Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration spokeswoman, said. The minimum bid for the property was $860,000.
Lyman outbid Montana-based recreation group Under Canvas Adventurers for the Cave Valley parcel, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. Proceeds from the sale go to the $2 billion Permanent School Fund, which benefits Utah public schools.
Lyman Family Farm is a Utah domestic, for-profit corporation in good standing with a listed address of 10888 S. 300 West in South Jordan, according to the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code.
The company has spent $6.4 million in the past two years purchasing land with geologic, wildlife and archaeological values, the Tribune reported. It is unclear what the company plans to do with any of the parcels purchased from SITLA.
According to state incorporation records, Joseph Hunt is the registered agent for Lyman Family Farm. The corporation registered with the state in June 2014 and is categorized as a “vegetable and melon farming” company, according to the North American Industry Classification System.
Hunt, on behalf of Lyman Family Farms, has purchased 19 parcels totaling 5,214 acres from SITLA, according to the Center for Western Priorities, a group that opposes the transfer of public land to the states. Hunt is president of Utah-based Air Medical Resources Group, a for-profit company providing emergency medical flights.
The Cave Valley property is located approximately 10 miles northeast of the town of Virgin along the Kolob Terrace Road. It adjoins Zion National Park on the southeast corner; Bureau of Land Management property on the north, west and south sides; and private land on the east.
Nearby Lamb’s Knoll is a well-used hiking and canyoneering location. Provisions in the sale will allow for continued access across the 200-acre parcel to Lamb’s Knoll and the nearby erosion-sculpted slot canyons.
The Bureau of Land Management is planning to build a trailhead nearby, BLM St. George Field Office recreation planner Dave Kiel told St. George News in an earlier interview.
There are no water rights associated with the Cave Valley property, according to the SITLA auction website; the land is currently zoned open space conservation and agriculture with a 20-acre minimum lot size.
At the SITLA auction in October, Lyman Family Farm also purchased a 391-acre parcel at Comb Ridge – inside the proposed Bears Ears National Monument — for $500,000. Hunt outbid the Hole in the Rock Foundation which wanted the land for use by youth groups for tours of the area, which was used by Mormon pioneers in the winter of 1879-1880, the Deseret News reported.
Lyman purchased two more 780-acre parcels on Patmos Ridge in Uintah and Carbon counties, outbidding Hunt Oil which owns land surrounding the parcels.
SITLA documents state that the Cave Valley property has been reviewed and evaluated for marketing since 2000 and development was determined to be cost-prohibitive.
Hunt could not be reached for comment.
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