ENVIRONMENT

$300,000 cleanup getting property back to raising money for public schools

May 9, 2023, 4:00 PM

Burned trees piled on the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration land pictured...

A pile of burnt trees on the former Boy Scouts shotgun range is pictured in Beaver County, Utah. (Photo credit: The School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration)

(Photo credit: The School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration)

BEAVER COUNTY, Utah —  The managers of the site of a former Boy Scout camp in Beaver County are going to have to pay $300,000 to clean up after decades worth of bullets and shotgun pellets. The land, used to raise money for Utah’s public schools, won’t be put back on the market until the cleanup is done.

The School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, SITLA, manages the land and uses the 600-acre property to raise money for the state’s public school system.

Th 600-acre Beaver County property is one of the 3.3 million acres SITLA uses to make money, SITLA Managing Director Chris Fausett said. Though it raises funds for things other than schools, Fausett said 96% of the money made from the lands goes directly to Utah’s school system.

Where did the bullets come from?

The Boy Scouts had been leasing the land near Eagle Point Resort since the 1960s but had to step out of the lease in 2021.

SITLA Managing Director Chris Fausett said bullets from a shotgun range are the main culprit causing the cleanup — though shotgun pellets also need to be removed.

“There’s been, you know, 50, 60 years worth of shooting. And so that shot impacted a lot of trees in the area and kind of got lodged in those trees as they’ve grown up.”

Getting a proper cleanup

According to Fausett, SITLA burned a good chunk of the trees affected by the bullets. Now, the ashes of those trees and the soil below need to be cleared of any remaining bullets and pellets.

SITLA contracted a specialized company from South Dakota to come in to clean the soil. That company can begin work once the snow melts in the area.

Despite the $300,000 price tag on the cleanup, Fausett said contracting the South Dakota company will be cheaper than trying to clean the property themselves. An in-house cleanup would have cost SITLA an estimated $1 million.

Rather than hauling the soil away for cleaning, Fausett said the company they’ve contracted specializes in this type of cleanup.

“They’ve developed some specialized equipment that can sift the lead out of the soil and consolidate it. And then they can treat the remaining soil to remove the lead.”

SITLA hopes to finish the cleanup this summer so that it can get the property back on the market and back to earning money for Utah’s public schools. 

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$300,000 cleanup getting property back to raising money for public schools