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Conservationists concerned about sale of Utah’s only private island

Posted at 9:39 PM, May 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-10 12:24:07-04

FREMONT ISLAND - Utah's only privately-owned island now belongs to a unique group of owners, one of them a little more well known than the rest.

That's because Dave "Heavy D" Sparks is one of the minority owners.

"I just hope nobody jumps to conclusions on anything just because they see the name Diesel Brothers associated with it," said the group's attorney, Cole Cannon.

Diesel Brothers is a well-known show on the Discovery Channel. The show showcases specialized diesel trucks and recreational vehicles. However, its subject matter has some conservationists concerned they may take their vehicles to the island.

"What that island really needs is a good management plan to bring it back," said Lynn De Freitas, Executive Director of Friends of Great Salt Lake.

Freitas said she was disappointed to hear that the group had acquired the island.

However, Cannon insists the plans are not set in stone and that acquiring the land was simply a good opportunity.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!" Cannon said. "If I ask you what islands are for sale in Utah, you probably couldn't name one. This is the only one you can buy. They just didn't want to miss out on whatever the future of Fremont Island was."

Cannon said the next challenge is getting a Right of Entry Permit granted.

"How do you get bodies out to the island? Are you going to transport them by helicopter, marina, boat?"

The alternative could put commuter buses on the lake bed, which isn't currently allowed since the lake bed is sovereign land.

Cannon said the next step is getting zoning approval. That step is likely to take at least six months.