Forest Service looking for partners for Great Basin experiment station

EPHRAIM—The Manti-La Sal National Forest is looking for “visionary ideas” to take advantage of the Great Basin Station, according to Sanpete District Ranger Johnny Collin.

The building, which sits at 8,900 feet on the Ephraim Canyon Road, was originally used as a Forest Service research facility.

Most recently, the historic buildings have been used by Snow College as an outdoor living/learning center for educational courses, workshops, programs and other activities.

However, the unique partnership between Snow College and the Forest Service is coming to a close, Collin said.

And the Forest Service will be entertaining “any and all ideas” for putting the Great Basin Station to good use.

The buildings could be used a business retreat or leased out to other groups, he said. “We are just starting the process to solicit ideas for a vision for the place,” he said.

He mentioned the buildings are not accessible in winter and the pipes are not suitable for winter use, either. However, there is running water and electricity at the place.

Collin emphasized the Forest Service is not accepting formal bids at this time; as that will happen later in the summer based upon more detailed criteria.

In a news release, the Forest Service stated they are looking for applications from groups or individuals who could provide a valuable recreational service and at the same time, simultaneously manage the historic facilities at the Great Station Basin.

“The Great Basin Station is a historically important facility for the Manti-La Sal National Forest and the local communities,” said Darren Olsen, acting Manti-La Sal Forest Supervisor. “We look forward to finding a partner who can utilize and maintain it for future generations to enjoy.”

The Great Basin Station is the site of the longest continuous range research in the world. Research is now done in modern labs; but rather than leaving these historic building empty and deteriorating, the Forest Service, Snow College, Ephraim City, and the State of Utah worked to restore the building to provide housing and classrooms for students and teachers exploring natural resources and the environment.

The Manti-La Sal is now exploring possible partnership agreements, permits or leases that could provide expanded services and engage new and repeat visitors to the facilities and area.

The Great Basin Station is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and has received the Utah Heritage Award for historic preservation.

Improved and expanded visitor services would need to be consistent with the Manti-La Sal Forest Plan and the National Historic Preservation Act. The Forest Service will consider proposals for year-round and seasonal use.

“Snow College and the Manti-La Sal National Forest were able to partner together and bring the Great Basin Station back to a state where it could be used by many diverse groups,” said Collin. “While that partnership was unable to continue, we hope to find another equally great partner through this outreach process.”

A copy of the Request for Expressed Interest which outlines the proposed opportunity, key dates, evaluation criteria, expectations for performance, and information on how to apply can be found at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mantilasal/landmanagement/?cid=FSEPRD894589.

For more information, please contact Sanpete District Ranger, Johnny Collin at 636-3302 or Johnny.Collin@USDA.GOV.