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Protection of Draper land moves proposed commuter-rail station

(Deseret News) Gov. Gary Herbert signed a conservation easement with an environmental group Tuesday evening to protect ecologically and archaeologically significant land in Draper near 13500 South and the Jordan River in perpetuity.

That means a proposed FrontRunner south commuter-rail station will not be built on the 252 aces on which there are artifacts from a 3,000-year-old Native American village and a nesting place for migratory birds around the Great Salt Lake.

The easement was signed following afternoon meetings of the governor and 2 dozen others from Native American and conservation communities, the Utah Transit Authority and other government agencies.

"We are forever stewards of this land in terms of promoting its conservation value," said Wendy Fisher, executive director of Utah Open Lands, which is the official steward.

Legislation was passed in 2000 to protect the land, but signing the easement was delayed after legislator-turned-lobbyist Greg Curtis approached the state, according to government records, on behalf of a client who wanted to swap land in the area.

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