About 71% of Utah is public lands, but only 4% of that is protected as wilderness.

The Wilderness Land Trust is working to protect 713 acres of high conservation value private land surrounded by the Cougar Canyon and Slaughter Creek Wilderness areas in southwest Utah.

After acquisition, the land will be donated to public ownership to become designated wilderness. With your support, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, we can make this gift to future generations, efficiently expanding the wilderness without an act of Congress, bypassing a sometimes decades-long process. Together we can protect this important habitat, ensuring connectivity for migration corridors and resilience in a changing climate.

The Cougar Canyon property is accessed by a four-wheel drive county road that forms the boundary between the Cougar Canyon and Slaughter Creek Wilderness, making it vulnerable to residential and commercial development. Washington County, which includes both St. George and the Cougar Canyon project area, is the fastest- growing metro area in the US, with the population growing by 30% in the past decade. 

As tourism and housing markets boom throughout the region, development on private lands adjoining wilderness is one of the biggest threats facing our wild places.

Cougar Canyon is only 50 miles from the crowds of Zion National Park. As permits and lotteries are being implemented to protect Zion’s resources, more and more visitors are being pushed onto nearby public lands with less historic use. This ripple effect is displacing wildlife from habitat across the region. The Cougar Canyon project area, which does not include developed recreation infrastructure, is a refuge for wildlife and natural resources.

Ecological importance

Located on the southwest edge of the Colorado Plateau, the Cougar Canyon project area includes higher elevation, varying terrain and several important water sources. In the hot, arid landscape of southern Utah, this makes it crucial climate-resilient habitat.

The Cougar Canyon property is a top priority for protection, scoring high for climate resilience, connectivity, and landscape diversity.

Join Us

$1.1 M Fundraising Goal

Your generous contribution will bring us one step closer to reaching our fundraising goal to purchase and transfer the properties to public ownership.

Join us in protecting 713 acres of new Utah wilderness, ensuring wildlife has room to roam, critical resources are preserved, connectivity between public lands is expanded, and public access is ensured for future generations.

Project Partners

Thank you to our partners for making this project possible!