GUIDELINES FOR TRIMMING AND SEEDING OF GRASSES ON SALT LAKE CITY OPEN SPACE LANDS ADJACENT TO YOUR HOME
Salt Lake City’s Public Lands Division manages over 6,000 acres of parks and open space areas, and much of this land is directly adjacent to residential neighborhoods and businesses. When a fire occurs in open space areas, it presents a risk to those living and working nearby.
Salt Lake City actively manages its public lands to reduce wildfire hazards in partnership with the community. Every year, the City mitigates fire hazards through projects which include native plant restoration and noxious weed control, and occasionally prescribed burning and grazing. The City has also taken great strides in educating citizens and groups like homeowners associations (HOAs) and neighborhood associations (NAs) on how they can take part in preparing and mitigating wildfire hazards that threaten them in their respective neighborhoods.
In an effort to help neighborhoods and residents take part in mitigation efforts, Salt Lake City allows the cutting of grasses around the outside boundaries of privately-owned parcels abutting City-owned parks and natural open spaces. Depending on the location of the property, grass cutting may extend from 5 to 30 feet into the City property. Within this zone, property owners also have the opportunity to seed with native grasses in the fall, using approved seed types.
Click here to learn if your home or property is adjacent to an eligible Salt Lake City Park or Natural Open Space Area.
HOAs, NAs, residents, and other private property owners may apply for permits. Salt Lake City’s Natural Lands Supervisor and Community Wildfire Prevention Specialist will provide professional expertise to guide groups and individuals in policy implementation.
Only the following activities are allowable:
- Weed trimming of grass understory, with plastic blades or plastic string, on city property under the jurisdiction of SLC’s Public Lands Division. Weed trimming of grass understory is allowed within 5 feet of property line in urban parks and natural areas, and within 30 feet of property line in foothill open space areas. Property owner must verify adjacent property ownership and secure a permit before conducting wildfire mitigation activity. See links below.
- Fall broadcast seeding of native plant seed mix. Approved native seed mix will be determined by the SLC Natural Lands Supervisor, and provided to property owners. A permit is required prior to conducting seeding on public land.
The following guidelines must be met to perform the allowed activities:
- A permit is required prior to performing allowable wildfire mitigation activities within Salt Lake City parks and natural open spaces.
- Prior to downloading the permit, the permittee must view a brief educational presentation.
- The video is available on the permit application website.
- The permit must be present on-site where the work is being done. Homeowners Associations and Neighborhood Associations are responsible for distributing permits to participating homeowners.
- The permit contains non-emergency and emergency contact information regarding the mitigation project.
- Grasses shall not be cut less than 4″ in height on flat terrain and 6″ in height on sloped terrain, in order to maintain the integrity and stability of soil in treated areas.
- Cut or trimmed organic materials must be bagged and removed from the site to reduce the spread of non-native invasive grasses, and to reduce wildfire risk.
Prohibitions and Restrictions:
- The use of metal blades, chains, and similar metallic implements is specifically prohibited.
- Due to the risk of starting a fire in dry vegetation, grass cutting activities are not allowed between July 1 and September 30 of each year.
- All internal combustion engines used for fire mitigation activities must have a spark arrestor.
- The removal of shrubs, brush, and trees is prohibited.
- Denuding the ground (removal of grasses down to bare earth) is prohibited.
- Herbicide applications are prohibited.
- Use of fire is prohibited.
- Planting of non-native vegetation is prohibited.
IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT YOUR MITIGATION WORK DOES NOT START A FIRE – The following best practices are strongly advised!
- Have a fire extinguisher on hand, as well as a garden hose, and working cellphone in case a fire is started.
- Do not lay hot equipment in dry grass where it may ignite flammable grasses.
- Refuel tools away from any vegetation, on paved surfaces. Store gasoline away from work area.
- Avoid running equipment when hikers or wildlife are present. Discontinue work until they are clear from the area.
- Inform neighbors that you will be completing this mitigation activity.
Surveys will be conducted by the Salt Lake City Public Lands Division and the Salt Lake City Fire Department following mitigation actions to confirm adherence to permit requirements. These surveys will also serve to gauge the success of this resident-led mitigation strategy.
Questions about this policy should be directed to Salt Lake City’s Natural Lands Supervisor at (801) 972-7800 or Salt Lake City’s Emergency Management Coordinator at (801) 232-7130.