Impacts: Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning
Quick Guide to Extension Impacts: LAEP
The USU Extension Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning (LAEP) program is truly unique and has significantly contributed to strengthening Utah’s communities for more than four decades. I am not aware of another program in the country that has the depth, range and longevity our program has. Through the capable efforts of our faculty members and students, projects address real issues of actual clients, and they produce tangible results for communities, counties, agencies and user groups. These projects provide an important outreach service and also an excellent training experience for our students. David Evans, David Anderson and I all currently have Extension Landscape Architecture assignments and are commonly known as “The Three Daves.” In this issue of Impacts, we’ve provided highlights of how USU Extension LAEP programs are impacting communities and agencies around the state.
– David Bell, Associate Professor/Extension
Several years ago, members of the mountain biking community began discussions about the future of Lions Park in Moab where major hiking/biking trails intersected. The group grew into a large committee with varied interests, and LAEP Extension was invited by project leaders to create a plan used in applying for grants, project promotion and the public approval process for the 5-acre parcel of land.
USU Extension assisted with programming and analysis, gathered data from stakeholders and agencies and developed a set of design concepts for the project. These concepts were presented to the group, input was gathered and a consensus was reached on a design to move the project forward.
The plan provided by LAEP Extension was used by the National Park Service to secure over $100,000 in funding that was used to hire Psomas, an architectural firm, to produce final plans.
Miles of paved and unpaved trails have been built, including a $9 million paved trail along the river that was completed in 2014. It serves over 1 million visitors annually, and is still a gathering place for Moab City and a home for the Lions Club. Lions Park is now designated by the National Park Service as a transit hub for shuttle services into Arches National Park.
The Community Design Studio is an important part of Extension Landscape Architecture. The CDS was created through an Extension grant to provide planning and design support to communities throughout Utah and to create a key service-learning experience for LAEP students. Much like a professional office, the students prepare a scope of services and a schedule and cost recovery fee proposal for CDS clients that adds a sense of obligation and seriousness to the work. Project designs and graphic images provide communication and fundraising tools that can lead to private consulting and the next phase of project development. In the 2015-16 academic year, over 50 students signed up to work on a CDS team. The cost recovery fees collected help to fund the student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
In the fall of 2014, 21 student volunteers prepared Coyote Willow cuttings from the banks of the Logan River, then installed the cuttings in a three-quarter mile stretch of the Big Sandy River in Eden Valley, Wyoming. This work was the first phase of a habitat restoration plan prepared by JUB Engineers from Kaysville, Utah, who brought the project to the attention of the LAEP Department. The project provided a unique opportunity for LAEP students to make a link between habitat restoration planning and the actual field work required to complete the plan.
LAEP Extension provides hands-on learning opportunities where students work on real-life design problems in communities, supervised by faculty members and professionals. Students visit the site for a week and use their skills and knowledge to come up with creative solutions to the design challenges. The yearly program was established in 2003.
The 2014 Ogden Valley Charrette provided students with experience resolving growth and development issues. Ogden Valley is home to three ski resorts, three small communities, a reservoir and a monastery. Thirteen faculty members and 10 professional consultants advised 120 students divided into 15 teams to study 12 major issues in the 50,000 acre area.
After the 9-11 terrorist attack, USU was approached by Utah Unites in Hope, a nonprofit group, about developing a memorial to honor three victims of the attack – two from Kaysville and another who was a USU graduate. The USU Botanical Center in Kaysville was offered as the memorial location. With much effort from Utah Unites in Hope, USU Extension, the USU Botanical Center and AJC Architects, the memorial was completed in 2013 and serves as a community gathering place to honor the local victims. Approximately 5,000 visitors come to the site annually. The memorial also features the names of 129 U.S. servicemen and women from Utah who have died since the attacks in the ongoing war on terrorism.