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Preserving the land around Brigham Young University's"Y" Mountain has become a Congressional issue. The House of Representatives passed the bill on Monday. The famous ‘Y' has been a landmark since 1906, and there was concern about the future of the land around it, including the hiking trails under split ownership.
It's been a fond sight for tens of thousands of BYU graduates over the years, including four members Congress who are BYU graduates. Preserving the land around it, including the hiking trail, has become a priority for BYU alumni, Congressman Jason Chaffetz.
"This permit that had been out there needed to be renewed every so often, and there was concern that at some point, someone would say "No, let's not do that,' and then nobody would have access," said Chaffetz. "So this solved that problem."
It's a symbol. It's a symbol of what's below it. That it's BYU!
Chaffetz says his bill, which would allow BYU to buy the land it doesn't control from the U.S. Forest Service, passed with very little opposition. The public has also been very excited about the continued access to the "Y" for hiking.
"The ‘Y' is iconic," said BYU student, Tim Frost. "Every time my family come up here, from a distance you see the ‘Y.' I think it's a huge deal."
A purchase price for the land hasn't been determined, but the bill calls for proceeds to go toward reducing the deficit. Access to the "Y" will not change, and the public probably won't know any difference here. But local ownership, like the "Y" itself, will become an even bigger symbol of pride.
"It's a symbol," said native Megan Smith. "It's a symbol of what's below it. That it's BYU!"