MPNHA work plan includes spectrum of projects

The historic Spring City Firehouse will be renovated thanks in part to MPNHA contributions.


MPNHA work plan includes

spectrum of projects


By Robert Stevens

Managing editor


More than a dozen new projects meant to improve the central Utah community or preserve pioneer history are moving forward, thanks to funding help from the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area (MPNHA).

The MPNHA, with headquarters at the Mt. Pleasant City Hall, is one of about 70 national heritage areas funded by the federal government with goals of preserving and interpreting history, economic development, trails development and community planning.

The MPNHA provides seed money from its federal funding for community projects, often enabling them to qualify for more funding and see projects through to the end.

MPNHA Director Monte Bona, says the heritage area has been hard at work on 13 projects for the funding period from Oct. 1, 2019 to June 9, 2020.

Monroe Hot Springs Park Project

One of the most ambitious projects on the MPNHA list for this year is the Monroe Hot Springs Park Project, which aims to not only interpret Native American heritage but also establish a park to drive local tourism.

Located near Monroe, Sevier County, the springs were a sacred gathering place for Native Americans in times before white settlers moved in. Many writings and etchings can be seen on the surrounding canyon walls.

Previously, road access to the springs was improved, and now a partnership between the MPNHA, Monroe City, Sevier County and the Governor’s Office for Outdoor Recreation seeks to develop a park with amenities for visitors and protections for the “mystic waters.”

The total estimated project cost will be just over $200,000, with $25,000 coming from the MPNHA.

Historic Spring City Firehouse Project

The historic firehouse in Spring City is listed on the National Historic Register, along with much of the rest of the town. Time and water damage is wreaking havoc on the rockwork and foundations of the building, so a French drain system is going in to protect it. Gravel will be placed around the building and a sidewalk extension added to the east.

A small park area is also being developed on the firehouse site, and a sign is being erected with information on taking a walking tour of nearby historic buildings. Iron fencing, benches and shrubs will also be added.

The project cost estimate is $11,750, with $5,750 coming from the MPNHA.

Ephraim Granary Arts

Two projects are being launched through partnerships with the Granary Arts Center in Ephraim. The first is “Towns Tracks,” creation of a music album to celebrate the history and culture of the region. Upon completion, the album will be made available to the public through local vendors.

The album will feature a web-based tie-in linking the individual songs to geographic areas in the region so people can visit the areas and listen to the music at the same time.

The other project is the Sanpete Art and History Tour. It aims to create an immersive experience containing video, audio, animation, performances and historic information relative to sites in Sanpete County. The content will be created by invited artists, historians and performers, and will be delivered through a digital app platform. It will broach topics such as history, architecture, and ecology in locales within the county.

The two projects have an estimated cost of $25,000, half of which will be funded by the MPNHA.

Ephraim Pioneer Park and DUP Museum Project

The Daughters of Utah Pioneers of Ephraim are working to restore 157-year old Hansen House museum, located in the Ephraim City’s Pioneer Park. The project, being conducted in conjunction with the Utah Division of State History, will repair and restore the two story house and adjacent log cabins, and create a sidewalk connecting the two sites, as well provide as a restroom for visitors.

The MPNHA will fund half of the project’s estimated $50,000 cost.

Mormon Pioneer Heritage Festival

Conceived as a way to make up for the loss of the Mormon Miracle Pageant, the Mormon Pioneer Heritage Festival is a collaboration between the MPNHA and the Snow College Horn School of Music.

When fully developed, the festival will consist of nearly 100 performances, pioneer demonstrators, Old West and Native American cuisine, and interactive opportunities where attendees can share stories of their pioneer ancestors.

The MPNHA will fund half of the $46,000 project cost.

Mt. Pleasant Relic Home Project

The Relic Home in Mt. Pleasant was home to its first mayor and was the site of the signing of the peace treaty that ended the Blackhawk War. The project plans a restoration with facade work, foundation repairs and the addition of a rain gutter.

The MPNHA is funding $5,000 of the total $25,000 project cost.

The Mt. Pleasant Relic Home is one of the most historically significant buildings in the town, and funding from the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area will help with restoration.

Kanab Trail Project

The Kanab Trail Project aims to create a trail and trailhead between Kanab City and Jackson Flats Reservoir. The trail’s purpose is to create an access route to the reservoir that does not require driving.

The total project cost estimate is $390,000, with $35,000 coming from the MPNHA.

MapNTour Project

The MapNTour Project combines mobile technology with the goals of the MPNHA by creating an app that can be downloaded on cell phones. When the phone user is near a Mormon pioneer historic sites within the MPNHA, the app streams historic stories about the location.

The program intends to scale its available content to more areas within the MPNHA. The project cost estimate is $26,000, with $13,000 coming from the MPNHA.

Discovery Road Project

This educational documentary series is one of the flagship efforts from the MPNHA. The series, which now has dozens of episodes, tells the story of Mormon Pioneers and Utah history using a “road trip” format in which producer James Nelson travels the heritage area interviewing locals and telling historic stories.

The show is produced in coordination with public television station UEN and the Utah Education Network. The current project cost estimate is $50,000, with $24,269 coming from the MPNHA.


Sanpete Valley Singers

Music held a special place in the hearts of Mormon pioneers, and upon arrival in Utah, opera houses were some of the first buildings constructed. The MPNHA has assisted in the restoration of seven historic opera houses in the heritage area and helps support groups that perform and interpret historic music, such as the Sanpete Valley Singers.


Wayne County DUP Records Project

This is an ongoing project that aims to digitize and archive a large catalog of historic records related to Wayne County. The archival process is being done in conjunction with the Wayne County Daughters of Utah Pioneers.


Native American Learning Tour Project

The Native American Acknowledgement Expedition, organized by the Six County Association of Governments (SCAOG) in 2013, improved relations between local and state governments, and several Native American nations.

Now another tour dedicated to improving relations through better understanding is being planned. The SCAOG will work in tandem with the Utah Division of Indian Affairs, the governor’s office and local leaders.

The cost estimate for the project is $21,400, with $7,000 being funded by the MPNHA.

Sanpete Trails Project

This project aims to partner with public land agencies to improve the outdoor recreation options in Sanpete County. Facets of the project include creation of biking, hiking and OHV trails, as well as improvements to trailheads and parking.

The $95,000 project is being funded to the tune of $45,000 by the MPNHA.

Richfield City Interpretive Project

Improvements to the Richfield City Visitor’s Center are the core of this project, which will convert the old 15-foot tall “Fountain Mound” at the visitor’s center into a viewing area with markers pointing toward local historic landmarks. A path will be installed leading up to the viewing area atop the mound. Native American rock art will play a role in the project, thanks to collaboration by MPNHA Native American ombudsman, Emery Polelonema.

The MPNHA will fund half the $15,000 project cost.

Miss Mary’s Museum Project

A recent donation of a 1900s-era pioneer building to the Miss Mary’s Museum property in Salina spurred a project to install a concrete foundation on the new building, replace the roof and repair the interior and exterior.

The MPNHA will fund $10,000 of the $22,000 project budget.

Wayne County Trails Project

The MPNHA is chipping in $10,000 to help Wayne County and the U.S. Forest Service with a trails project on the Beau Lewis Flats. The goal is to improve visitor experience and share cultural heritage. The project is part of an ongoing effort to improve trail systems in sensitive areas of Wayne County.

Panguitch DUP Interpretive Monument Project

The MPNHA is partnering with Garfield County to help the Panguitch Daughters of Utah Pioneers erect a monument honoring Fort Sanford at the junction of Sanford Creek Road and U.S. 89. The fort, once the original settlement of Panguitch, will be marked with a large flag and two bronze plaques installed on a sandstone rock giving information about the fort’s history.


The geothermal hot springs near Monroe were once a sacred gathering place for Native Americans. A plan is under way to promote tourism to the location by turning it into a park.