Category Archives: Capitol Reef National Park

MPNHA Photo Contest – $25 Prize

We know that you have some amazing photos, and now it’s time to share them! The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area is hosting a photo contest. It’s time to dust off the camera, phone, whichever you use to capture special moments and share some great pictures. You probably have some on your hard drive somewhere too!

To enter, users must upload their images to the MPNHA Facebook Page and submit a form (below) for each image that they enter into the contest.


  • All photos must be be property of the entrant and an original work. If you are submitting for someone else, permission must be obtained before uploading the image.
  • All photos must be taken inside the boundaries of the MPNHA.
  • Photo enhancements are allowed.
  • The entry can be used on the MPNHA’s social media channels, website, etc. and will be credited to the entrant.
  • If people are included in the image, a release is required for entry.
  • All entrants must submit a short entry form in addition to uploading the image onto the MPNHA Facebook page.
  • The final date to enter is July 21, 2017 at midnight, mountain time.
  • The winner of the contest and $25 gift card to a retailer of their choice will be selected by the number of likes on their image. Ask your friends to vote for your image! In the event of a tie, the images with the same number of likes (loves, etc.) will be assigned a random number and then picked at random. The winner will be chosen and contacted on July 31, 2017.
  • There is no age limit to participants (under 13 years of age must have parental permission) or limit to the number of images that are allowed, as long as every image has been submitted into the form below.
  • Voting starts when you upload your image, so enter earlier for your best chance.
  • Those who work for the MPNHA are not eligible to enter/win.
  • Have fun.

Happy 100th Birthday National Park Service

National Park Service
National Park Service

On 25 August 2016 the National Park Service celebrates its 100th year serving the United States, her citizens, and the countless visitors to our great nation!

As a way to help citizens and visitors join in the celebration the National Parks will host free days for park goers.  The beginning of the second century stewardship, the National Park Service, will begin with engaging communities in recreation, teaching conservation, and educating others concerning historic preservation programs.

The National Park Service invites all to find your park to discover the programs in your very own back yard, or venture to the many National Parks outside your backyard.

The state of Utah has five National Parks, the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area boasts three of those National Parks:  Zion National ParkBryce Canyon National Park and Capitol Reef National Park.

Check with the National Park of your choosing to find your park’s free admission day as part of the Centennial Celebration.

Find your park, explore the great outdoors, take park tours to learn all there is to know about these great American historic places!  Go to National Park Service, to plan your visit.

Make sure and check out the National Park Service website to make the most of the centennial celebration!  Find Your Park, find some fun, find quality time to spend with your family, neighbors, friends, and spare an adventure during the Centennial Celebration of the National Park Service as a way to connect with other.


every kid in a park

The Federal Land Management agencies, National Parks, National Park Service, Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the White House have joined together in a partnership to initiate the EVERY KID IN A PARK incentive.  This program is designed to give every fourth grader and their families to visit all our country’s natural treasures.  The history of our great country can engage each student to enjoy the beauty, culture, and enjoy the federal lands and waters free of charge.

This initiative began 01 September 2015 and ends on August 31, 2016.  The free pass allows free access to the national forests, national parks, and national wildlife refuges, and so much more.

nps_arrowhead_300The National Park Foundation which is the nation’s official charity for the National Parks has been raising funds to work with connecting the fourth graders of our nation to have free access to all of  public land and waters in America.  A division of the Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids program, is designed to remove stumbling blocks for our fourth graders admission into the wonderlands of our natural parks and water ways.   The Every Kid in a Park initiative has been designed for students in under served and urban communities.  Due to the schools wide cutbacks in funding for grants for fields trips, the strategic funding will hopefully provide a learning experience for all fourth graders and their families.

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area is the only Federally recognized Heritage Area with three National Parks.

These are: Bryce Canyon National Park: Boulder Loop District

Sunset from the Sunset Point area at Capitol Reef Ray Mathis/NPS
Sunset from the Sunset Point area at Capitol Reef
Ray Mathis/NPS

Capitol Reef National Park in the Boulder Loop District

double rainbow

Zion National Park: Under the Rim District.

Zion National Park
Zion National Park

5 Areas In The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Make The List

Some places in Utah look similar to what we think other planets might be like. So much so, that several science fiction movies and tv shows have been filmed here! The next time you find yourself in one of these 15 places in Utah, use your imagination a little… can you picture what it would be like to emerge from a spacecraft onto this landscape?

Number 5 on the list was the GRAND STAIRCASE ESCALANTE NATIONAL MONUMENT located in the  Boulder Loop District.  Is it any wonder this National Monument was recognized!

In the 12th position is CORAL PINK SAND DUNES STATE PARK located in the Under The Rim Area.  The beauty of the sand dunes is the perfect location for any alien like location.
Number 13 is the breath taking GLEN CANYON within the Capitol Reef National Park also in the Boulder Loop District.

5 Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Towns are Recognized

Move to These 14 Towns in Utah if You Want to Get Away From it All

has listed 5 Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Towns.  This is a great honor to be recognized, of course Director, Monte Bona sates that, “I think that each one of our communities should be recognized as outstanding towns to raise your child or retire. These are just wonderful areas with even better citizens.”

If you live in one of Utah’s larger cities, you might dream of moving somewhere far away from other people. Our state has lots of small, rural towns that offer a much quieter, peaceful existence. Of course, job opportunities, shopping and entertainment are much harder to come by in these little towns. But that’s the point, isn’t it?

Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country (American Legends) By Monte Bona


legends lore and true tales in mormon country














Monte Bona, along with the collaborative efforts of talented professionals have given us an authentic view of those brave men, women and children who left their homes, family, wealth, and country to establish the communities in South Central Utah.

The powerful stories of the early settlers in the region that is now identified by the Congressional designation as the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area, are touching, informative, and compelling

These pioneers certainly left a legacy that illustrates a structure that was steeped in  codes of conduct, traditions, and  principles that everyone embraced for the sole purpose of succeeding in a somewhat hostile environment.  Their stories come to life as you read of their inventiveness, cooperation,  conscientiousness, and pure resilience.     You will also be moved stories of with miracles that occurred..

Many may be interested to learn that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons were not the only secular group that assisted with the settling  of Utah.   Jewish settlements, and contributions of a Presbyterian Minister, were instrumental.   There were great sacrifices, large doses of humility, and traditional morals that were all combined to make their efforts a true success.

I have a great appreciation for the time intensive work completed by Monte Bona that has gone into producing Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country (American Legends).  It is commendable that such an undertaking has been made to tell their stories. What a great job he has done!

The pictures are an added bonus, they help to recreate the trials, tribulations and the triumphs of  the early pioneers.  Mr. Bona has done a tremendous job in compiling this must have book for those who seek to find their family history, and a great resource for future generations.  Without a doubt this is a book that you will read, reread, share, and  retell the stories, legends, lore and true tales to everyone.  I highly recommend this book to all who seek the true tales in Mormon Country.



Sunset from the Sunset Point area at Capitol Reef Ray Mathis/NPS
Sunset from the Sunset Point area at Capitol Reef
Ray Mathis/NPS

Capitol Reef National Park, in the Boulder Loop District of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area is all that one would expect from a visit.  There is an abundance of  history of the Fremont People, the earliest dwellers who were farmers and hunters, dating back to 700 AD.  The area being fertile land due to the lakes and streams made for abundant hunting and fishing, and rich farmland.

Their heritage relates them to the Ancestral Puebloans but they disappeared from the area about 1250 AD.  Fortunately, these Native Americans left their records on the rock and the canyon walls.

Native Americans and Sacred Water Discovery Road
Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service








In the 1600’s the Paiute Indians took over the lands.  Here the Paiute’s enjoyed all the riches that the area possessed.  In the 1800’s the first pioneers located this rich land and began to establish a settlement.  By 1872, the territory was no longer an uncharted area, it had been officially documented and explored

Around the 1920’s Joseph S. Hickman and Ephraim Portman wanted to preserve the natural beauty of the area so they came together to create the “Wayne Wonderland Club” to preserve and promote the area.

Fruita, Utah in 1931
Fruita, Utah in 1931

Hickman was elected to the Utah State legislature, and 16 acres in the Fruita township were designated to the status of a Utah State Park.  In 1937 it reached the status as a national monument by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  It received its national park status in 1971 under the Richard M. Nixon Presidency.

Pinyon Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

Capitol Reef National Park supports  an assortment of distinctive ecosystems.  The 900 species of flora and fauna, the animals, the geology, and the environmental features make the park so diverse.

Mountain Lion Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service
Mountain Lion Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

Most popular sites and unique formations:

The Waterpocket Fold is the most distinguishing feature in the park, a 100-mile long classic monocline uplifted 7000 feet on the west side.

Waterpocket Fold aerial view Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service
Waterpocket Fold aerial view Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

Capitol Dome is a massive white sandstone formation that resembles the U.S. Capitol building. The park was partly named for this landmark.

Chimney Rock is a towering 400-foot-tall sandstone pillar, located three miles west of the visitor center off Highway 24 and accessible via a short hiking trail.

Hickman Bridge is a huge natural arch spanning 133 feet wide and 125 feet tall. The arch is named after Joseph S. Hickman, an early advocate for Capitol Reef’s preservation.

The Castle Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service
The Castle Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

The Castle, an impressive craggy sandstone formation visible from Highway 24.

Cassidy Arch, a pink Kayenta sandstone arch spanning 50 feet, above the Grand Wash. Accessible by a moderate three-mile round trip hike.

The Bentonite Hills are round formations with a checkerboard facade, located 9 miles from River Ford.

Bentonie Hills Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service
Bentonie Hills Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Moon and The Walls of Jericho are some of the massive monoliths (standing 400 to 500 feet high) located in the scenic Cathedral Valley.

Gypsum Sinkhole, is a 200-foot deep sinkhole, 50 feet in diameter, near the Cathedral Valley Junction.

Share your favorite story and photos invite upload photos on your social media  #findyourpark #findyourstory

Check out the National Park Service plan your visit to get the most of your experience.


National Park Week

Bryce Canyon in the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage AreaApril 18, 2015 is the kick off of National Park Week.  The National Park Service announces that it has again partnered with the National Park Foundation for National Park Week.  This Presidentally acclaimed celebration of the United States’ national heritage offers free admission to all National Parks on opening weekend, the 18th and 19th of April, 2015.

In the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area there are three National Parks; Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Zion’s National Park.  The National Park Service in conjunction with the state of Utah, and the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area invite you to visit one of these spectacular sites.

Kreig Rasmussen Photography
Kreig Rasmussen Photography

Your amazing first view of Bryce Canyon National Park offers the wonder of the numerous rows of the majestic pine trees that will obscure the vibrant colors and the splendor of  the canyon.  Once visitors reach the rim, a magnificent array of colors spring forth, giving a spectacular view particularly during daybreak and sunset.  Take a 37 mile round trip to the top 15 most visited viewpoints of Bryce Canyon.

Photo Courtesy of National Park Service
Photo Courtesy of National Park Service

Capitol Reef National Park, in the Boulder Loop District of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area is all that one would expect from a National Park.  The magnificent scenery of the sandstone spires and monoliths, the twisting, winding canyons, and the enormous domes have been fascinating visitors since its designation as a national park in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Photo Courtesy of National Park Service
Photo Courtesy of National Park Service

Utah’s first designated National Park  was Zion National Park.  Here you will discover incredible views, renowned hiking trails such as Angels Landing, The Narrows, and Subway, will give countless experiences.  The park itself has a sense of reverence which many visitors recognize much like the Native Americans who regarded Zion as sacred.

Visit one of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Parks and remember to share your experience, favorite story and photos on your social media with #findyourpark #findyourstory.


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