Category Archives: U.S. Highway 89

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.

Railroad Resorts Bring Sevier County’s Railroad Past to Life


The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad is being resurrected in an unusual way in the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area. Partners David Grow and George Jones of Environetics have built a caboose and railroad village at Big Rock Candy Mountain, north of Marysvale in Piute County. In February they received a 50-year lease of the old Denver and Rio Grande Depot from the city of Mt. Pleasant to build a similar resort there.

Jones, a retired railroad union executive with an interest in historic railroading, began collecting cabooses several years ago. About six years ago he approached Grow with the idea of turning them into a unique resort.

After several years of planning, last year the pair opened the Track 89 Caboose Village Resort at Big Rock Candy Mountain with three railroad cars. This year they have seven and next year they hope to have 10. The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area recently awarded the project a $25,000 grant for landscaping and parking.

Grow said it is unlikely the Mt. Pleasant facility will be open this season since major work needs to be done to prepare the site and move the railroad cars into place. He is very excited about the location, however.

“We’ve always loved that old depot and looked into moving it further down Highway 89 but found it was too expensive,” Grow said.

In 1977 the building was rescued from demolition by a group of local citizens who wanted to preserve it and had it moved to its present location from 500 West and Main.

The new location is ideal, Grow said. “It has great visibility, right on Highway 89. We will make sure that no lodging will block the beautiful view of the terrific old depot.” Grow said the Mt Pleasant site could eventually have as many as 15 rail cars.

He said they plan to incorporate several historic elements into the resort, but they have not yet determined if that will be in the setting of a small museum or as enhancements to the railroad cars themselves.

While some have suggested that the pair open a similar resort in Thistle in Utah County, Grow said that the Utah County planning department is not open to the idea.

“It would be like trying to push a river upstream,” he said.

MPNHA Director Monte Bona sees these two resorts as a first step to bringing about a railroad museum and interpretive center in the area, one of the goals of the MPNHA’s management plan.

“The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area reached the high threshold for national designation by articulating the thesis that Mormon colonization played a major role in the development of the West. The coming of the railroad era had a signifi cant impact that needs to be interpreted, displayed and conveyed as a crucial part of the Mormon country story,” he said.

The railroad first came to the Sevier Valley in 1893 when the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad expanded its line from Chester to Manti , connecting it with its Valley Line at Thistle Junction via Mt. Pleasant and from Manti to Marysvale.

At its peak, the line ferried passengers to Richfield where tour companies would meet the train at Marysvale and take tourists to Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. For several decades it spurred economic growth in the area, especially in the livestock trade.

However, as automobiles grew in popularity, the railroad began to wane. In 1949, D&RGW dropped passenger service in the area. From then until the Thistle mudslide of 1982 shut down the line completely, the line primarily carried freight. Aft er the mudslide the D&RGW determined it would not be cost-effective to restore the line, which had been operating at a loss for decades.

Now, with the Environetics projects, railroad buff s and families will have a unique opportunity to experience a taste of the rich railroading history of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area.

For more information, contact or MPNHA Director Monte Bona at 801-699-5065 or David Grow at 801-375-9090.


The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area includes 400 miles of glorious scenic byways, a vast array of wildlife, the best of western living, cattle and sheep ranches, and colorful mountain vistas, all within a trip on Utah Heritage Highway 89

The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Has 4 Best Main Streets

These 13 Towns in Utah Have the Best Main Streets You’ve Gotta Visit

There’s just something about the Main Street in any town. It’s often part of the town’s historic district, and typically features some of the oldest buildings in the area. The best Main Streets are bustling, vibrant places where members of the community, along with visitors, shop, eat and mingle. Here are a few of Utah’s best Main Streets; maybe you’ve visited some of them recently!

Which Main Streets did I miss? Share your favorite in the comments.

There’s Something Incredible About These 8 Rivers in the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area

For a desert state, Utah has a surprisingly large number of rivers! This is by no means a comprehensive list; I’ve tried to include a sampling of rivers from all parts of the state.

Did I miss your favorite Utah river?


In an article posted in Utah October 17, 2015 by  entitled 

These 12 Awesome Diners in Utah Will Make You Feel Right at Home,

The Little Wonder Cafe was listed as one of the twelve 

There’s just something about diner food, especially when the temperature starts to cool and comfort meals like meatloaf, mac ‘n cheese and pot roast really hit the spot. Here are just a few of the awesome diners you’ll find in Utah.

As I was compiling this list, I noticed that 8 of the 12 diners are located on their town’s Main Streets! Diners really are the heart of their communities. What’s your favorite diner?

“The Soul of the Native American Artist” to share Native American Perspectives, Heritage

The Soul of the Native American Artist” to share Native American Perspectives, Heritage


“The Soul of the Native American Artist” to share Native American perspectives, heritage

Linda Petersen Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area




RICHFIELD—The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area (MPNHA) will showcase Native Indian artist David K. John in a special two-day event, “The Soul of the Native American Artisan,” at the Richfield City Building, 75 East Center, on Friday, Oct 23 and Saturday, Oct 24.

This free event is open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. on Oct 23 and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 24.

John, a member of the Navajo tribe, is a 1982 Richfield High School graduate who has maintained many ties to the Richfield area. Through his art, John will share with participants the culture and heritage of American Indians, in particular the Navajo tribe.

With this program, the MPNHA seeks to share with the public John’s unique perspectives regarding the natural environment, the earth, cosmos, animal life, aquatic life, dwelling structures and his connection to a deeply holistic spiritual life.

Throughout the event, interactive discussions with the public will be led by project director Emery Polelonema, John and locally known archeologist Craig Harmon, who will give scientific and historical context to John’s native art impressions.

Along with the exhibit and discussions, from noon to 3 on Saturday, Oct. 24, Navajo students from Richfield will share an artistic display of dance.

“We want to educate the public about who we are as Native Artwork in this press release are some examples of the art that will be at the event.

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Americans and what we can contribute to the arts and humanities,” said Polelonema, a Native American and an official with the Six County Association of Governments.

“In popular culture, there is a misconception of the Native American artist as a ‘blanket Indian,’ one who returns to the reservation, who cannot stay out in the mainstream,” he said. “That is a complete misnomer.”

Richfield Mayor David Ogden will speak at the opening of the event at noon on Oct. 23. “We are really excited about David K. John coming back to the Sevier Valley,” Ogden said. “He has some amazing talents which he has put to use and has created beautiful pictures of the world and of Native Americans.”

“We feel so fortunate to have him come back and share it with us here in Richfield. We encourage everyone in the area to come enjoy his artwork and success.”

Organizers hope that this exhibit/showcase will supplement and enhance existing Utah pioneer history with Native American historical information and promote an understanding and appreciation for the rich Native American heritage of the area.

“The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area’s Management Plan places great emphasis on the rich heritage of Native Americans. Their deep appreciation of our mountains, streams and landscape constitutes the essence of what we stand for as a heritage area,” MPNHA Director Monte Bona said.

“We are especially pleased that our partners at the Utah Humanities Council are participating in this important program.”

This project is sponsored by the Utah Humanities Council and the MPNHA. For more information, contact project director Emery Polelonema at 435-201-9603 or MPNHA director Monte Bona at 801-699-5065.


About the MPNHA: The Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area is a federally designated area of central and southern Utah running along the beautiful and historic U.S. Highway 89 — including the All-American Road Utah State Route 12, and Capitol Reef Scenic Byway Utah State Route 24, which both intersect with U.S. 89 and together form the MPNHA’s Boulder Loop. The area includes the counties of Sanpete, Sevier, Piute, Wayne, Garfield and Kane.

About the Utah Humanities Council: The works to empower Utahns to improve their communities through active engagement in the humanities. To accomplish this, through its programs and grants it partners with individuals and groups across the state who want to put humanities ideas into actions that have a positive impact on their communities.

Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area “Discovery Road” to air on UEN


Linda Petersen

Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area




Utah Education Network TV (UEN) will begin airing “Discovery Road,” a series that grew out of a desire to tell the stories of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area and its people, on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. UEN broadcasts on Channel 9 in most parts of Utah.

Conceived in 2012, “Discovery Road” is an ongoing series of half hour shows featuring a ‘55 Pontiac affectionately named “Love Me Tender,” which hosts James Nelson and Maryda Nicole Gallo drive along U.S. Highway 89, All-American Road State Route 12 and Scenic Byway State Route 24.

Using music, storytellers and the characters in the communities along the way, the hosts present the history, scenery and culture of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area in an entertaining and educational manner. “

The whole idea behind the show is to get people to do what they used to do on Sunday afternoons — take a drive,” said MPNHA Executive Director Monte Bona.

UEN-TV Program Manager Kyle Anderson said “Discovery Road” is a great fit for the station. “At UEN our main purpose is to reach to the statewide community,” he said. “Discovery Road is a good local resource with a lot of good stories about Utah and Utah history. It’s very well done and entertaining.”

James Nelson and M. Nicole Gallo driving “Love Me Tender”, a ‘55 Pontiac, outside Spring City on Heritage Day.

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The show’s times lot at 6 p.m. on Saturdays is great for people who are coming in from the outdoors and want to be both educated and entertained, Anderson said.

October schedule: Oct 10, 6 p.m. “Don’t Let Them Be Forgotten”

This episode tracks the Blackham family, who were barely subsisting working in the cotton mills of England’s industrial revolution in the latter 1800s, to joining the LDS church and migrating to Sanpete County. They paved the way for current-day descendents, who are farmers, att orneys, business leaders, musicians, teachers, and politi cians, including present-day mayors of two Sanpete cities.

Oct 17, 6 p.m. “Music Is the Reason”

Welsh pioneers to Zion were sent to Sanpete County to develop a “Coal Bed” (the original name of Wales Town in Sanpete County), bringing with them their native gift of music. The coal ran out, but these musical miners produced both the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Osmond Family, to name just two.

Oct 24, 6 p.m. “The Heritage Experience”

A busload of travel writers heads north from Zion’s National Park along Heritage Highway 89, visiting historic stops along the way, including Mom’s Café in Salina and Clarion, the short-lived Jewish settlement west of Centerfield.

Oct 31, 6 p.m. “Mormon Trail: Black Experience”

Returned Mormon missionary Marcus Ewell discovers his family history includes an ancestor who served in the Mormon Batt alion and another who traveled the Mormon trail. The Discovery Road crew visits Marti ns Cove, Winter Quarters and many other places on their journey to the past. As the visit to yesterday plays out along the trail, a mystery unfolds about who might have been with the Ewell family every step of the way.

**Upcoming shows:

Nov. 7 Mormon Trail – The Forgotten Ones

Nov. 14 Mormon Trail – The Disabled Ones

Nov. 21 Nati ve Americans and Sacred Water

Nov. 28 Filmmakers Shootout in Kane County

Dec. 5 Garfi eld County*

Dec. 12 Scandinavian Show*

Dec. 19 The Dreams I Left Behind* Merrill Osmond joins “Discovery Road” as a guest in “Music is the Reason.”

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After airing on Saturdays, each show will air again at noon the following Wednesday.

“Wherever we go while producing Discovery Road episodes people ask where they might be able to see the shows. When we tell them UEN, they nod approval and tell us that’s a place for good programming. We agree. The programming is diverse, educati onal and entertaining. We are delighted to be a part of it,” said Discovery Road Co-host Maryda Nicole Gallo.

In addition to airing on UEN, “Discovery Road” is running on several stations in central and southern Utah, including CentraCom Interactive’s Channel 10, Manti Telecommunications’ Channel 3 and KTTA in Monroe.

Interested viewers may find out how to access UEN-TV at

*December programming is tentative as Discovery Road has several more episodes in production which may take the place of currently scheduled shows.

** Descriptions of these episodes may be found on the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area,


About the MPNHA:

The Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area is a federally designated area of central and southern Utah running along the beautiful and historic U.S. Highway 89 — including the All-American Road Utah State Route 12, and Capitol Reef Scenic Byway Utah State Route 24, which both intersect with U.S. 89 and together form the MPNHA’s Boulder Loop. The area includes the counties of Sanpete, Sevier, Piute, Wayne, Garfield and Kane.

About UEN: The Utah Education Network was established more than 20 years ago by the Utah State Legislature to coordinate telecommunications technology for public and higher education. UEN infrastructure serves public education, higher education, applied technology, libraries, government, and other public entities by providing networking, application and support services, serving a vital role in anticipating and meeting the educational needs of our state.

The Most Beautiful, Charming Small Towns In Utah for 2015

Here Are The Most Beautiful, Charming Small Towns In Utah

Utah has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few decades; once small towns have grown to medium-sized ones (at least by Utah standards). Of course, you can still find many beautiful little towns across the state. This list isn’t meant to be a “Best Of.” It’s simply a list of a few small towns we think are great (in no particular order!). We chose towns with populations between 612 and 5,130, though many residents living in towns with populations of 10,000 or even 20,000 might enjoy that small-town atmosphere.


Pioneer Day ‘Birthday Bash’ Celebrates Mt. Pleasant’s Founding Fathers and U.S. Highway 89 Designation

DATE 03/13/2007 12:41 PM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Pioneer Day ‘Birthday Bash’ Celebrates Mt. Pleasant’s Founding Fathers
and U.S. Highway 89 Designation

Mt. Pleasant City is throwing a party March 24 for its founding fathers and to celebrate the designation of U.S. Highway 89 as a national historical designation.

“Every year, we honor the people who made this city what it is today with a special Pioneer Day luncheon,” says Joann Winward, a member of the Mt. Pleasant Historical Association, which sponsors the annual event.

“This year, we have another thing to celebrate: the passage of the National Mormon Pioneer Heritage area, which recognizes the historical significance and heritage of U.S. Highway 89. So we decided to make the highway the theme of this year’s party.”

The theme of the luncheon is “Keep on Truckin’ Down U.S. Highway 89.” The event starts at 11 a.m. with a box lunch at at noon at the South Ward “Yellow Church,” 295 S. State Street in Mt. Pleasant.

U.S. Highway 89 has a rich history in Sanpete County, Winward says. It was the route the region’s early settlers used in 1860 to take cattle for the winter to Sevier Valley. In 1862, oats were delivered to Ruby Valley by wagons and oxen teams via this route, and it soon became the main road for mail delivery.

In July of 1861, Brigham Young authorized spending $4,000 from tithing funds to complete U.S. Highway 89 so that it ran from Sanpete County to Spanish Fork, and it officially opened to the public in 1882.

Today, the cities and towns in the six-county area are the best remaining example of how Mormon pioneers colonized the west. A bill establishing the National Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area was signed into law by President George W. Bush last fall. Many local residents spent years working on the measure and even helped draft the original bill.

The national designation recognizes the history, architecture and culture along “the heritage highway,” and includes U.S. Highway 89 from Fairview to Kanab, the Boulder Loop (state highways 12 and 24), the All-American Road (highway 12) and the six counties through which the route passes: Sanpete, Sevier, Piute, Wayne, Garfield and Kane.

“In my time, boys could hitch hike along U.S. Highway 89 to visit girls in the surrounding towns of Fairview and Spring City,” Winward says. “By the time we graduated form high school, we would ‘drag’ the highway in our cars.”

People are invited to swap stories about the highway, and the region’s history in general, during the Pioneer Day luncheon. The event will also include a reception, silent auction, bake sale, and musical performances by the Snow College L.D. Singers. Cost for the box lunch is $7. There will also be copies of Mt. Pleasant history books for purchase.

“There is a little bit of something for everyone,” Winward says. “It’s a way for us to honor the pioneers who settled the area. We invite anyone who has ever lived in Mt. Pleasant to attend, and anyone who is interested in Mt. Pleasant to attend.”

The annual celebratory lunch is one of the two main programs supported by the Mt. Pleasant Historical Association. The group also looks after Relic House, a museum that displays relics ranging from pioneer quilts and clothing to blacksmith shop tools and equipment. Relic House was one of the first homes in Mt. Pleasant to be built outside of the fort that housed the area’s first settlers. It was built by William S. Seely, who was the first LDS bishop and also the town’s first mayor.

Mt. Pleasant City was officially founded in 1859. Nearly two-thirds of the city’s earliest settlers were Scandinavian pioneers who immigrated to Utah from Canada, the United States and England.

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For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

President Signs Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area Bill


This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

President Signs Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area Bill

A bill establishing the National Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area has been signed into law by President George W. Bush.

“I’m extremely pleased that after years of moving this bill through the legislative process President Bush has signed the National Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area into law,” said Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, who sponsored legislation to create the heritage area. “This is a fitting tribute to Utah’s pioneers and one that will help promote economic development and preserve our unique heritage for future generations.”

The national designation recognizes the history, architecture and culture along “the heritage highway,” and includes U.S. Highway 89 from Fairview to Kanab, the Boulder Loop (state highways 12 and 24), the All-American Road (highway 12) and the six counties through which the route passes: Sanpete, Sevier, Piute, Wayne, Garfield and Kane.

Many local residents, including Monte Bona, executive director of the Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance, and Gary Anderson of Utah State University’s Extension, spent years working on the measure and Bona even helped draft the original bill. Bona called Bush’s signing “An important and historic event. It’s very rewarding to see the Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area officially established.” The initiative underwent several renditions in the past six years and survived three sessions of Congress.

Bona says that the cities and towns in the six-county area are the best remaining example of how Mormon pioneers colonized the west. “The heritage area includes countless examples of rich cultural and architectural history shaped by the early settlers,” he says.

The bill specified that up to $10 million may be spent on development of the heritage area, including activities such as historic preservation of buildings and signage, but no more than $1 million per year. Funds are matched on a 50 per cent basis.

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For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Newspaper Editor Living Her Small-Town Dream

DATE 02/21/2006 7:15 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Newspaper Editor Living Her Small-Town Dream

As a child, Suzanne Dean, editor and publisher of the Sanpete Messenger, dreamed of running her own newspaper and living in a small town.

“I grew up in Salt Lake City, but I spent quite a bit of time at my grandparents’ house in Joseph City, Arizona, then a town of about 500,” Dean says. “My grandmother’s house fronted on Route 66. In Joseph City, I got a taste of a close-knit town, everybody pitching in on community projects, and an environment where a wide spectrum of types of people were accepted in the community. I think that’s where I started thinking about someday living in a small town.”

Dean achieved her goal of running a newspaper early in life. When she was only 12 years old she started a neighborhood paper with the help of some friends. But it took a bit longer for her to realize her small-town dreams. “I had always thought Manti and Ephraim were some of the nicest small towns along U.S. 89 – in fact in the whole state,” Dean says. “I had thought several times that if the Ephraim Enterprise/Manti Messenger combination came up for sale, I would be interested.”

But there were a few things that Dean needed to do first, starting with going to college. She spent her freshman year at Utah State University where she enrolled in a class on community journalism. “I think that’s where I started thinking about buying weekly newspaper.” She later transferred to the University of Utah, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Following graduation, Dean did the exact opposite of moving to small town – she went to New York City. She enrolled at Columbia University and graduated with a master’s degree in journalism.

“Between Columbia and buying the Messenger, I did a bunch of things,” Dean says. That included working at the Deseret News and Standard-Examiner newspapers, teaching journalism at both the University of Idaho and University of Wyoming, working on a PhD in communications, and working for the University of Utah’s public relations department for seven years and for Magellan Behavioral Health, a national corporation, for a decade.

“By the time I left the U of U Public Relations Department in 1992, I was getting pretty serious about the weekly newspaper idea,” Dean says. “When I got to Magellan, I started putting money away for it.”

Then one day, she heard that Max Call, the then-owner of the Manti Messenger and Ephraim Enterprise, was putting his newspapers up for sale. “I decided to write Max a letter telling him about myself and my interest in buying a weekly newspaper.”

The two signed an agreement in the fall of 2000 and in March 2001, Dean arrived in town to take over the reins. “I recruited stringers from throughout the county, started covering all the town council meetings and both the North Sanpete and South Sanpete school boards, and started soliciting subscriptions from all towns in Sanpete County, not just Manti and Ephraim.”

In September, 2003, with quite a bit of fanfare, Dean changed the name of the paper to the Sanpete Messenger. One of her goals was to expand the paper countywide, so in August, 2004, she bought the Gunnison Valley News and Salina Sun, the latter of which she later sold to “friendly owners” with whom she has some business arrangements.

“In the past five years I believe we’ve given the community a taste of a much more professional newspaper,” she says. Before Dean came on board, most of the newspapers in the county relied heavily on reader submissions. “Anybody could bring in a self-written article. The paper would edit it a little, but for the most part, they’d print it verbatim. Occasionally, the papers would send someone out to take pictures of a car wreck. But for the most part, they didn’t cover the news,” she says.

“Now we put a huge effort into covering the news. We take on controversial issues, including naming names, and write hard-hitting editorials. Since I came to town, we’ve covered a hurricane, a bank collapse, a multi-million embezzlement that led to the bank collapse, published school administrator’s salaries and reported on a negative state audit of the Student Life area at Snow College,” she says.

The efforts of Dean and her staff have been validated by their professional colleagues. The paper has won the “general excellence” award in its circulation category for four consecutive years. Staff members have also earned four National Newspaper Association awards in areas such as spot news, editorial page and investigative reporting. In addition, Salt Lake City’s City Weekly named the Sanpete Messenger the “Best Feisty Rural Newspaper.” And in March, Dean will be inducted in the Daily Utah Chronicle’s Hall of Fame, where she will take her place alongside fellow members Sen. Bob Bennett and Fred Kempe of the Wall Street Journal.

But success has not come easily. “Some local people don’t like our approach-they think we should only report ‘good news’ and shouldn’t embarrass local people by reporting on their mistakes.”

Dean has also had to spend a lot of time at work. “For the first five years, I worked 80-90 hours per week. That virtually always translated to a seven-day work week. This year, I’m trying to cut back, take a little personal time, and get some rest on weekends. Still, I invariably put in way more than a 60-hour week.”

Dean still edits the paper, writes much of the news, and oversees all of the business matters, sales and marketing. “Being an independent weekly newspaper publisher is a very tough job, especially in a market such as Sanpete County where there are competing newspapers,” Dean says.

“But like other small business owners, I guess, I continue to forge ahead, grapple with the editorial and business crises as they hit, strategize about expansion, and try to turn the strategies into action.”

All of her hard work is producing results. The newspaper’s circulation today is at least two and a half times its circulation when she took over, and its revenues are up 85 percent. Dean’s future goals include setting up newspaper offices in three regions of the county: Gunnison Valley, Manti-Ephraim and North Sanpete, and expanding the paper to include two sections, one containing countywide news and the other news from the respective regions. She also strives to live up to her company’s mission statement that promises to make the Sanpete Messenger “the best little newspaper in America.” “I plan to visit newspapers around the country that have won national “general excellence” awards to learn how they achieve such remarkable news products,” Dean says.

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For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

County a Hit With Tourism Experts, ‘FAM’ Tour Big Success


This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

County a Hit With Tourism Experts, ‘FAM’ Tour Big Success

County a Hit With Tourism Experts ‘FAM’ Tour Big Success

How do some Utah tourism experts who visited Sanpete County recently describe the region? Let’s count the ways:

“The perfect year-round playground.”

“A very enjoyable mixture of incredible scenic beauty, exciting outdoor activities, interesting pioneer heritage experiences.”

“So many things going for it as a tourism destination, it’s hard to keep track.”

“What a beautiful area! It’s unbelievable to me that Sanpete County isn’t more popular with local (Utah) tourists.”

These are just a sampling of some of the comments made by participants of the June 16 “FAM” tour sponsored by the Utah Office of Tourism. The event was intended to “familiarize” media and tour operators with some of Sanpete County’s “hot spots,” including the restored Moroni Opera House, Maple Canyon, the La-Sal National Forest, Ephraim, Manti and the Manti LDS temple, Mt. Pleasant and Fairview. Along the way, participants also heard about the county’s other cities, towns and attractions.

The purpose of “FAM” tours is to show travel agents, tour operators and media from various markets what the region has to offer in hopes of generating positive publicity about Utah’s world-class destinations, according to Tracie Cayford from the tourism office. If the comments received following the tour are any indication, the Sanpete County event was a smashing success.

“The climbing in Maple canyon is superb, and is a good alternative to sites a little closer to Salt Lake City,” said participant Austin Booth, who also remarked on the area’s beauty and commented that he couldn’t believe more tourist’s don’t flock to the region.

“From a historical perspective, the area is also great. I learned a lot about early Mormon settlement of Utah that I’d certainly never thought about before,” Booth said, adding he’d “highly recommended” it as a destination.”

Fellow tour participant Clayton Scrivner said he was impressed by how accessible the region is. “We were in Moroni 1 hour and 25 minutes after leaving the Salt Lake Valley.” He added the county has numerous “gifts” for visitors, including heritage and recreational sites. “Maple Canyon, the Wasatch Plateau, and all the great towns and their individual destinations… And don’t get me started on that temple, so majestic. I am sold on Sanpete.”

Chad Davis, another tour participant, also remarked on the region’s accessibility and uniqueness. “From Sanpete you can glance over the horizon and see the Wasatch Range in the distance, but it’s a world away from the Wasatch Front. Quaint pioneer villages, small town charm and outdoor recreation make it the perfect year-round playground.”

Next year, the state tourism office will be adding even more FAMS, promoting Utah’s national and state parks, ski resorts, cultural and heritage tourism areas, including other heritage attractions along U.S. Highway 89.

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For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Fairview Chosen for ‘State Ride,’ Local Snowmobiling Enthusiasts Gearing Up


This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Fairview Chosen for ‘State Ride,’ Local Snowmobiling Enthusiasts Gearing Up

Sanpete County’s Fairview Canyon has been selected as the location for the Utah Snowmobile Association’s annual “State Ride” to be held early next year.

The selection probably comes as no surprise to snowmobiling enthusiasts across the state. Not only does the Fairview region boast some of the best trails in the entire country, but it’s also home to award-winning “snowmobile families”, clubs and dealerships.

Brian Howarth knows a bit about the secrets of the region’s success. He is president of the Skyline Sno-Riders, the local snowmobiling organization that has twice been named “Snowmobile Club of the Year” by the Utah Snowmobiling Association. He also is one of the members of last year’s “Snowmobile Family of the Year,” another annual honor bestowed by the state association, and a long-time outdoors enthusiast.

To Howarth, who has been snowmobiling for more than 20 years, there is no better snowmobiling in the area than what is found in Fairview Canyon. “I think it’s because there is such diversity in the riding terrain. There are a lot of groomed trails, plus there is plenty of back country to explore,” he says.

Snowmobiling enthusiasts will get a good chance to experience both types of terrain during the annual Utah Snowmobile Association’s State Ride Feb. 24 and 25th. The event will also include a “poker ride”, special dinner, winter carnival and more, and Fairview Canyon will be the gateway to it all.

“It’s kind of a hidden secret,” Howarth says of the offerings provided by Fairview Canyon.

A paved canyon road leads to a trail head that provides access to more than 50 miles of trails to the north at Skyline Drive and some 30 miles to the south to Joe’s Valley. The combination of fresh snow and access to fabulous routes keep people coming back year after year.

“More and more people are finding out about it,” says Howarth, who moved to Fairview from Utah County about two years ago. His family had a cabin in the canyon and spent years snowmobiling in and around the area. After he married, he and his wife decided they wanted the “small town experience” and moved to the area permanently.

After moving there, Howarth and his entire family got involved in the Skyline Sno-Riders. Eventually, he became president and his mother, Darlene Mortensen, became secretary. Membership and interest has more than quadrupled since then, and the group now has some 130 members. “We are now the second largest club in the state,” Howarth says. “We are very family oriented, we have members of all ages and work hard to teach all of our members how to ride safe and respect the land on which they ride.”

Howarth’s family also started several charity events tied to snowmobiling that have raised food and funds for the local food bank. Last year, they raised 1,000 pounds of food. Their efforts are one of the reasons that Howarth, his wife, Miko, his mother, and dad, Clyde Mortensen, were named the state’s top snowmobiling family of the year in 2004.

Howarth and the Sno-Riders worked to establish a trailhead, including putting in a paved parking lot, as well as a warming shelter located about 15 miles away from the trail entrance that is kept well-stocked throughout the season, which typically runs from December through April.

The entire club also gets involved in community and charity events, such as “Operation Care Bear” that involved collecting stuffed animals to give to sheriff’s officers, fire and ambulance workers to pass on to children. During the off-season, the club sponsors other events such as trail clean ups, an “adopt a highway” program. Members also work with the local forest service, parks and recreation and avalanche control to improve and support the land and trails.

This year’s Snowmobile Family of the Year — Ron and Coreen Linton — are also members of the Skyline Sno-Riders.

In addition, Big Pine Sports, located at the mouth of Fairview Canyon, received last year’s “Dealer of the Year” award from the state organization. Owners Glen and Judy Zumwalt are known throughout Utah as the “unofficial source” for snowmobiling conditions in Utah. People call the store just about daily during the season for updates and conditions. Avid snowmobilers themselves, Glen is the past president of the Utah Snowmobile Association, while Judy handles the group’s public relations.

Indeed, Big Pine Sports, the Skyline Sno-Riders, and Howarth and Mortensen families have done a lot of bring notoriety to the canyon. Snowmobiling also has long been a huge benefit for Sanpete County, contributing by means of snowmobiler’s eating in local restaurants, staying in hotels and bed and breakfasts and visiting stores and shops.

Howarth is inviting all outdoor enthusiasts to see just what makes Fairview Canyon such a draw Feb. 24th and 25th during the annual state ride. It’s expected to attract people from all over the state. The event will include back country and groomed trail rides, a dinner, door prizes and more.

For dinner tickets or information, contact Howarth at (435) 427-3620 or Darlene Mortensen at 427-3353. Information is also available on the website .

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For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

New Loan Program Opens Doors for New B&B, Other Projects in Rural Utah

DATE 10/28/2005 11:38 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

New Loan Program Opens Doors for New B&B, Other Projects in Rural Utah

The opening of the Slot Canyons Inn, a new bed and breakfast in Escalante, was a significant event on many fronts. Not only did it fulfill a life-long dream for owners Jeff and Joette Marie Rex, it’s also another indicator that Utah’s small towns are increasingly becoming tourist destinations. In addition, the new inn is an example of how a new, unique loan program is helping rural areas.

The Slot Canyons Inn was supported by the new “One-Doc” program, a simplified loan guarantee program designed to assist lenders making business and commercial loans in rural areas. It’s is financed through a combination of U.S. Department of Agriculture Funding, Utah Business Lending and the Five County Association of Government’s Revolving Loan Fund.

“This is an unusual pairing of three lenders on the front end of a project,” says Gordon Holt, president of the Utah Business Lending Corporation. The One-Doc program reduces some of the risk to make a rural loan because the USDA can guarantee loans up to 90 percent.

“It allow lenders to make more rural loans because the guarantees do not count against the lender’s lending limit,” Holt says. The loans are for construction of business buildings, business acquisitions, purchase of machinery and equipment, remodeling projects and working capital.

The Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance and Utah State Extension Service are working closely with Holt’s organization to identify businesses in Sanpete, Sevier, Piute, Wayne, Garfield and Kane Counties that might benefit from the program.

“In particular, this program will help Sen. Robert Bennett in his efforts to assist businesses along U.S. Highway 89 through the creation of a national Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area,” says Monte Bona, a member of the highway alliance. The designation would mean that the six counties involved would receive funds for projects designed to retain and enhance the area’s natural beauty and promote heritage tourism. Heritage tourism is known as one of the fastest-growing segment in the tourism industry in America.

The Slots Inn is a perfect example. The new bed and breakfast incorporates the area’s history, heritage and natural beauty. The Inn is surrounded by Monument, Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands. It’s 40 miles from Bryce Canyon, the Dixie National Forest is adjacent to the property, and the Aquarius Plateau, the highest plateau in North America, is located 17 miles above. Three major canyons, the Escalante River and North Creek also come together at the site. “We have wanted to develop this 160-acre parcel of land since we purchased it several years ago,” says owner Jeff Rex.

“We believe this spot is unique to Southern Utah and have chosen to build an eight-room Pueblo-style inn to fit with the significance of the site,” he says. A 110-year-old pioneer cabin built by Isaac Riddle and rebuilt in 1999 will also become part of the guest accommodations.

For more information about the loan program, contact Gordon Holt at Utah Business Lending, (801) 654-2213.

# # #

For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

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