Utah's Canyon of Gold Gets A Facelift
Bullion Canyon supported a booming mining community in the late 1800s, when a large quantity of gold was removed by panning the stream and working mine shafts.
Today the canyon includes a ghost town and a few relics from its glory days. It is a pretty canyon with a sparkling stream, located west of the town of Marysvale in Central Utah. One of the most photogenic waterfalls in Utah can by seen by following the stream up the canyon.
Recently a crew of volunteers from around the U.S. Completed a project to preserve ruins and improve facilities in Miners Park, in the canyon. The Forest Service provided this news release about the project:
The Canyon of Gold Gets a Facelift
Over a two week period from July 23 through August 3, this summer volunteers through the Passport in Time (PIT) program came from far and wide to renovate Miner’s Park, an outdoor museum dedicated to the mining industry in Bullion Canyon, southwest of Marysvale, Utah.
“Geographically, we had people from Utah, Georgia, Oregon, and Ohio,” said Fishlake National Forest Archeologist Bob Leonard. “One person owned a bike shop, another was a machinist, one fellow was an emergency room doctor, and another a safety officer with a fire department.” Working with a Forest Service crew, they rebuilt fences, replaced picnic equipment, surfaced trails, replaced signs and installed solar panels to light the cabin. The park now looks just about new.
In addition to the work at the park, Jim Peterson of Marysvale is building an informational kiosk that will be placed at the Canyon of Gold Trailhead at the bottom of the canyon.
So how did Miner’s Park get its start? In the early 1990s, Rell Frederick, a “retired” miner (they never really retire), proposed that the Fishlake National Forest sponsor the construction of an outdoor museum dedicated to the mining industry in Bullion Canyon. He had a wonderful idea but there were two major hurdles. One was to gather a workforce with the skills to build such a facility. The second was reconstructing a history left by miners who were not particularly interested in recording their own experiences.
Miner/historian Clark Elder provided specific information, including probate court documents from the late 1860s that solved many of the mysteries of the canyon including the precise location of a major mining camp. This camp, named Bullion City was established in 1869 at the mouth of the canyon just four years after three veterans of the strike at Sutter’s Mill found color in the creek flowing from Bullion Canyon. Bullion City, from 1869 to the census of 1880, grew in population to 1,651 people and the canyon, now a part of the Ohio Mining District, was booming.
Building the park, and an associated driving tour and waterfall trailhead, was accomplished principally, between 1993 and 1994 by PIT volunteers. As a Forest Service program, PIT projects are open to volunteers on National Forests across the United States. During the construction of the Miners’ Park, people came from 15 different states and offered a variety of skills from carpentry to posthole digging.
“Rosalie Peterson and her sister Delma Jukes came up from Marysvale to help, and Rell served as our technical advisor,” offered Leonard. By the end of the summer session of 1994, the park offered 15 interpretive displays including an “adit” (mine tunnel) and a furnished miner’s cabin. On the way up to the park, nine interpretive stops along the Bullion Canyon Road offer visitors a glimpse of life during the days of the mining boom. A toll road, the foundations of a boarding house, mine dumps, and mill sites can be seen. A trail also leads to an overlook above 60 foot waterfalls.
Through the years, the appearance and condition of Miner’s Park began to sag under the weight of heavy visitation and the elements. Fishlake Forest Supervisor Allen Rowley decided to fund a much needed face lift to a facility that has attracted a large number of visitors including school children, a lieutenant governor, a US congressmen, and KSL Channel 5. The site also plays an important role as an interpretive stop in both the Paiute Trail UTV and Rocky Mountain ATV jamborees.
For more information about Passport in Time, or if you ever get the hankering to do something interesting and very rewarding, most anywhere in the United States, visit www.passportintime.com.