The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area (MPNHA) spans 250 miles (400 km) within central and southern Utah, along Highway 89, and State Route 24 and 12- which is Utah’s only All-American Road. It was established by the U.S. Congress to commemorate the sacrifices and triumphs of the Mormon pioneers who settled the region.
The MPNHA is divided into five districts, according to geographic and historic criteria: Little Denmark, Sevier Valley, the Headwaters, Under the Rim and the Boulder Loop.
The area which now composes the MPNHA was settled by pioneers in the years following the emigration of Latter-Day Saints, into the Salt Lake region of Utah. It was the intent of Brigham Young to establish colonies throughout the Intermountain West from Oregon to the Mexican border, and to create a “Mormon Corridor” from Salt Lake City to the Pacific Ocean.
Beyond the sometimes hostile natives and natural impediments to travel, the pioneers had to contend with the harsh and unpredictable climate and short growing season of the High Plateau Region, which made ranching and farming difficult and often only marginally profitable. Some settlements were literally washed away by floods while others were killed off by a lack of irrigation water.
Despite these adversities, the Latter-day Saints succeeded in establishing permanent settlements in the region which still contains thousands of examples of historic pioneer buildings.
The most notable architectural achievement of the settlers was the Manti Temple, which was completed in 1888 from oolite limestone quarried nearby. The temple contains two 95 foot unsupported wooden spiral staircases. The entire town of Spring City is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It contains many examples of oolite, brick and adobe homes, mostly constructed by the Scandinavian converts who settled the area.
The heritage area offers traces of famous outlaws, Native American cultures, mining barons, Spanish priests, rugged trappers, and the farming and ranch lifestyle of the Mormon Pioneers. You can view pre-historic Indian sites, remnants of the old west, forts, State Parks, and historical markers. Shops selling classic western saddles, boots and wear have been around for years. You can also see early Utah architecture in the homes and restored buildings.
Artisans of every kind are numerous in the heritage area. Shops and galleries display fine art and photography, western memorabilia, and some of the highest quality Native American crafts and jewelry in the region. Saddle makers, an historic grist mill, antique shops, mystic hot springs, and museums; even a 100 year old salt mine that is still in use.MORMON PIONEER NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA WEBSITE
Utah Senator Bob Bennett introduced legislation to establish the MPNHA in April 2003 for the purpose of preserving “the rich heritage and tremendous achievements of the Mormon Pioneers.” His bill was passed by the U.S. Senate in July 2006 and signed into law by President George W. Bush in October of the same year.
The MPNHA preserves, interprets, promotes, and enhances Utah’s pioneer heritage. The MPNHA has no official connection with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.