Dedication opens newest St. George trail, pathway to significant historic quarry

ST. GEORGE — City leaders, members of the Boy Scouts and Sons of Utah Pioneers gathered at the end of North 700 West Saturday to dedicate the newest addition to the St. George trail system: the Pathway to the Quarry.

The twin pillars and informational plaque marking the entrance to the Pathway to the Quarry trail in St. George, Utah, Mar. 19, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
The twin pillars and informational plaque marking the entrance to the Pathway to the Quarry trail in St. George, Utah, March 19, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

The trail was built as a cooperative effort of the Dixie Encampment Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers, the City of St. George and local businesses along with local Eagle Scouts from Boy Scout Troop 383. They constructed the two-pillared entry, numerous informative plaques, a stone monument and the trail itself.

The Red Cliffs Desert Reserve was also instrumental in completing the project, granting permission for the trail to cross into the reserve. Dixie Red Hills Golf Course, which abuts the trail, also helped in granting access.

The ceremony began with emcee Dr. R. Wayne Pace, who spoke about the quarry and its historical significance. He then turned the microphone over to St. George Mayor Jon Pike, who praised Pace for his efforts to see the trail project completed. Pike spoke about the early pioneers whose struggles were instrumental in creating the City of St. George.

“It’s important for us to find ways to honor those who came before us and who worked so hard,” Pike said during his speech. “We worked hard to do this, but so much harder did these pioneers and early settlers have to work to literally chisel out not just this stone … but every single aspect of their lives.”

Thomas Alexander, former president of the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers, also gave a few words. Richard Kohler, president of the Washington County Historical Society, presented a detailed history of the quarry and its importance. Finally, with a dedication prayer given by Hal G. Anderson, the Pathway to the Quarry was officially open for hiking.

After the dedication ceremony, Pike said he is pleased to have a historical site open to the public.

“It’s been hard to get to,” Pike said, “It’s a little bit treacherous, getting up the cliff or along the golf course. This trail’s been carefully mapped out, worked really closely with the desert tortoise habitat folks as well as the city and the Sons of Utah Pioneers who headed up this project – they raised the money for it. It’s going to be fantastic. I think just about anyone could walk this trail and go up and see a little bit of history.”

The quarry site was an important location where blocks of sandstone were chiseled out of the hillside and used to construct numerous local buildings of significant importance such as the tabernacle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the LDS St. George Temple, the original courthouse and numerous other buildings in St. George.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike looks on during the dedication ceremony for the Pathway to the Quarry trail in St. George, Utah, Mar. 19, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
St. George Mayor Jon Pike looks on during the dedication ceremony for the Pathway to the Quarry trail in St. George, Utah, March 19, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

Alexander said the trail was a proud moment for the Sons of Utah Pioneers.

“It’s been a great undertaking for the encampment chapter,” Alexander said, “and we appreciate what they’ve done.”

Pace said the project has been in the planning stages for approximately four years, with official approval being granted December 2015. By mid-January the pillars, monument and plaques were all in place, and all that was left was the construction of the trail itself.

“That was a tough project, to open up, to go through the wilderness there, under cliffs, we had to put in bridges and little things, but I think it’s worked out,” Pace said. “Everybody that I’ve talked to who’s visited there says it’s a magnificent sight and it’s one of the most significant historic sites in this area.”

To visit the Pathway to the Quarry trail, drive to the north end of North 700 West (which connects to the north end of Diagonal Street). Where the street  reaches a dead end, look for a pair of sandstone pillars that mark the entrance to the trail. The path is roughly 3/10 of a mile in length and gains approximately 100 feet of elevation. There are informational plaques at the beginning and the end of the trail, and a sandstone monument marking the location of historic quarry.

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Email: dgilman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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