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2007 Statement of Policy


Our Purpose

The Mountain Meadows Association was formed in the 1989 by people of diverse backgrounds who joined together to honor and preserve the memory of those who died at Mountain Meadows. While others have pursued different agendas, our organization’s foremost purpose has been to honor the dead and to preserve in perpetuity this important historic site in an atmosphere of peaceful reverence and solemnity. Those who died there deserve nothing less.

Recent Preservation Efforts

The Association recognizes that through the continuing efforts of many diverse organizations, interest groups and individuals the site of the Mountain Meadows Massacre at the southern end of the valley of Mountain Meadows has been preserved from adverse development. This has enhanced the atmosphere of reverence and respect for the dead that we wish to exist and hope to preserve at the site. In the past two decades important strides have been taken to preserve the Siege Site and provide interpretative aids at Dan Sill Hill overlooking the southern portion of the valley. In addition, efforts are progressing to secure the Northern Gravesite, about one mile to the north, and preserve it as an important new memorial. But over the next decades, the major challenge facing this vital historic site will be to preserve it from the encroachment of commercial and residential development.

The Future Threat of Commercial and Residential Development

In the past fifty years, St. George, forty miles to the south of Mountain Meadows, has grown from a small town to a burgeoning metropolitan area. The population in the region surrounding St. George is currently at 115,000 and growing. Commercial and residential developments continue to spread into Dammeron Valley, Veyo and Central to the south of Mountain Meadows. Fortunately, the valley of Mountain Meadows itself has remained undeveloped thus far. Local landowners own relatively large tracts of land and engage in farming and ranching. These pursuits are consistent with and have helped to preserve the atmosphere of peace and solemnity in the valley. The current landowners have also taken other positive steps to preserve the atmosphere in the valley. However, in the coming years this important historic site may face the threat of commercial and residential development in the area.

Current Efforts to Preserve the Northern Gravesite

The Association declares that preservation of an atmosphere of peaceful reverence at Mountain Meadows is a top priority. We applaud recent efforts to secure key historic sites such as the Northern Gravesite. Because of its historical importance as well as its proximity to nearby Highway 18, the Northern Gravesite has the potential to be preserved as an important new memorial to those who died at Mountain Meadows. We encourage all interested parties to cooperate in developing the Northern Gravesite with appropriate signage, parking, a memorial garden and interpretative aids.

MMA’s Vision for Preserving the Corridor Between the Siege Site and the Northern Gravesite

But what should be done with the land – more than one mile – between the Siege Site and the Northern Gravesite? The Association envisions a hiking trail and bike path connecting these two important historic sites. Besides linking the sites, it would also provide important historical context: This Line of March trail would generally follow the march of the men, women and children from the Siege Site to where they were massacred near the North Gravesite. Appropriate markers would be placed to designate important points of historic interest.

Ideally, however, the entire southern valley between the Siege Site and the Northern Gravesite should be preserved in its current undeveloped condition. This would best preserve the atmosphere of peaceful reverence which we feel is appropriate and wish to preserve. We are interested in and encourage the development of private conservation trusts to secure the southern valley in perpetuity against inappropriate development.

What about the possibility of federal stewardship? Some have recommended that Mountain Meadows be designated as a National Historic Monument and maintained by the National Parks Association. This is an interesting proposal. However, in recent years the federal commitment to a reasonable level of maintenance of its national parks and, particularly, its national monuments and historic sites has eroded. The Association is concerned about repeated federal budget cuts that continually threaten the appropriate maintenance of the small historic sites within the National Park system.

Were Mountain Meadows made a part of the National Park system, what would be the likely result? Because of Mountain Meadows’s remoteness and relative obscurity, federal planners will not perceive it as a top priority vacation destination. The result may be that this small site would become a poorly funded and neglected backwater in the National Park system, greatly overshadowed by larger attractions such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite. Thus, the Association continues to feel that private efforts including private conservation trusts among the parties most interested in the site and its historical preservation are most appropriate and should be encouraged and supported.

The issues involved in preserving an historic site such as Mountain Meadows are challenging and complex. We are interested in your suggestions and your support, both moral and financial, in preserving this important historic site. We invite you to share your views with us as we develop positions, agendas and financial support for the future preservation of this significant historic site.

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