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.