Building Community Bridges - Cedar Breaks National Monument and Brian Head Town

08 July 2015 Published in News
Building Community Bridges - Cedar Breaks National Monument and Brian Head Town NPS and Rob Whitmore

Cedar Breaks National Monument and the town of Brian Head showcase the benefits of creating and maintaining a mutually beneficial partnership.  As an example, in 2014, annual visitation at Cedar Breaks increased to more than 750,000. This represents an increase of over 45% since 2010, which by all indications will continue for the foreseeable future.  For those who have visited Cedar Breaks, part of the charm of the park exists in its rustic and relatively undeveloped atmosphere, which stands in stark contrast to many other parks. To try and get ahead of these trends, beginning in late 2015[EK1] , Cedar Breaks and Brian Head expect to be kicking off a “Sustainable Tourism Master Planning” effort. The primary goal of this work over the next two years will be to do some long term planning to which will help protect the visitor experience and resources at Cedar Breaks without having to further develop the park with the types of tourism and lodging facilities already available in Brian Head. The plan will also look at ways to provide alternative modes of transportation, such as pedestrian bike trails and shuttles that would allow visitors to park in Brian Head and have new ways to access the park.  This approach uses the parking lots already in Brian Head rather than building more parking lots in the park. The summer and winter non -motorized trails would complement the existing snowmobile trail, and provide more options for cross country skiers and snowshoers to access the park during the popular winter season. 

Citizens of Brian Head and nearby areas volunteer extensively in Cedar Breaks National Monument.  The well-known winter yurt at Cedar Breaks manages to stay open to the public on most weekends from January until early March during the winter thanks to volunteers that have helped run it for seven years.  Residents of Brian Head additionally actively volunteer and participate in the activities such as the annual Wildflower Festival hosted by Cedar Breaks National Monument every July.

A striking example of the great working relationship between Cedar Breaks and Brian Head is the shared recycling program, which has been in place for more than six years. Brian Head helps to manage both the solid waste and recyclables they pick up from the park. In exchange, Cedar Breaks helps provide recycling bins for both the park and the town to use for the program. Prior to this partnership, visitors to Cedar Breaks were unable to recycle.

The National Park Service staff at Cedar Breaks also appreciates the strong working relationship that is developing with the relatively new owners of the Brian Head Resort, which manages the winter ski operations and summer visitor events such as the spectacular 4th of July celebration and the Giant Steps Lodge. This past winter, the Resort and Cedar Breaks partnered to provide space, staff and hot chocolate for visitors to attend several “Star Parties” in Brian Head. These events showcased the incredible night sky resources available at over 10,000 feet elevation. Hundreds of skiers and residents from Brian Head and nearby towns attended, to experience ranger laser guided “constellation tours”, and to see deep space objects through the large telescopes.  Watch for future updates as these partners continue to plan together to find more “win-win” opportunities to protect the incredible resources at Cedar Breaks, while providing economic development opportunities at Brian Head, and throughout Iron County and Southern Utah. 

A special thanks to Bret Howser, Brian Head Town Manager and Paul Roelandt, Cedar Breaks Superintendent for their contributions.

For more information about Brian Head go here

For more informationa about Cedar Breaks National Monument go here

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