SALT LAKE CITY — A monument to the last covered wagon expedition in United States history could become a state park under Utah lawmakers' proposal.
HB63, co-sponsored by Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, would authorize the Bureau of Land Management and the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation to acquire the Hole in the Rock area in Garfield County on the western rim of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and create a new state park.
The area includes a trail used by Mormon pioneers to reach southeastern Utah.
"They took their wagons down to a little crevice in a hole down to the Colorado River," Dayton said. "They made an incredible journey."
One of Dayton's ancestors, Platte Lyman, was the leader of the Mormon pioneer expedition that traversed the narrow trail in the 1880s and continued through uncharted Utah territory, the Colorado River and then settled in the Four Corners area, she said.
The new park would complement the reconstruction efforts at the Bluff Fort Historic Site, which marks where the expedition ended, Dayton said.
"In some places this is very barren and, for some people, forsaken land," she said, "and to other people it is quite sacred and spectacular."
The measure, co-sponsored by Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, received unanimous support in the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee, and now advances to the full Senate for further consideration.