PROVO Pinning its hopes on gathering community donations, a restoration group says the tram at Bridal Veil Falls could rise again from the ashes of recent wildfires.
Teen voices could one day be heard belting out Shakespearean quotations over the roar of crashing water from a proposed amphitheater beneath the falls. Sightseers could one day dine in an outdoor restaurant in full view of the majestic scenery. And residents could own part of the falls for a $99 contribution to Bridal Veil Falls LLC and Scenic Canyon Preservation Society to help the organizations restore Bridal Veil Falls to its heyday.
"This is a crown jewel," said Brady Harper, of Bridal Veil Falls LLC, of the area. "This is as great as Delicate Arch."
Harper grew up five minutes from the 600-foot-high falls and is sad because many of the facilities have been destroyed in recent years because of avalanches and wildfires. Harper said he, like others, has hoped for a day when the area would be brought "back to where it should be.
"Instead of hoping and dreaming, I just started doing," he said.
About 16 months ago Harper and his partner, Robin Roller, entered into negotiations with the Grow family who own the area and operated a restaurant and tram line there for 20 years to buy the land in order to restore and revitalize the area. On June 15, they entered a contract to buy the property.
A month later, a human-caused fire swept through and destroyed the upper tram building. A short time later, the tram cables had to be cut completely.
As a result of the fire, Harper said, they've decided to accelerate their plans to let the community know that something is being done to restore the falls. He said they first plan to
restore the tram, build an amphitheater, bring in infrastructure for future buildings and improve trails and landscaping around the falls. He said one day a plaza and outdoor restaurant could be built in the area to accommodate sightseers and hikers. He calls his plans "nuclear-warhead-nuts" proportioned.
"Sometimes I wonder, 'What have I gotten myself into?"' he jokes.
Aside from hurdles involved in obtaining the proper permits from Utah County, Harper said the organization needs to raise $10 million to $20 million for the project. That's why the organization is offering ownership in the falls for $99 per donation.
"This has to be a community-involved process for it to succeed," he said.
Provo resident Steven Grow, 63, is the brother of David Grow, who operated the tram and restaurant many years ago. He said the family was disheartened when the fire struck but he's elated to see this project going forward.
"I'm excited for any and all efforts to make Bridal Veil Falls whole," he said.The organization hopes to begin construction at the beginning of next spring or summer. More information is available at www.refreshthefalls.com.