Emery County: a Place Of Endless Possibilities
|Landscapes like this abound in the Swell just 20 miles below Castle Dale.|
Oh, the possibilities. Emery County is rich in history and the landscapes are unsurpassed anywhere. Where we will go and what we'll become is virtually unknown, but it doesn't hurt to dream and scheme.
One Emery County dreamer, Owen Price has been wandering the San Rafael Swell for most of his 92 years. He also spent a great deal of time out there constructing roads to the uranium mines and other places. He feels the San Rafael Swell is a very special place and worthy of more recognition than it currently receives.
He would like to see a state park put on the western side of the Swell. An area just below Castle Dale within 20 miles of town, is according to Price, "An area of exquisite beauty." It holds many hoodoo type rock formations similar to Goblin Valley and would be an outstanding place to build picnic and restroom facilities. "The hiking would be great around that area and activities could be developed around the river with rafting, float trips and other activities." Price also envisions nature walks, wildlife observation and fishing. He said a lot of people venture far from home for activities which we have in our own backyard. He would like to see better facilities built closer to home so people can enjoy the Swell with a few amenities.
Price has been a longtime guide on the Swell with many stories to tell of cowboys and outlaws as well as information about the geological formations.
One such trip which Price remembers well is the time he led troubled teenagers on a tour and campout of the Swell. He received a package of letters from those teenagers involved with the trip where they offered their thanks. One letter reads, "Thanks for hanging out with us at the San Rafael Swell. It was fun when you showed us the Indian pictographs and telling us about how it began. Thanks for showing us the cross and the cabin. I enjoyed it a whole bunch. This is the first time I've ever got to do something like this and thanks for being a part of it for me."
Price has also been involved with leading scout groups from out of the area and showing them what the Swell is all about. One scout wrote, "Thanks for showing us all of the places on the San Rafael Swell. My favorite part about it though was when you let me ride a horse for my first time. I really appreciate it. I will never forget the nickname you gave me, Catfish, because I had a big mouth and no brain. Well I am working on getting a brain now, thanks for your recommendation. The next time I am down there I will stop by and say hello. Thanks for everything."
Price thinks that tourists are already visiting our area in record numbers and it's time to capitalize on it in a better way. Swell tours, horseback rides and other outdoor activities could be advertised and promoted to bring more people into the area.
One idea he has for developing the state park would be to organize youth groups and others to donate their time to make the project work. Price believes the San Rafael Swell is a place of opportunity for our area. Most people even those living within the county aren't aware of the jewel lying just to our south, the San Rafael Swell.
Price himself is a local jewel and at 92 he says he's not sure how much longer he'll be around. When he passes on the knowledge he has of the Swell and his memories of the happenings there will be lost. But, he would like to spend the years he has left in promoting the Swell and being of use as a guide for groups. He would like to see more local youth groups and scouts etc. take advantage of the opportunities afforded in the San Rafael Swell and to become more knowledgeable about it and help to preserve and protect the Swell while still making good use of the many activities it has to offer. Contact Price if you're interested in having his knowledgeable presence at a tour of the area.