Monday, October 25, 2010

Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area working to attract more visitors

The director of a heritage area association in central Utah wants to raise the organization’s profile and increase tourism within its boundaries.“We’ve got a lot of brick and mortar work going on,” said Monte Bona, director of the Heritage Highway Alliance, which manages the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area. “Concurrent with that, we need to work on our interpretive mission.” In other words, Bona is getting the word out about what the heritage area can offer visitors, so they will take advantage of the area’s historical treasures.

An example is the interpretive center in Escalante, which is completing its first phase of construction, which includes signage, building infrastructure and a mural. The MPNHA contributed $100,000 toward the center’s completion.

The alliance also contributed $50,000 toward the heritage garden being developed in Manti across the highway from the Manti Temple and helped secure a $190,000 earmark from Senator Bob Bennett for the project.Bona hopes to see interpretive centers at Big Rock Candy Mountain in Sevier County and possibly nearby Marysvale. He also says the alliance may soon fund two interpretive trails within the MPNHA, although he did not want to reveal the details before the deal is inked. Sanpete Messenger