Skip to content
Secondary Content

Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks Report, 1923

Report by F. A. Waugh, Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks, 1923

Dixie National Forest

Cedar Breaks Recreation Area

“Cedar Breaks and Vicinity, in the Sevier division of the Dixie National Forest, constitutes a recreation area of first importance. Its recreation value and its importance as scenery are attested by various efforts made in past years by sundry parties to create a national park here or to attach Cedar Breaks to Zion Canyon National Park [sic].

“The scenery of this area is in most ways similar to that of Bryce Canyon and conditions are much the same, aside from the National Monument status of Bryce, so that similar policies should prevail in respect to both physical plans and administration. Indeed I would frankly raise the question whether it would not be wise to give to Cedar Breaks the same administrative status by proclamation of a national monument here; or by the delimitation and recognition of a definite recreation area, as in the instance of the Columbia Gorge Park Division of the Oregon National Forest.

“During my recent visit to Cedar Breaks in company with Assistant District Forester R. E. Gery and Supervisor William M. Mace a program of physical improvements was discussed and agreed upon as located in the accompanying map and as enumerated in the following memorandum:

Estimate of Improvements

  1. Lookout Point, Road 2,000 ft. $500
  2. Rainbow Point, Foot Trail 1,500 ft. $25

Railing                                                                         $10

  1. Parowan Campground

Road, 2000 ft.                                                             $500

Water Development                                                    $50

4 tables                                                                        $30

2 toilets                                                                       $50

Fencing 120 rods                                                        $180

  1. Cedar Breaks Pack Trail

3 miles new construction                                            $750

  1. Distant View Powell N. F.

Parking space and clearing                                          $10

  1. Desert View Road 1,000 ft. $20
  2. Forest View, Parking $20
  3. Sunset Public Campground

Fencing 150 rods                                                        $225

Water development                                                     $100

2 toilets                                                                       $50

8 tables                                                                        $60

  1. Sunset Point, Bench $5
  2. Point Perfection, Log railing

25 rods                                                                                    $40

  1. Buckskin Knob

Platform with map and alidade                                  $75

Trail to Point Supreme

3,000 ft.                                                                      $100

  1. Point Supreme, Benches $15

“These estimates of cost are made by Supervisor Mace and checked by Mr. Gery and Mr. Waugh.

“Certain of these improvements should clearly be given preference over others. Thus the development of the Sunset public campground is of the most immediate importance and should proceed without delay. The Parowan Campground may not be required for a year or two. Within a few years a third public campground should be developed, as the demand becomes evident, at a point near the divergence of the Cedar Breaks road from the Cedar Long Valley road, about three miles south of the rim. The improvements recommended at Buckskin Knob will not be needed until the hotel now proposed by the Union Pacific Railroad near this point has been erected.

“All details of these improvements, together with their order of preference, have been fully discussed by Mr. Gery, Supervisor Mace, and myself, the recommendations, herewith offered may be regarded as our joint opinion, and it may be further assumed that the prosecution of the work can be left in the hands of the Supervisor, the various items to be carried through as fast as funds are available.

“Reference has been made to a proposed hotel or lunch pavilion to be erected by the Union Pacific Railroad or a subsidiary corporation. A preliminary application is already on file for this concession, and the expectation is entertained that a permit will be granted as soon as details can be arranged. On August 27 while our party was at Cedar Breaks we were visited by Mr. Samuel C. Lancaster, park engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad and by Mr. H. C. Mann, construction engineer, at which time the preferred site for the proposed hotel was examined and discussed pretty fully. There appeared to be unanimous agreement upon this site which is the same shown on the accompanying map. The details of location and development as discussed in this conference have my full approval.

“No serious problems of administration upon the Cedar Breaks area are in sight; but it may be proper to foresee the need of additional ranger services upon this territory as concessionaires put new enterprises into operation, as tourist travel increases and as new demands arise from these sources. . . .

“Meanwhile it appears that some improvement is possible in the practical technique of road repair and maintenance, and I would urge that special attention now be directed to this phase of the problem. In particular, it seems to me that the use of the ‘split-log drag’ is strongly indicated on many of these roads, more especially where a clay surface predominates. This implement, now well known and widely used in other parts of the country, seems to be unknown in southern Utah. I would particularly recommend that the Forest Service, through the District Office at Ogden, arrange to have early and thorough tests made of the split-log drag on several sections of road within this territory. The new road along the rim at Cedar Breaks seems to me a specially favorable place for an initial experiment. Information concerning the construction and use of the split-log drag is easily available through Department of Agriculture sources. . . .”

Very sincerely yours,

Frank A. Waugh

Recreation Engineer


Frank A. Waugh, “Bryce Canyon National Monument and Cedar Breaks: Studies of Physical Development,” 1923, in Thomas G. Alexander, “Region IV Forest Service Research collection,” MSS 1609, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, box 50, fd 18.