Preserve History

1600s: Indians honor a sacred place by naming it Hole in the Sky. Today, that same land is known as the Swaner Preserve.

1847: Brigham Young and the Mormon settlers pass through what is now the Swaner Preserve on their way to the Salt Lake Valley.

1848-1850
: Parley P. Pratt explores the area from Salt Lake Valley over the summit into the large high mountain meadow that is now the heart of the Swaner Preserve. This high meadow basin soon became known as "Parley's Park." Parley’s toll road was built from Parley's Park westerly, through what is now the Swaner Preserve and into the Salt Lake Valley.

1860: Parley’s Canyon is the route chosen for a new Pony Express route that passes directly in front of what is now the Swaner Old Stone House.

1868: Silver is discovered and miners come to Parley’s Park: Population 164.

1872: George and Rhoda Snyder name the area Parley's Park City, soon shortened to Park City. The area surrounding the present day Swaner Preserve will eventually be known as Snyderville Basin.

1872-1890: Kimball Brothers Stage Line operates between Park City and Salt Lake City through the heart of today’s Swaner Preserve, establishing Kimball’s Junction.

1889
: Park City’s population reaches more than 5,000. Utah Central railway completes the first train tracks connecting Salt Lake City and Park City along East Canyon Creek and through what is now the Swaner Preserve.

1890: Ice ponds are established between Gorgoza and Kimball's in Parleys Park along East Canyon Creek, on what is now the Swaner Preserve. These ponds were "harvested" for ice during the winter months, the ice being stored in ice houses.

1898: Park City population approaches 10,000.

1917: Mountain Dell Dam is constructed, the first large scale damming of East Canyon Creek.

1927: An oiled and improved road from the mouth of Parley’s canyon to Mountain Dell Reservoir is proposed and approved to being worked on. The improved road is to be extended beyond the summit to Kimball's Junction where it will branch out in the directions of Park City, Coalville and Heber. The project is completed in December 1930 at a total cost of $57,075.

1930: Lincoln Highway connects Kimball’s Junction to Silver Creek Junction to the East, splitting what is now the north and south parts of the Swaner Preserve.

1938
: The road in Parley’s Canyon is improved and designated U.S. Highway 40 from Salt Lake City through Kimball’s Junction, separating what are now the north and south properties of the Swaner Preserve.

1951: Park City population plummets to 1,150.

1957: Leland S. Swaner purchases the Spring Creek Angus Ranch, which he continues to operate for the next 35 years. Originally constructed in the late 1800s, the ranch is located on the north side of the roadway, complete with a barn and other ranch buildings.

1969-1973: Interstate-80 is constructed through Kimball’s Junction, permanently bisecting the future Swaner Preserve.

1993: The Spring Creek Angus Ranch Partnership donates 190 acres of land in memory of Leland Swaner, establishing the Swaner Memorial Park Foundation.

1996: Ranch Place Associates donate 83 acres of land along the Preserve’s southern boundary.

1997: Jack and Helen Jarman donate 21 acres, establishing the Preserve’s western boundary. Double "M" Partnership and Jim Lewis donate 210 acres, completing the southern and eastern boundaries. BlackHawk Ranch donates 375 acres on the north side of I-80, the current site of the Swaner trail system.

1998: Anonymous conservation buyers donate 94 acres. Another 22-acre site is purchased in June.

1999: A donation of 120 acres extends the eastern boundary to the north along Kimball Creek and Old Ranch Road.

2001: A Federal Wetland Reserve Program easement is established on 533 acres of critical wetland habitat on the east side of the Preserve. Over the next three years, natural ponds are re-created on the southern end of the wet meadow, agricultural ditches are filled, and natural stream corridors are restored, returning the wetlands to their natural condition.

2003: Wallin Farm is purchased (now known as the Swaner Farm), consisting of 107 acres and finalizing the Preserve’s boundaries.

2004: MJM donates a conservation easement on 35 acres of land on the north side of I-80, protecting it in perpetuity.

2005
: The organization’s name is formally changed to the Swaner Nature Preserve. The Swaner Nature Preserve launches annual fourth and fifth grade field trips.

2006
: A Comprehensive Site Inventory is launched: The first formal, scientific assessment of the Preserve’s flora, fauna, cultural and hydrologic resources. The Swaner Preserve is chosen as the site for the re-introduction of the Columbia Spotted Frog, a species of concern in Utah.

October 3, 2006: The Ceremonial Groundbreaking for the construction of the Swaner EcoCenter. County Commissioner Sally Elliott, Mayor Dana Williams, writer Stephen Trimble, folksinger Hal Canon, and founder Sumner Swaner are keynote speakers at the memorable occasion.

September 2008: The Swaner EcoCenter Grand Opening. The organization’s name legally changes to the Swaner EcoCenter, encompassing the EcoCenter, Swaner Preserve, Swaner Trails and Swaner Farm.