New collaborative panel offers map of best of Southern Utah; Panguitch Visitor Center to host unveiling

Regional partners meet to view full-sized draft of the panel on the brick wall at the Panguitch Visitor Center. Photo ID (L-R) Dutch Deutschlander, Chairman of Utah’s Patchwork Parkway, Shannon Eberhard and Bryan Larsen with Cedar Breaks National Monument.  Photo courtesy of Utah’s Patchwork Parkway. Background photo is state Route 14 just outside of Cedar. Courtesy Cedar City - Brian Head Tourism Bureau.

PANGUITCH – Visitors will be able to more easily connect to more activities and places as they travel through southwest Utah, thanks to a new interpretive panel at the Panguitch Visitor Center.

Flyer announces the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new interpretive panel at the Panguitch Visitor Center | Flyer courtesy Cedar City – Brian Head Tourism Bureau, St. George News / Cedar City News | Click to enlarge

The new 4-by-8-foot sign, titled Southern Utah’s Regional Byways, is scheduled to be unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Panguitch Visitors Center located at 800 North Main (U.S. Highway 89). The public is invited to attend the free event.

According to a press release announcing the ceremony, those scheduled to be among the guest speakers at Saturday’s event include Michael Mower, the deputy chief of staff for Gov. Gary Herbert’s Office, and Garfield County Commissioner David Tebbs.

The new sign is the result of a collaborative effort by the National and State Scenic Byways and National Heritage Highway 89.

“These byways and highways have come together to create this regional visitor experience by ignoring byway and county boundaries and focused on meeting the needs of the visitor who will be exploring our state,” Nancy Dalton, Utah’s Patchwork Parkway Byway coordinator, said in the press release.

The interpretive panel loops through the five national and state Scenic Byways with Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Highway 89, tying them together creating a figure-eight looping route where visitors can access a variety of activities, including biking, hiking, camping, fishing, ATV trails, horseback riding, wildflower viewing, wildlife viewing, scenic vistas, geological features, dark night sky viewing of stars, museums, historical sites and plenty of cultural and community festivals. 

The panel also shows connecting routes to three national parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef; two national monuments: Cedar Breaks and Grand Staircase Escalante; and two state parks: Pioneer Homestead and Kodachrome Basin.

Hikers in Bryce Canyon, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Utah’s Patchwork Parkway, St. George News / Cedar City News

“Visitors traveling through the area will recognize they are in a special place and will feel a sense of continuity and recurring themes,” said Monte Bona, director of Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area. “They will also recognize connections between residents and the heritage environment where residents create their products, conduct their tours and provide a heritage dining and lodging experience.”

Funding for the project came from a Federal Highways Administration matching grant, which leveraged the local byways 20 percent funds with 80 percent federal FHWA funds.

This interpretive panel is the last part of a $282,695 project that consisted of developing an Interpretative Master Plan and three kiosk sites with eight interpretive panels along state Route 143 – Utah’s Patchwork Parkway – and an interpretive panel at the Panguitch Visitor Center.  

Mountain bikers on the Lava Flow Trail in Cedar City, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Marc Piscotty, courtesy of Utah’s Patchwork Parkway, St. George News / Cedar City News

All five scenic byways included on the sign were designated as State Scenic Byways in 1989 when Utah started its state scenic byways program to promote unique scenic and cultural routes in rural Utah. The  Federal Highway Administration then created a national scenic byway program in 1992 called “America’s Byways,” which included two levels of National Byway and the elite All-American Road designations.

“The panel is a great asset to our scenic byways,” said Falyn Owens, Garfield County Tourism director. “We hope our visitors will continue to stop and learn more about the wonderful things they can see and do along the Utah’s Patchwork Parkway, Scenic Byway 12 All-American Road  as well as the rest of our area.”

For more information, contact Nancy Dalton at 435-463-3735. To see an electronic version of the full panel, click here.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.


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