Local History:  Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter

In 1957, a family friend, Leland S. Swaner purchased the Spring Creek Angus Ranch which he continued to operate for the next 35 years. I have very fond memories of visiting Park City in 1961 and riding in a horse-pulled sleigh with my younger sister Anne and Mr. Swaner for miles, from what is now known as the Swaner Old Stone House (which sits below Glenwild) to the McPolin Barn. Click the link below for the history of the Swaner Preserve which in the 1600s, Native Americans honored as a sacred place by naming it Hole in the Sky.

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

1860: A new Pony Express route passes directly in front of what is now the Swaner Old Stone House.

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: Utah Central railway completes the first train tracks connecting Salt Lake City and Park City along East Canyon Creek and through what is now 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.

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 was 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.

1996-1999: The Preserve grows to more than 1,000 acres, thanks to the donation of seven additional parcels of land.

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

2003: Wallin Farm is purchased (now known as the Farm at Swaner), adding 107 acres to the Preserve.

2005: The organization’s name is formally changed to the Swaner Nature Preserve. Fourth and fifth grade field trips are launched.

2006: October 3: The community turns out for 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.

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

2010: Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter makes largest gift in Utah State University’s history.  The gift transfers the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter to USU ownership and oversight.  Swaner’s mission to preserve, educate, and nurture will continue with increased programming, research opportunities, and satellite education.


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