Our History

In the late 1800's severe flooding began in the valleys below Utah's Wasatch Plateau.

Early photos of flooding in Manti, Utah.
These two photos were reproduced from glass negatives.
The emulsion and photographs were made by a photographer livng in Manti

Farms, fields, irrigation systems, roads, power and railroad lines were washed out or covered with mud, trees, and large boulders. The region's economy was in a shambles. Many of the early settlers who had endured harsh winters and wars with the Utes began leaving.

The floods were too much!

Responding to requests from local and State officials, the Federal Government established the Utah Experiment Station in 1912 under the direction of Dr. Arthur Sampson.

The Station in September, 1924
The gate in 1914

The Utah Experiment Station, which later became known as the Great Basin Experiment Station, was created as a research facility whose mission was to find the causes and a remedy for the summertime floods that had been devastating the communities and farms below.

The causes of flooding were determined to be overgrazing and uncontrolled timber harvesting.

A "Forest Reserve" was established in the early 1900's; grazing was restricted and the flooding eventually stopped.

An early photograph (1927 showing deep gullies cut into the face of the Wasatch Plateau as a result of overgrazing.
Terracing was cut into the mountainside to slow the runoff above the city of Mt. Pleasant, Utah

For the following 60 years, the Station was in the forefront of watershed and rangeland research.

The findings from the reserach have been used world-wide.

In time, researchers took their data to more modern facilities in urban areas of the State. Although research continued on the mountain, the old station sat virtually unused and fell into disrepair.

Determined to preserve this important part of the community's and the Nation's heritage, Snow College, the USDA Forest Service, and the city of Ephraim began working together to find a way to preserve and use the facilities. Through the foresight and vision of those involved, the old Station was given an expanded role and rededicated in 1992 as the Great Basin Environmental Education Center.