LOGAN — A Utah State University student has received a grant to study rural towns along a scenic southern Utah road.
Kim Harris, a junior, will examine towns along Utah's Scenic Byway 12, located in the southeast corner of the state traveling across the Colorado Plateau,connecting Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Park and crossing part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
She will do so with the support of USU and an Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunities Grant she received for her proposal “‘New West’ Development for Remote Western Towns: A Case Study of Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 Corridor.”
Harris' goal is to combat the dilemma of towns that are struggling to preserve their agricultural heritage while also maintaining economic stability.
“Because the towns along the Byway 12 are traditionally agricultural and mining communities, the (Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument) designation limits the access to many natural resources such as rangeland and mining sites,” Harris wrote in her proposal. “The traditional ‘old West,’ resource-based economy in these towns has been greatly challenged.
On one hand, local residents are struggling with the recessional economy. On the other hand, the growing visitor population disturbs their rural life. The recreational activities remain weak in bringing in profits to these towns.”
She hopes to fill the gap between the current services in place and the development opportunity of environmentally friendly recreational services that have the potential of bringing needed revenue to each town.