A piece of Ogden Valley history has been saved.
Since its unveiling in 1984, the Indian Trails Monument, which recounts and commemorates the past, has stood at the top of the North Ogden Divide as a reminder of the network of trails’ long history.
But in 2010, after weeds had grown around the site and lime stained some of the plaques, the U.S. Forest Service gave an ultimatum to the Ogden Pioneer Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers, who, along with the Boy Scouts of America, erected the monument.
“They sent us a letter that if we don’t fix this thing up, we’re going to tear it down,” said Carlton Schultz, director of public relations for SUP.
The land the monument is on is government property.
Some of the plaques had been mounted on the monument too early, and lime leeched out and ran down the front of the monument before the mortar had set, staining the plaques. The members tried several times to clean them, but nothing worked, Schutlz said.
They had to buy new plaques to replace the stained ones. Even with the plaque supplier giving the chapter the same discounts it gives to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the forest service, the refurbishing cost almost $3,000.
As word spread, an Eagle Scout named Andrew Crookston, who is now 18, heard from his stake president about an opportunity for a service project.
With permission from the forest service, Crookston and his Scout group, Troop 257 of Ogden, cut down and sprayed the weeds in front of the monument. They then laid two tons of road base donated by Staker-Parson and washed the upper plaques.
But there was still the matter of money. Crookston went around his neighborhood, asking former Scouts and ward members for donations.
Slowly and steadily, his efforts worked. From fall 2010 to the following spring, Crookston raised $900 for the new plaques.
The SUP chapter had agreed to match whatever Crookston raised and came up with $665 from the chapter’s funds, as well as another $400 in personal donations from chapter members.
The Stewart Education Foundation also made a donation of $1,000.
Between the foundation, the chapter and Crookston, the cost was covered.
“It was a really cool honor to be restoring it” after all these years, Crookston said. His grandfather was the Scoutmaster of the original troop that collected all of the rocks that adorn the monument.
Now hikers and passers-by can read the story of the trails on brand new plaques.
According to the plaques on the monument, the Shoshone tribe, who were hunter-gatherers, used the trails to find their way to berries, roots and pine nuts.
“The monument was put up to really honor the Shoshone Indians. They had blazed the trails in five different areas,” Schultz said.
Eventually pathfinders, trappers and explorers making their way west followed the worn Indian trails to New Hole, which is what Ogden Valley used to be called.
One of Brigham Young’s exploration parties used the same trails to find places to settle, according to the monument. By 1856, the settlers were grazing cattle in Ogden Valley, and the next year the first herd houses went up where Eden is now.
The Sons of Utah Pioneers plan to unveil the refurbished monument at the spot at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
The Boy Scouts, the forest service and the family of the American Indians who dedicated the monument in 1984, as well as the public, are all invited to the unveiling.
Frank Timbimboo, a member of the Shoshone tribe, helped dedicate the monument in 1984, according to a program from the dedication. He has since died, and his wife, Helen Timbimboo, also of the Shoshone tribe, died about two weeks ago.