Oral Histories

John William (Jack) West


Jack West

In addition to pioneering some of the trails …….the Poison Spider was one, and, boy, that was a rough one, and it is still rough. Ann doesn’t like it. But, in addition to that, and Behind the Rocks, let’s see what else? The Kane Creek Trail, instead of going over Hoorah Pass, went back and came back on up; I helped pioneer that. But, in addition to that, I led the Jeep Safari for three or four years, led at least one trail. And those were real fun deals. You had to take care of all of the needs of the people following you and figure out when to stop, and lunch, but it was fun.

Another activity that involved this back country was before the Jeep Safari started, because it was not too long after I came here, that we got acquainted with Bates Wilson and Lloyd Pierson, out at the Arches. Bates was Superintendent and Lloyd was the Chief Ranger. They were the two main honchos out there (incidentally, Bates and Lloyd turned out to be real good friends) and we were concerned, amongst ourselves about people not knowing where to go when they got in the back country. This was kind of tied in with the Jeep Safari deal. So Lloyd would grout out the signs and then paint the letters white, like the ones I have in the yard that you guys have seen, the Looking Glass Rock. But he did them for Dead Horse Point and Grandview Point, Looking Glass Rock, up the river to Fisher Towers. Those were the main ones. We had the one on the highway at the turn-off. I would take Andersen with me and we would take the flatbed truck which was a ‘55 GMC ¾ ton with a flatbed on; we would take that and haul the signs out, take shovels and picks and bars, and we would put them down right where they were visible. Ray and I put up the first sign pointing towards Dead Horse Point before the highway department ever put anything up. Then, on the way out to Dead Horse, we had some arrows pointing up, to let them know they were on the right lane, right road. Then at the juncture between there and Grandview Point and Dead Horse Point, we had signs in there.

Q: And, this was on your own?

On our own, this was just on our own. No, we didn’t get (anything) but the Chamber wanted it done, but I wasn’t concerned about having any Chamber help. Just that Lloyd would make them, with Bates’ permission, and Ray and I would take them out and put them down. Like I mentioned, the ones out to Looking Glass Rock so it really helped the people. And the one at Looking Glass Rock, we had the only sign on the highway there for years before the highway department finally came around and put in signs. But that was a real fun adventure, and then it let us see some of the country again ourselves. So that was good and it benefited the area.

The background of the whole situation with me was that I thought this country was so beautiful that everybody should see it. After we made our first trip here from Provo, every year we would bring a group of people down. That was my idea in Chamber work and Travel Council and all was that this was just too pretty not to have everybody see it. That’s why I got involved in all these things, and I really enjoyed them. I finally had a lot of support from the community.

I mentioned earlier that we eventually did get a closed circuit TV station which has expanded into a beautiful cable setup now. But during that time that we were waiting on TV, we did have a real good radio station (KURA) and it was active for a long time. Local people sponsored it, and one of the main announcers was Les Erbs. He had his news broadcast a couple of times a day, and he really worked at it. Les was a real scrounger for getting news. But it was a good station.

Well, as a result of my activity in the Chamber of Commerce and the Travel Council, I was involved a lot with the City and County politics. In fact, the Travel Council at that time was directly under the County Commission. They were the political entity that had control of it and was able to handle the tax money that came from the tourist tax which was used to pay off that Travel Council building. With these contacts, I became interested in politics, couldn’t help it. In ‘65 I had some pressure from friends and acquaintances to run for City Council and I decided to do it. Sam was pushing me, Dick Allen, all the people in Rotary were concerned, and they were behind me. I decided to run in the fall of ‘65 and I was elected to the City Council. I went into office the lst of January in 1966 and then with an appointment in the following election. I was on the Council for eight years, actually. During that entire time, Bunce was Mayor, and the City was in dire need of expansion for water and sewer, streets, all the infrastructure. It worked out real good. We got a super water system. We drilled a bunch of wells and utilized the spring south of town. We put in two more million-gallon tanks (we had one at 500,000), but during that time, we put in two more one million gallon tanks. That brought our water supply up to really good with all the subdivisions that were being built, or had just been built, or been built a while before such as the one here, the Walker subdivision, and then Mountainview subdivision. Of course, we were in Walker and Ray bought a home in Mountainview. We just didn’t have adequate facilities. But, in addition to the water, we expanded and built the new sewer system. When we got those all finished, we were able to handle the town as it was at that time and were prepared for an expansion up to possibly 10,000 people. So it was quite interesting.

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