New attraction will offer desert education in St. George

Posted at 11:11 PM, May 29, 2013

SAINT GEORGE, Utah – Construction on a new attraction aimed at teaching residents about the native plants and animals in the desert climates of St. George is underway.

The Red Desert Hills Community Gardens is a project of the Washington County Water Conservancy District.

Associate General Manager Barbara Jelle said the 5-acre park will offer educational opportunities to visitors.

“It’s set up so you can have classrooms come in, visit here, learn here,” she said. “We expect to liaison in a variety of ways with the community.”

Jelle said they have taken great care to make the details of the slot canyon they are constructing seem very real. The water running through it is actually from the nearby Virgin River.

“It”s designed to experience a canyon country experience along with viewing our native fishes in a gallery through these fiber glass panels that are being installed in the canyon wall,” she said.

The water conservancy district already operates a garden in Tonaquint Park, which provides landscaping tips regarding water conservation. Officials said the new project is emphasizing education while spotlighting the natural desert environment.

Jelle said that native environment landscaping is often embraced by residents, which is good for water conservation efforts.

“More people are putting in more desert landscape in at least parts of their yards,” she said.

The project is estimated to cost $1 million, and the park will be shared by the City of St. George and Washington County.