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Desert garden, artificial slot canyon will offer education on conservation

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Posted at 10:27 PM, Mar 28, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-29 00:27:27-04

ST. GEORGE, Utah - Work is underway at a new St. George desert garden, designed to put visitors in a slot canyon, without the long hikes.

The Red Hills Desert Garden is a collaboration between the Washington County Water Conservancy District, the city of St. George, The Virgin River Program and the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.

WCWCD associate general manager Corey Cram said the conservation garden is on schedule for completion.

“We’ve completed a lot of the features,” Cram said. “We’re just finishing up with the final grading, and then we’re going to be moving on to the next phase.”

The park will primarily serve as an educational place for residents and visitors to learn about desert landscapes but also features a number of unique additions. Among those, a slot canyon replica and a stream designed to mimic the natural habitat.

“That stream is going to be fed by water from the Virgin River,” Cram said. “And it’s going to be stocked with fish from the Virgin River. This will be an example of where there will be a large viewing area."

Even though the major construction is done, Cram said the work has slowed down, and that’s to give the community a chance to be involved. A lot of the plants will be donated, and Boy Scouts will do trail projects, that way it really is a community park.

The water district says while they have other conservation parks, this one is meant to be distinct, taking the visual representations deeper, with additional components

“It’s the only place in southern Utah, probably the only place around, where you’ll find water conservation being taught and explained, endangered fish recovery efforts being taught and demonstrated, and also information about dinosaur fossils that were found on this very site,” Cram said.

The Red Hills Desert Garden is expected to be complete this fall. The water district is still looking for people who want to be involved, for more information, contact them at (435) 673-3617.