by Martha Jevsevar, Director of Outdoor Recreation
“The environment is where we all meet, where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.” – Lady Bird Johnson
This famous quote is more than 50 years old yet, like all timeless quotes, it is still relevant and meaningful today. To those of us working in the Outdoor Recreation department at Red Mountain Resort, we are keenly aware of this. Creating fun vacation memories for our guests on the valley trails, the sandstone peaks, and the peaceful lake waters is our goal every day.
One of my favorite valley trails is located in the Pine Valley Recreation Area, which is part of the Dixie National Forest. This area is on the western side of the Pine Valley Mountains and sits at 6,900 feet elevation, making it a wonderful reprieve from the summer heat of St. George.
The path I most enjoy wanders along the Santa Clara River (actually more of a babbling alpine stream) in the shade of the ponderosa and oak forest. Other views include rugged Gardner Peak and the Pine Valley Reservoir. It’s a lovely hike in the summer and a fun snowshoe adventure in the winter!
The Candy Cliffs are a wonderful hidden gem. Beloved by locals, this wilderness area is also part of the Dixie National Forest, yet the environment is entirely different from Pine Valley. The wave-like red and white sandstone cliffs are gorgeous in and of themselves, but in addition, hikers are treated to panoramic views of the Colorado Plateau, including Zion National Park and Black Ridge Peak.
Our guides and guests love kayaking the tributaries that feed the reservoir at Quail Creek State Park. Accessible only during high-water years, these tranquil tree-covered waterways are a special treat which Mother Nature has made available to us this season. On a recent trip there, we enjoyed visits by owls and many other bird species. It’s a delightful non-desert experience only minutes from the resort.
These Instagram-worthy adventures also offer us the opportunity to share facts about the fragility of our desert environment. It is my sincere belief that knowledge is power, and power comes with knowledge. In other words, when we know better, we can do better!
Our guiding teams discuss the Leave No Trace principles of outdoor ethics at the beginning of each adventure. Did you know that this seemingly self-evident policy applies not only to carrying out our garbage, but also to music, e-cigarettes, drones, and cell phones (other than for pictures)? These things should be left at home, to be enjoyed in the privacy of our own backyards rather than disrupting the serenity of the environment we all share.
The responsible stewardship and preservation of our natural resources is a personal passion of everyone on the Red Mountain guiding team. We all recognize the importance of packing out garbage, staying on marked trails, and being respectful to fellow explorers.
We encourage our guests to be mindful of the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of Utah’s beautiful parks and recreation areas. Allow your senses to absorb as much as possible! Fully engaging will enhance the moment – and the memories.
Whether you enjoy gentle walks along the valley floor, scrambling across sandstone peaks, or paddling on calm reservoirs, our hope is that the beautiful environment of southwestern Utah will become a “mutual interest” for all who visit. We are in a unique position to share our passion as well as our pristine surroundings with our guests on a daily basis. And as Lady Bird so eloquently stated, we all have the responsibility to protect these interests for future generations.
About Martha Jevsevar
Martha Jevsevar joined the Red Mountain team in August 2014 as an adventure guide before assuming the role of Director of Outdoor Recreation. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, her passion for travel and the outdoors developed during backpacking trips through the Tetons and Allegheny Mountains, and she quickly fell in love with southern Utah’s dramatic landscapes. Her professional experience includes business management, accounting, and serving on community advisory boards.