Elder Parley P. Pratt reported to the High Council at Great Salt Lake City his exploration of Parley’s park and vicinity, with a view of making a shorter and easier road for transportation and travel from said city to the Weber or Bear river. Subsequently he reported further explorations on said route, assisted by Daniel Spencer and John Van Cott who accompanied him.
Elder Parley P. Pratt reported to Pres. John Smith and council in G.S.L. Valley as follows:
Great Salt Lake City, June 30, 1848.
President Smith and the council.
The following is s report to your honorable body on a short visit to explore a portion of our country but little know. We left the fort on Wednesday on the 28th of June, accompanied by Brother Workman, and we passed along the emigrant road to the foot of the first mountain, 10 miles. After crossing the north fork of Canyon creek we took up the south fork of the same traveling nearly due east. This seemed to lead more southward and to lead in very lofty mountains, densely covered with forests of fir trees. We followed up a small branch which came in from the east which I call the middle fork.
The country was good for pasturage, well watered and consisting of hills and vallies partly covered with timbers. There was a very good passage for a wagon road, the ascent to the summit being very gradual.
On reaching the summit, we descended by a very gradual and easy passage, among groves of fir, pine and aspen, mixed with open country, for a mile or two, when we found ourselves on a main branch of the Weber river, and 16 miles from the city.
Passing up an open valley along said stream for about four miles we came to a beautiful meadow or park nearly circular, averaging 3 miles in length and 2 miles in width, and comprising some three or four thousand acres of excellent land clothed with grass and interspersed with wild flax and strawberry vines.
Large groves of aspen, mostly dry, were interspersed within the valley and large forests of fir and aspen, clothed the mountains and hill sides, while ten beautiful clear streams ran through the park and formed the west branch of the Weber river.
Altogether it was the most desirable and convenient place for stock farms I ever saw, plentiful in grass, watered as Eden and sufficiently timbered to supply hundreds of families.
Passing through this Park, which we named Parley’s park, we entered a narrow passage and in a few rods came out into another valley, somewhat smaller but equally beautiful in grass and water and surrounded in part with timbered mountains, and the residue with bare hills. In the center of this valley was a few hundred yards of sage desert, which constituted the divide between the head waters of the western and eastern forks of the Weber. We saw some of the head streams of the east branch and traced them till they came together and passed of through an open meadow. We ascended a range of hills and looked off about thirty miles towards the south east. The country was very broken and tolerably well timbered as far as we could distinguish objects with the aid of large telescope.
These parks are from 20 to 25 miles from our city; a good road may be made for the entire distance, without any mountains or canyons to pass, except this first canyon through which Canyon creek enters our valley. In this distance there is wood and timber supplies very convenient of access to supply the inhabitants of our valley for fifty years. Two quarries of sandstone of an excellent quality were also found and both inexhaustible. One of these is 16 miles from the city and the other 20 miles.
I would further state to your honorable body that I believe a wagon road may be made in that direction, so as to intersect the present emigrant road in the neighborhood of Bear river, and be much nearer, while at the same time it avoids all the mountains and canyons.
I earnestly recommend to the council, to appoint a committee of two or three persons of sounds judgment, to explore that part of the country as far as Bear River, immediately, with a view of opening a road for the emigration to pass that way.
And I would suggest the names of Daniel Spencer, Edward Hunter, Albert Carrington and John Van Cott, or either two of them to compose said committee, whose duty it shall be to explore as far as Bear river, or as far as circumstances will require and report immediately.
I am respectfully your obedient servant,
Parley P. Pratt
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, June 30, 1848, 2-4]
[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, July 2006]