Through a fortuitous collaboration of agencies and organizations, the Conservancy has acquired Paragonah Mounds, a Fremont village in Utah’s Parowan Valley. Although, according to historical documents, the site had more than 400 mounds covering close to a square mile in the late 1800s, the largest remaining intact portion is a 12-acre site containing 28 mounds. Nonetheless, the site, which dates between A.D. 700 and 1300, is still one of the largest Fremont villages known in the state. While farming and residential development have destroyed much of the enormous site over the years, what remains is well preserved.
The site’s acquisition is a remarkable story of collaboration that began with the unfortunate 2008 disturbance of a site dating from the Archaic through Fremont periods by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) during the construction of a light rail line in Draper, Utah. Consequently, the Army Corps of Engineers, the permitting agency for the project, issued a notice of non-compliance and a stop work order to the UTA, penalizing them with a substantial fine. A portion of the fine was allocated for the acquisition of another significant archaeological site in Utah to “replace” the one that was damaged. The UTA contacted the Conservancy for assistance in the identification of an appropriate site that could be established as a permanent archaeological preserve.