Big Springs Park is in South Fork Provo Canyon and is one of Provo’s Parks.
Vivian Park is a historic location that has been a part of Provo Canyon practically from the time Utah Valley was first settled. This particular area was first deeded to a William Ferguson in a land patent dating back to 1888. Ferguson began operating what became known as “Billy’s Place”, a convenient resting spot and eating place for canyon travelers. Around the turn of the 20th Century, the area came under different ownership and was promoted as a vacation getaway. Cabins were built and the entire site was soon filled with recreation of all types including a dance hall featuring live bands, some fine restaurants, and a boat rental business.
According to one seemingly accurate account, the present name of Vivian Park can be attributed to a young girl named Vivian McBride, whose mother worked at the nearby Post Office. The resort owner thought the young girl was so pretty that her name was added to his canyon retreat. Over the years, many of the early activities and attractions fell by the wayside, but Vivian Park users today can still find lots of room to enjoy the sunshine, eat a meal, fish the Provo River, or enjoy a myriad of other interests including the Heber Creeper steam engine ride. There are pavilions, barbecues, a fishing pond, playgrounds, volleyball areas, and plain old shade.
This plaque marks the site of the first 44,000 volt hydroelectric plant in America. Built in 1897 by Lucien L. Nunn at an estimated cost of just $50,000, this plant harnessed the power of the Provo River to generate electricity and transmit that power over a distance of 32 miles to mining operations in Mercur, Utah. This was almost three times the voltage of any existing line in the nation at that time, and was by far the longest.
Although Nunn sold his interests to Utah Power and Light Company in 1913, his innovative ideas and successes helped shape the future of electrical power for all of us.
Nunns Park is named after L.L. Nunn, a pioneer in the field of hydroelectric power, who became the operator of the first 44,000 volt hydro-power plant in America harnessing the flows of the Provo River. Built on this site in 1897, the plant provided electricity for mining operations near Mercur, Utah. In time, Nunn sold his interests to Utah Power and Light, who eventually sold the ground to Utah County as a park site. Located alongside the Provo River Parkway and nestled in a grove of trees, Nunn’s Park offers overnight camping, picnicking, fishing, biking, jogging, and just plain escape from the traffic of life. There are plenty of family campsites on a first come, first serve basis; a pavilion can be reserved for family or group use; there are open areas just right for contemplating nothing but your favorite pastime. If you look, there are even a few reminders of the century old power plant that once turned the lights on in a remote Utah mining town and put Utah and the Provo River in the electrical history books. Public parking is limited and there is absolutely no parking on the state road or outside the county park. Groups with reservations cannot limit the public parking to only members of their group. Groups exceeding allowed parking will be asked to leave and no refund will be given.(text from utahcounty.gov)
The Deer Creek Reservoir section of the Provo/Jordan River Parkway Trail is an enjoyable hiking and walking trail along the west shore of the Deer Creek Reservoir. Although there is a highway on the other side, you hardly notice. This broad gravel path is part of the Provo River Parkway – Jordan River Parkway system. It runs the hillside above the northern shore of Deer Creek Reservoir. Length is 8.03 miles, with about 400 feet of total climbing. While mostly straight, there are occasional sharp turns during descents into small canyons. Make sure you bring water and a lunch plus a fishing pole.
Canyon View Park is owned and managed by Utah County. This park gives broad access to Provo River for fishing, play, or skipping rock. In addition to several covered picnic tables, Canyon View Park features a nature trail that criss-crosses the river and has several signs explaining plant and animal life. It is also a very popular birding spot.
Let There Be Light
The Olmsted Power Plant, a historic structure, was constructed in 1904 by a predecessor to Rocky Mountain Power and is still in use today. The plant generates power from water diverted from the Provo River. During the last 100 years, water has reached the plant by both wooden flume and steel pipeline.