🠈  Ashley National Forest  🠊

The boundaries set by the US Department of Agriculture do now necessarily match the geological features of the state. The boundaries are often set by desired political districts.

For a long time the entity called "The Uinta National Forest" was run out of Provo and included Mount Timpanogos, which is in the Wasatch Range. One often finds Mount Timpanogos on literature about the Uintas.

The "Wasatch National Forest," headquartered in Salt Lake City includes the Western most stretches of the Uinta Mountains as well.

In 2007, the Uinta and Wasatch National Forest merged creating and entity called The "Wasatch-Cache National Forest." This national forest continues to administer the western half of the Uinta Range.

This discontinuity in names is problematic for tourists as the maps they buy show show the names of the administrative borders set by the USDA and not the names of the geological features.

Things are especially confusing for the Uinta Mountains which is aligned East to West in a continent where most ranges run North to South.

Many of the best parts of the Uinta Mountains are found in "Ashley National Forest" which has its headquarters in Vernal, Utah.

The Ashley National Forest is named for William Henry Ashley. Mr. Ashley made a small fortune mining saltpeter for gunpowder in the early 1800s and became a Brigadier General for the Missouri State Miltia in the War of 1812. In 1822 he organized 100 men to explore the upper regions of the Missouri River. This group gave rise the the Rocky Mountain Fur Company which explored unchartered regions of the Mountain West. Ashely is credited with the discovery of South Path (the migration route used by many pioneer expedition.) He discovered Utah Lake which he dubbed Lake Ashley. William Ashley also and explored the Uintas as well as the Colorado Front Range.

The first white settlers in Uintah County wanted to call their settlement Ashley. Fearing conflicts with the natives, the settlers abandoned their first settlement along Ashley Creek. The were not allowed to reuse the name Ashley and the second settlement was called Vernal.

Ashley Creek was submerged with the construction of the Flaming Gorge dam, and so we are left with a National Forest named for a famous explorer but with no major landmarks to re-enforce the brand.


  1. Wikipedia - William Henry Ashley (Drawn 2/27/2017)
  2. Wikipedia - Ashley National Forest (Drawn 2/27/2017)

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