Nonprofit launches crowd funding project to save Boilers, Millcreek Canyon

The Boilers spring, Washington City, Utah, May 17, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Supporters gathered at Outlier Labs Friday to officially launch an online crowd funding effort benefiting a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving “The Boilers” pond and Millcreek Canyon.

The Boilers, also known as Warm Springs, is a 5-to-6-feet deep artesian-fed pond that receives 30,000 gallons of fresh water an hour, said Nicole Warner, of the Boiling Springs Ecoseum & Desert Preserve. The BSEDP is the group seeking to rejuvenate the Boilers and restore public access to the site by creating an ecological conservatory complex around it.

Nicole Warner sharing the vision of the Ecoseum project with attendees, St. George, Utah, May 16, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News
Nicole Warner sharing the vision of the Ecoseum project with attendees, St. George, Utah, May 16, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

The Boilers sits right next to Interstate 15 near Main Street in Washington City. About a half-mile south of the Boilers is Millcreek Canyon.

“Our slogan in Washington City is ‘Where Dixie Begins,’” Warner said, “and do you know why Dixie began here?”

It was because Washington City is where the water is. The Boilers provided Mormon settlers with water, Warner said, while water from Millcreek was used at the cotton mill.

For many years, the Boilers was also considered a place to cool off during blistering hot summers.

“We used to swim there when I was a kid,” Washington County Commissioner Alan Gardner said. “We’d go there all the time.”

The Boilers was fenced off to the public in 1999 after being declared a potential liability and biohazard by city government. Nearby Millcreek Canyon has been vandalized in places by graffiti, and both areas have become known as gathering places for activities involving drugs and alcohol.

“It’s become a place for hoodlums and people to cause problems,” said Bill Hudson, a former Washington City Councilman and current member of the BSEDP’s volunteer steering committee. “It’s very sad the way they are now.”

Despite their current state of disrepair, Hudson said he sees great potential in the Boilers and Millcreek project and what it could do for downtown Washington City.

“I live very close to this area and I can see the direction the downtown area is going,” Hudson said. “This kind of project could revitalize and change that area in such a positive way.”

The proposed project sit plan, St. George, Utah, May 16, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News
The proposed project plan, St. George, Utah, May 16, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

After touring public gardens and similar facilities across the country, Warner said she and others connected to the ecoseum project learned such places can be game-changers in their communities. She said they provide a catalyst for the beautification and rejuvenation of communities and become economic drivers, as well.

Proposed BSEDP facilities to be built around the Boilers would include a park and trail system that would connect into Millcreek Canyon. Additional proposed facilities would include various ecological exhibits, a restaurant featuring foods grown in the Ecoseum, and a potential conference center. The Ecoseum is also slated to employ the latest in green technologies and applications in its construction and use. Public access to the Boilers would additionally be restored and preserved.

I can see this being a Tuacahn – this could be a destination,” Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson said. “I think it’s a wonderful project. There’s nothing like this in Utah that I am aware of.”

Neilson called the proposed layout of the ecoseum “very family friendly” and also touted the potential economic benefit to the region as another travel destination to be added to the map.

“It’s an outstanding benefit,” Neilson said, “not only for Washington City but also Washington County.”

County Commissioner Alan Gardner, Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson, Bill Hudson Ecoseum Steering Committee member, St. George, Utah, May 16, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News
County Commissioner Alan Gardner, left, Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson, center, Ecoseum Steering Committee member Bill Hudson, right, St. George, Utah, May 16, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

“It’s going to be in our backyard,” area resident Diane Walker said.

Walker said she is looking forward to the creation of the ecoseum as a place where people can seek respite and rejuvenation and connect with nature without having to travel to places like Zion National Park or the Grand Canyon. She also said she sees it as a place where people with disabilities can enjoy nature.

There are recreation areas that are inaccessible to those with disabilities, Walker said. Being a mother of special needs children, she said having a place where they could enjoy nature’s wonders would be a great benefit to the whole family.

“Sometimes people need a healing garden,” she said.

“There is still a spirit of peace, of quiet, of respite (there), and we just want to create an oasis in this urban environment,” Warner said of the Boilers.

To donate to the project, visit the or the nonprofit’s Indygogo crowd funding site.



Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • My Evil Twin May 18, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I believe this area was closed off at a time when Washington City was having a whole bunch of problems with being run by idiots on both the council and in city management. Of course this area needs to be cleaned up, opened up, maintained and patrolled. There is no reason to allow a bunch of weak kneed politicians to allow dirt bag dopers take control of something like this.
    Washington PD does a good job in their parks, no reason they can’t do a good job here as well.

  • Rumor Heard May 19, 2014 at 9:04 am

    I heard this was the place mormon kids would go to get drunk and do other things. If it’s outta sight, those things didn’t happen, right? Where do they go now to get drunk?

    • Mean momma May 19, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Why do you care where the Mormon kids go now? Are you some kind of pervert who wants to get them drunk and “do other things” to them? What is wrong with you?

      • Rumor Heard May 19, 2014 at 10:32 am

        You are weird. I want to avoid being anywhere around these noisy drunken mormon kids cause mommas (probably like you) will try accuse or blame others for their drunkedness or make accusations… kinda like you just did. You just taught people a valuable lesson. Beware of accusations and blames by parents who don’t accept responsibility for their own kids actions.

        • Mean momma May 19, 2014 at 7:41 pm

          So I’m weird for assuming you might be a pervert, but it’s ok for you to assume that the kids who get drunk and do other things at the Boilers are Mormon? Hmmmm…. Ok.

  • Alvin May 19, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Maybe I’m wrong here, but aren’t most “non-profit” groups just their to line their pockets with money as it continues to roll in? As more money is available, they give themselves raises and spend frivolously in order to keep the non-profit status. If it’s a successful project then the top administrators can make some big money by shuffling around donations into their pockets. But if it tanks or goes sour, then they skip town with an incomplete project and then the city or county spends taxpayer money to save the day.
    Am I wrong? Or just thinking outside the box?

    • Brian May 19, 2014 at 11:01 am

      After watching the video I thought the exact same thing. As much as I like preserving history, the whole presentation smelled of “Maybe if I drop every buzzword known to man and involve a local landmark they’ll fund me and I can have a big non-profit salary”. That may not be the case here at all, but I’m admittedly pretty jaded about most non-profits. My Mom worked for one for a while, and the two ladies at the top spent most of the money on lavish trips and perks for themselves, and very little on the claimed recipients (kids in need). They did just enough to keep the act up and the money flowing.

  • David Dalley May 19, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Seems like a waste of money to me. If I remember correctly, these boilers are where deviants went to illegally consume alcohol, use illicit drugs and have pre marital sex.

    • NM May 20, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      David, Are you kidding me? Who were you hanging around with that you “remember correctly” just THAT? Sure there were parties, but for the most part, the boilers was a place of good clean fun! Glad someone has the desire to improve things in our city. You GO NIKKI!

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