Miller Park Bird Refuge Trail Access Improvements & Historic Structures Preservation
In 2018, Miller Park (located at 900 South and Diestel Road/1735 East) was identified as the site of a citizen capital improvement program project. To see more of the history of the park, continue reading on this page. The project focuses on two primary goals:
- Preserve historic structures, such as the WPA (Works Progress Administration) masonry walls, foot bridge, and stairways constructed during the Great Depression
- Improve accessibility of the trail system that navigates the park
The following are the comments and suggestions Salt Lake City received during a period of public engagement for Miller Park in early 2021. Currently, Salt Lake City is working on incorporating some of the public comments and suggestions into the project for potential inclusion.
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Nestled among residential housing near Sunnyside Ave, Miller Park Bird Refuge is one of Trails and Natural Lands’ biggest parks and projects. It was recently reconstructed to bring a section of degraded riparian habitat back to a healthy ecosystem with natural function. This included planting native vegetation, attracting more wildlife and allowing for optimal conditions for improved public access to wildlife watching and passive recreation. Restoring the critical habitat zones and improving water quality were implemented with best management practices identified in the 2010 Riparian Corridor Study. The refuge includes two large loops, with the total park amounting to 8.75 acres. It also has significant history associated with it, dating back to construction of the stairs and bridges by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s.
Please Note: Dogs are not allowed off-leash in the park, in order to improve plant and wildlife habitat.
- Jogging/Walking Path
- Natural Area
History of Miller Bird Refuge and Nature Park
In 1935 Minnie Miller donated the land of Miller Park to Salt Lake City in 1935 in honor of her late husband, Lee Charles Miller. She hoped the land would be preserved as a sanctuary for both wildlife and children.
When visiting the park, you will notice beautiful, old masonry throughout the entire park. The masonry walls, chairs, bench, stairways, and footbridge were constructed by the WPA, an organization that provided work for the unemployed during the Great Depression. These works remain in great form to this day.
In 2014, a 33,600-gallon crude-oil spill was carried through Red Butte Creek, significantly impacting Miller Park. This event prompted the restoration of the streambed and streambank and introduction of native flora and removal of invasive species. The Red Butte Creek is the central feature of Miller Park, with trails that traverse the route of the creek.
The verdant streamside covers only .4% of Utah’s total land yet provides food and nesting for over 75% of all Utah’s bird species. The native vegetation in Miller Park, such as river hawthorn, supports many birds, including black-chinned hummingbird, downy woodpecker, and ruby-crowned kinglet.