Celebrating 20 years, Eagle Mountain still among Utah's best kept secrets

Eagle Mountain now has more than a dozen nest boxes set up throughout the community to provide American Kestrels with habitat and Hawkwatch International with valuable data.

Eagle Mountain City turns 20 years old this year. Our community has come a long way since its beginning as a sagebrush-covered former stop on the Pony Express Trail.

Since the city’s incorporation in 1996, our population has grown by a rate of 11,900 percent to almost 30,000 residents. This rapid growth brought significant challenges to early city leadership. While managing the rapid growth of Eagle Mountain will continue to bring challenges, today we enjoy great stability. As Eagle Mountain has continued to mature, this place continues to offer a unique value to our residents.

One of the attributes that made Eagle Mountain special 20 years ago still remains today — our natural environment. Over the years as development has spread within the 48.75 square miles of Eagle Mountain, preserving the natural, outdoor feel of our community has been a priority. If you ask any resident why Eagle Mountain is so special, they will probably tell you that about the starry night skies, the endless views, or some other natural aspect. From ancient petroglyphs to the Pony Express Trail, to the clean air, our environment has a lot to offer. These things that make Eagle Mountain special can never be purchased or replaced, so we figure the best thing to do is to make sure we preserve and protect them. These are the things that residents routinely refer to as what they love about living in Eagle Mountain — the feeling of being “away from it all” while close to urban centers.

One other neat thing about Eagle Mountain is the degree of involvement we have from our community members. Residents have helped with so many efforts to preserve the things that make us special, including a recent effort for some of our feathered friends.

After I saw a resident’s frequent posts on Facebook with amazing pictures of various hawks, owls and falcons from our area, because of our city name I wondered how many eagles we might have in our area. I did some research, which led me to contact Hawkwatch International. After an initial meeting with Hawkwatch, I was excited at the opportunities we had to form a partnership to help preserve habitat for multiple species here in Eagle Mountain.

I reached out to the individual who posted all of the beautiful raptor pictures online. His name is Shon Reed, and I asked him if he would be willing to take the lead in working with Hawkwatch to preserve raptor habitat. What happened next is what I have seen many times in Eagle Mountain. Reed took an idea and ran with it.

Thanks to the efforts of many people under Reed’s leadership, our community now has more than a dozen nest boxes set up throughout the community to provide American Kestrels with habitat, and Hawkwatch International with valuable data. Thanks to the work of Brian Smith, Rocky Mountain Power donated poles to mount many of the boxes and labor and equipment for installing them. Several residents volunteered their property to place some of the boxes, and Austin Robinson made most of the boxes as an Eagle Scout project and Taylor Duncan contributed to the Kestrel box project as well.

Last week, volunteers went out to place bedding material in the boxes. If you want to know where the nest boxes are located for viewing, please visit our city website at www.eaglemountaincity.com/kestrels. Additionally, if you want to see some great views of raptors and other scenic beauty from Eagle Mountain, you can visit the Scenes From Eagle Mountain Facebook page.

With growth happening in Eagle Mountain at such a rapid pace, it is easy to see how we could quickly lose our natural habitats and the things that we can’t replace if we didn’t make it a priority. Fortunately, our residents value our natural habitat, our wildlife, and they are willing to invest their time and effort to preserve that part of our identity. For all these reasons and more, I truly believe that Eagle Mountain is one of the best kept secrets in Utah.