One of Iron County’s most unique towns is Brian. High atop the Markagant Plateau, the town is name for Brian Head Peak, elevation 11,307 ft. Atop the Peak sits the rock pavilion built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the 1930’s
The town is one mile northwest of the peak and in the late 1800’s was used for the dairying and livestock industry for grazing. The Parowan ranchers, and their families, spent their summers on the mountain tending their herds.
A ski resort was established in 1964 and the town was incorporated in 1975. Population in 1990 was 109.
Now it’s a town in transition. According to Town Manager, Brett Howser, “we now have all the problems we asked for over the years.”
The resort has made significant improvements, they’ve helped build a pond and park. And the summer recreation continues to expand with mountain biking, summer lift lines and paved walking trails.
But as Brett puts it – “they’re now in the business of people management”. The current 83 residents get push-back from the growing number of nightly rentals. And conflicts between OHV noise, code enforcements for weekend warriors, parking, and workforce affordable housing are all daily issues. Brian Head Police handle more cases per officer than any other force within Iron County.
The need for amenities to support the residents is in demand. But the year-round population makes it difficult to attract new operations. Shopping, eateries and night life continue to be in demand year round. And a reasonable grocery store would curtail many trips up and down the mountain to other Iron county places.
“Little Ireland”, as it was known in the late 1800’s, was started and promoted by the Adams family. Their Irish Heritage prompted the Irish way of life and resulted in the first hotel being built by their family in 1921.
Brian Head now boasts winter and spring activities that include skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. Summer and fall activities include backpacking, day-hiking, and mountain biking.
Surrounded by public lands managed by both the U.S. Forest Service and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) camping in the summer months is a big attraction for residents of Iron County. The elevation provides a great cool-off from the summer heat of the valley.