Former Utah monastery celebrates 75 years, and a new conservation easement

Historic Huntsville site will continue operating as a farm in scenic Ogden Valley.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jim and Tara Evans walk through the grounds during a gathering at the Abbey of the Holy Trinity in Huntsville to celebrate 75 years since its founding on Sunday, July 10, 2022.

Supporters of Huntsville’s iconic Trappist monastery had two big reasons to celebrate last week.

On Wednesday, the Summit Land Conservancy and Ogden Valley Land Trust officially secured a conservation easement for 1,050 acres at the site, protecting it as open space in perpetuity.

And Thursday, July 7, marked the 75th anniversary of when 32 monks arrived at the property, formally establishing the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity.

The monks quickly became valued neighbors and friends in the Ogden Valley, famous for their honey and fresh-baked bread. But the monastery was forced to close in 2017, its remaining monks too old to care for the property.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) People gather at the Abbey of the Holy Trinity in Huntsville to celebrate 75 years since its founding on Sunday, July 10, 2022.

Ogden Valley resident Bill White and Park City resident Wynstonn Wangsgard bought the historic site in 2016, worried it would be scooped up by developers and turned into another subdivision.

With the conservation easement in place, owners of McFarland Family Farms will continue managing the site as farmland.

Community members celebrated the monastery’s milestones over the weekend, screening films about the place Saturday and holding a rosary and prayer service at the monastery cemetery Sunday, along with a picnic.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) People gather at the Abbey of the Holy Trinity in Huntsville to celebrate 75 years since its founding on Sunday, July 10, 2022.

“By conserving open space, we conserve part of the miraculous, the awe-inspiring that, in turn, protects the very health and well-being of each living being,” Shanna Francis, with Ogden Valley Land Trust, said in a news release . “… With this easement, all who visit Ogden Valley, and those who call it home, can continue to be awed and amazed.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Acolyte Chris Kennedy leads Rosary prayers at the Abbey of the Holy Trinity in Huntsville during a gathering to celebrate 75 years since its founding on Sunday, July 10, 2022.

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