BEAVER COUNTY — The Utah Inland Port Authority Board of Directors recently approved the Mineral Mountains Project Area resolution for Beaver County, creating Utah’s sixth inland port. 

The unanimous decision was made during a Utah Inland Port Authority board meeting Oct. 4 in Milford.

Known for its rich history in rail, mining and agriculture, Beaver County is uniquely positioned to harness the potential of the Mineral Mountains Project Area, leveraging its rugged geography and diverse natural resources. 

The port authority has been instrumental in facilitating appropriate development within its jurisdictional land and other project areas throughout Utah. As part of this endeavor, Beaver County is set to create a project area that will consist of four distinct zones, each designed to cater to various industries and contribute to the overall economic prosperity of the region. 

“Establishing the Mineral Mountains Project Area is a significant milestone in Beaver County’s economic development journey,” said Ben Hart, executive director for the Utah Inland Port Authority. “This project is a testament to our commitment to sustainable growth and harnessing the potential of regional natural resources.” 

The four zones within the Mineral Mountains Project Area are as follows:

Beaver City Zone: Spanning approximately 2,070 acres and situated adjacent to Interstate 15, this zone boasts essential infrastructure, including the Beaver Municipal Airport, offering valuable accessibility and logistical advantages.
Milford Depot Zone: Expanding the Project Area by approximately 445 acres, this zone includes strategic infrastructure assets, including the Smithfield Farms unit train loop track, Atkore’s industrial manufacturing facility and Rocky Mountain Power’s regional field office.
Milford Flats Zone: Covering approximately 17,115 acres north of Milford City and intersected by state Route 257 and Union Pacific Railroad, this zone includes the Milford Municipal Airport and multiple renewable power plants.
Minersville City Zone: Adding 190 acres to the Project Area, this zone plays a pivotal role in the transition to agritech models of economic development and connects to state Route 21 and state Route 129.

Granite Peak Reservoir in the Mineral Mountains, Beaver, County, Utah, date not specified. | Photo courtesy of Ramblers Tourism, Beaver County Travel Council, St. George News / Cedar City News

“These zones possess a unique blend of historical expertise and natural resources that position Beaver County for success in emerging and diverse industries,” said Wade Hollingshead, chairman of the Beaver County Commission. “The collaboration between Beaver County and the Utah Inland Port Authority is a powerful partnership that will fuel generational economic growth through targeted investments and logistics development.” 

Fellow Beaver County Commissioner Tammy Pearson added:

“The Inland Port is a project we have had our eye on since its beginning. We understand the wealth and distribution of economic benefit that this project area in Beaver County will create. It will be a significant step forward for Utah’s inland port system as well and will provide businesses with the infrastructure and resources they need to succeed in the local and global marketplace creating job opportunities and generating revenue for the state.”

Jen Wakeland, Beaver County’s strategic development director, told Cedar City News that the partnership makes sense.

“Rural Utah has long been a place of limited growth and development,” she said. “Beaver County, however, has a wide variety of existing infrastructure that when paired with a Port Authority Project Area can change the growth and development for the better.”

Wakeland said pairing with the Inland Port will allow Beaver County to guide growth in sustainable ways that diversify the economic portfolio.

“It will help us keep the heritage and culture we love intact while providing high-quality jobs for residents and future generations to come,” she said.

And while creating employment opportunities, the inland port also will provide economic balance.

“Our county has been resilient through decades of boom-and-bust economics,” Wakeland said. “Bringing in an Inland Port Project Area will allow us to utilize the tools necessary to level out the highs and lows by attracting industry that matches with our culture, our current economic portfolio, and helps us provide infrastructure necessary to support existing industry along with the new growth.”

According to the news release, the expansion of the Mineral Mountains Project Area aligns seamlessly with broader regional growth projections. Beaver County’s population is anticipated to grow and the county’s economy is poised to diversify, with a strong focus on renewable energy resources and enhanced transportation accessibility. 

Rail has played a vital role in Beaver County’s history and will continue to do so, with the Union Pacific Railroad’s presence dating back to 1880. Today, Milford serves as an important node in the Union Pacific system, facilitating essential rail traffic between the California Coast and the Intermountain West. 

Written by KAITLIN FELSTED, UIPA’s marketing communications director, with additional reporting by Cedar City News reporter JEFF RICHARDS.

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