Yalecrest’s Hidden Gem: The Miller Bird Refuge and Nature Park, established in 1935
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.
Salt Lake City Historic Landscapes Report, 2016, Author: JoEllen Grandy, Landmark Design
This 85+page document is the most thorough and comprehensive report ever written about the Miller Bird Refuge and Nature Park, including historical notes, photos, reconstruction and architectural drawings — with specifics about landscaping, streambed reconstruction, irrigation, etc.