"Is there one county in this blessed land that boasts a town so small that it has one quiet restaurant on a lonely country road, and another ten miles away that has a hundred restaurants, crowded night and day?"
So begins Summit County's soon-to-be-released new book, 'Under One Sky,' a photographic compilation of images of historic scenic highways and byways throughout the county. The project was started over a year ago by Summit County Historian NaVee Vernon, with the help graphic artist and Oakley resident Janet Thimmes.
"How I started this is I saw the state had [a book], 'Highways and ways,' and I thought Summit County needed one," Vernon said. "I said, 'I want something besides mountains because we always refer to the mountains.' Then we started talking about the sky and Janet said, 'Under the sky.'"
The book features scenic landscapes of every part of the county, from the Snyderville Basin and Park City to Weber Canyon, Echo Canyon and East Canyon. All of the photographers Vernon said are local, including Mark Maziarz, Timothy Thimmes, Thomas Sharp Grant, Sedona Callahan and Charlie Lansche, along with other contributors. Howard Rayfiel did the writing for the book.
"I think [the book] just tells us as residents that we live in a beautiful and wonderful place and we need to take care of it," Vernon said. "I think it'll be wonderful for our children to be able to look back and see this in 50 years. It's a good book just for the preservation of our county.
The book was funded by the Summit County Restaurant Tax Fund, the Mountainland Association of Governments and the Park City Chamber bureau.
Vernon noted that many of the photos highlight the sky of Summit County, as per the book's title. She pointed to a stunning landscape shot of Echo Canyon, the clouds casting their shadows on the hills and red cliffs beneath.
"There's a certain time of day when you can hit [its beauty]," Vernon said. "I think the morning and the evening are the most beautiful times."
Many of the photos also feature the wildlife of the county, such as eagles, elk, beavers and cranes, among others. Every town is highlighted and Vernon said she really finds the diversity of the county the most fascinating.
"In each little town is diversity, and that's why it's so interesting. I just think we live in a wonderful place," Vernon said. "It shows Park City we're very proud of Park City, but then we turn back here and see all the beautiful East Side, too."
Vernon sees real estate agents and businesses such as hotels getting a more practical use out of the book as a means to promote the scenic splendor of Summit County. She also hopes it gives residents a sense of pride that they live here.
"Hopefully the tourists might look through this and say, 'I think I'll stay another day,'" Vernon said.
The book release event for 'Under One Sky' will be held Monday, Sept. 30, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Old Rockport Church in Wanship. Music by In Cahoots and cowboy poetry will also be featured. The event book price is $15, or $20 regular price, limited to one book per person.