Change coming to Camp Floyd State Park

Mar 30, 2018, 6:21 PM | Updated: Mar 31, 2018, 1:06 am

UTAH COUNTY — There’s no better day at school than one that involves a field trip. Especially when that field trip is a visit to Camp Floyd State Park in Utah County.

“You do not pull that trigger until I give the command to fire,” said Mark Trotter, the parks manager, to a group of elementary students. “Ready, aim, fire.”

Of course, there weren’t any bullets, ballistics, or gunpowder in the old rifles the kids were shooting. But it was part of the hands-on demonstrations for students Camp Floyd has become popular for.

Through the years, Trotter has brought history to life for thousands of kids. Putting on an old 1850’s-era military uniform to speak to them is one of his favorite parts of the job.

“I have always loved the history here,” he said. “If we lose that history, it’s gone. It’s a passion of mine and this story isn’t being told. It’s kind of forgotten. In history books, you get maybe one paragraph if you’re lucky about this place.”

Trotter loves telling stories about the old U.S. Army base. It was opened here in 1858 as a way for then-President James Buchanan to keep track of Brigham Young. Then nearly three years later, the Civil War took those soldiers away.

“When you see the light come on in their eyes and they realize what happened and what took place here, that’s what makes it fun,” said Trotter.

What this particular group of students visiting on Friday didn’t know, though, was that they were his last class. After almost 18 years here, Mark Trotter is leaving.

“Yes, I am retiring. Today is the last day,” he said. “It’s been a neat experience. It really has. But it’s just time.”

Many credit Trotter for saving this historic site, turning what was an almost forgotten heritage park into something worthy of spending a few hours.

“The visitation was very low and revenue was only about $2700 for the year. It just needed a push; is really what it was,” said Trotter.

Pushing is exactly what he did. Trotter and a team of contributors and volunteers gathered artifacts, re-worked the museum to tell visually interesting stories, and even renovated the old cemetery to honor the soldiers who died here.

The field trips for kids, though, may Trotter’s his proudest accomplishment.

“When we first started, we were begging schools to come,” he said with a laugh.

Now, by Christmas each year, they’re booked every school day for the following spring.

“The teachers have found that it fits with their curriculums well with Utah history and with U.S. history. They always tell me it’s their favorite field trip and they keep coming back, so I guess it’s true,” Trotters said.

The field trips will continue at Camp Floyd, just not with Trotter in charge of them. And there are plans to keep enhancing the experience, expanding the museum with soldier barracks and even an old telegraph pole.

Teaching children about the history here is how the stories live on. And Trotter knows they’ll continue to live on even after he is gone.

“It’s the people that made it successful,” he said. “I might have guided it and directed it, but it was all those people that did it who cared and helped out.”


KSL 5 TV Live

Education & Schools

Utah schools could soon be required to have an armed guard in them if a big school safety bill pass...

Lindsay Aerts

Bill requiring armed security guards in Utah schools heads to full Senate vote

Utah schools could soon be required to have an armed guard in them if a big school safety bill passes the Utah Legislature.

12 hours ago

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Tamara Vaifanua

Utah high school basketball player reaches career milestone of 1,000 rebounds

A Utah high school basketball player grabbed a huge career milestone – 1,000 rebounds in a single season; and she’s not stopping there.

21 hours ago

Joey Skelton, a school bus driver for a Utah school is receiving a thank you poster and an award fo...

Emma Benson

School bus driver hailed as hero for saving student lives after car ignored bus stop arm

A Jordan School District bus driver is being praised after he prevented a possible tragedy from happening to students. 

3 days ago

A student competes in the Weber State Auto Tech Championship on Friday....

Mike Anderson

High school gearheads compete in Auto Technician Championship

High School seniors from all over Utah and one school from Oregon, showed off their skills in a automotive technician competition Friday.

4 days ago

Lauren Rives, a senior at the University of Utah, speaks at a demonstration against HB261 at the U....

Tim Vandenack,

University of Utah highlights positive impacts of equity, diversity and inclusion programs

The University of Utah has produced a new 'scorecard' highlighting the positive impacts of equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives that face revamping due to new state legislation.

6 days ago

Natalie Cline is pictured. Utah State Board of Education member Cline is facing public scrutiny for...

Mark Jones

Utah State Board of Education member Natalie Cline announces she is seeking re-election

In a post on Facebook Monday, Utah State Board of Education member Natalie Cline announced she is seeking re-election. 

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Change coming to Camp Floyd State Park