Hanksville looking ahead to growth 1 year after devastating flash floods

Sep 1, 2022, 9:42 PM | Updated: Sep 2, 2022, 6:28 am

HANKSVILLE, Utah — It started with a simple idea: Why not live and work where you love?

Daniel Cahoon has been visiting Hanksville and the surrounding area for nearly 30 years.

“There’s something about this place that got in my blood,” he said.

Now, he’s making Hanksville his permanent home.

He is even moving his family to the small Wayne County town from Kansas City because he’s starting a business. Cahoon and his brother own Muddy Creek Mining Company, where they will be renting luxury cabins and showing off the area’s history.

“We’re putting in what we think is going to be an amazing destination for folks who want to visit this part of Utah,” Cahoon said.

Lake Powell and Goblin Valley State Park are nearby, as well as Capitol Reef National Park, Robber’s Roost, Factory Butte and plenty of room to explore.

“I got to tell you, Hanksville is in the middle of everywhere,” Cahoon said with a laugh.

However, just last year, Hanksville was in the middle of one of the worst floods anybody here can remember. The Fremont River went over its banks and flooded most of the town.

“It devastated the town. I think everybody in town was affected by it in some way or the other,” Cahoon said.

Roads, homes and businesses were flooded. It seemed like the water would never stop or go away.

“I look back at the pictures and it just made me cry. I can’t even believe it,” said Lisa Wells, Hankville’s town clerk.

She said the town is still waiting for federal money that was promised to clear out channels, fix roads that were damaged and repair the town’s water and sewer system.

“We’ve got engineers and we’ve got the plans, but we still haven’t gotten the funding yet in place,” she said.

Thanks to residents and volunteers, the town dug out and repaired what it could. Businesses slowly started to reopen.

And new businesses, like Cahoon’s, who started his plans in February, are investing in Hanksville’s future.

“The fact that I can be part of that recovery, and we think we can do something even more than what was here, is really exciting to me,” Cahoon said.

Maybe the next flood will involve tourists, Wells, who has lived in Hanksville for most of her life, thinks it’s possible.

“I do. I really do. Some people don’t, but I’m like, yeah,” she said with a laugh. “I think it will. We’ve got enough people in this town that are trying to make it happen.”

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Hanksville looking ahead to growth 1 year after devastating flash floods