VERNAL, Utah (ABC4 News) – Many people come to Vernal for Dinosaur Land, and just as the dinosaurs went through an extreme change of climate, long-time residents say they’re noticing one too.
“We’re going to struggle a little bit. I think we’re going to make it through the winter, hopefully,” said Garrett Cowee, the owner of Naples Country Cafe.
Naples Country Cafe’s been slower than usual.
“It’s just hit and miss so much now that you know, there’s so many people in our community right now that are out of work,” said Cowee.
Uintah County used to be an oil and gas hub, but that’s changed.
“Hoping maybe this election will bring a little stability back to the country, I guess, see if the oil field comes back,” said Cowee.
One market that is thriving is real estate. Mary Lou Dixon came from Salt Lake City to make a living in Vernal.
“I think they’re tired of the city life and leaving that and working from home here in a rural community,” said Mary Lou Dixon of Realty One Group Signature in Vernal.
Visitors from all over continue to drive to Vernal for Dinosaur Land and a popular museum run by the state parks.
“And then they have the Dinosaur National Monument which houses dinosaur bones that were found,” said Coleen Lawsin of the Utah Field House of Natural History, State Park Museum.
Coleen Lawsin is from Vernal and works at the museum. She says she wants more people visiting Uintah County and supporting local businesses.
“I know that our commissioners and our leaders and that go out, and they fight for us hard, but I still think that we do get forgotten out here a tad bit,” she added.
Residents tell ABC4 News that they want the county to be like both before the oil boom and the pandemic.
“If we could just keep our local people busy and you know, keeping our economy great, that’s what I would like to see,” said Lawsin.
Many locals are working second jobs or creating opportunities in these trying times, so their businesses don’t go extinct, like the dinosaurs who roamed these grounds.
Our next stop for the Your Voice Your Vote tour is Duchesne County!