Huntsville Monastery | 1050 Acres Forever Protected
(Huntsville, Utah) July 6, 2022 – After over a year of collaboration and private fundraising efforts, the Summit Land Conservancy, an accredited land trust, and Ogden Valley Land Trust, have officially closed on the iconic 1050-acre Huntsville Monastery. The monastery was once home to the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity, a Trappist Cistercian monastery established in 1947 in Huntsville, Utah.

“By conserving open space, we conserve part of the miraculous, the awe-inspiring that, in turn, protects the very health and well-being of each living being,” said Shanna Francis from Ogden Valley Land Trust. “Members of Ogden Valley Land Trust are thrilled to have been able to partner with Summit Land Conservancy to ensure that over a thousand acres in this mountain valley are being protected as open space with the placement of a conservation easement on this culturally and environmentally rich Huntsville monastery property.  With this easement, all who visit Ogden Valley, and those who call it home, can continue to be awed and amazed.” 

Well-known throughout Northern Utah, the Huntsville Monastery, founded by 32 monks who were mostly veterans of World War II, served 84 monks and novices at the height of its operation in the 1960s. The monks were active farmers, ranchers, and beekeepers, who used agricultural production as a form of prayer and devotion. While most of their production provided food for the monastery, the monks also sold products in the Abbey’s bookshop, including their famous creamed honey. The bookshop adjacent to the chapel was open to the public, where the monks sold religious items and texts, as well as fresh baked-bread, jams, and crafted items.

While farming the land, the monks established a tradition of leaving one alfalfa field to bloom in order for the bees to have a plentiful food source. They credited the alfalfa with making particularly delicious honey. The monastery officially closed in August 2017 when the surviving monks were too old to sustain the operation. The current owners, Bill White of Huntsville and Wynstonn Wangsgard of Park City, obtained the property in January 2016, and continued agricultural production, particularly alfalfa, barley, and cattle grazing. Honeybees are also still kept on the property. 
“There are many stories about the kindness the monks showed to their neighbors from the time they settled in the Ogden Valley. We are so lucky to have had them, but the experience was fleeting. We miss them,” says landowner Wynstonn Wangsgard. Bill White adds, “To Father Brendan: We hope that you and the other monks feel a sense of pride knowing that your generosity will yield benefits to the people of this valley for generations to come. We know that you could have developed the property and made a lot more money, but in typical monk fashion, you put the spiritual above the temporal and now all of us are reaping the benefits.”

In December 2020, the Conservancy secured an $8.8 million federal grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, through Agricultural Land Easement funds, to help with the purchase of a permanent conservation easement on the Huntsville Monastery.

“It is a true honor to work with Huntsville Abbey Farm LLC and Summit Land Conservancy to protect this agricultural land,” said Emily Fife, NRCS State Conservationist for Utah. “Together, we are protecting land that provides agricultural production, historic preservation, wildlife habitat, and protection of open space.”

In addition to the historic and cultural significance of the property, the monastery also holds important conservation values that provide benefits to wildlife and biodiversity, watershed health, and the surrounding community. Situated close to the sub-alpine forests in the Wasatch Range, the 1050-acres of agricultural open space is prime habitat for several species of importance, and the easement area is defined by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources as “critical winter habitat” for hundreds of Rocky Mountain elk. A branch of the south fork of the Ogden River runs along the property’s edge providing seasonal wetlands to migratory birds, and the farmlands serve as a wildlife corridor and potential habitat for two endangered species (the Canada lynx and yellow-billed cuckoo).

“This week, the Summit Land Conservancy, along with our partners at Ogden Valley Land Trust, completed the permanent preservation of the former monastery property near Huntsville,” said Summit Land Conservancy Executive Director, Cheryl Fox. “We were able to do this because two generous men, Bill White and Wynstonn Wangsgard, committed their time, their resources, and their faith into believing that the Conservancy and our partners could get this deal done. In doing so, Bill and Wynstonn honored the legacy of the monks and those who cared for the land before them. They have given a tremendous gift to the future.”

The Ogden Valley General Plan specifically highlights the monastery property as “significant open space important for preservation” in its Open Lands map. The property forms part of the rural, agricultural landscape and scenic viewshed that gives the Huntsville area its character.

Funding partners included the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Natural Resources Conservation Service), Weber County, David Kelby Johnson Memorial Foundation, Emma Eccles Jones Foundation, Willard Eccles Foundation, Kulynch Foundation, and many private donors.

To learn more about the Summit Land Conservancy and Ogden Valley Land Trust, visit or