New Book Focuses on Regional Trails and Their History


The Progress

Local businessman and author Dustin Berg with his wife Jessica on the trail at Tri State Monument just north of Mesquite.

There are countless strange and wonderful things to be discovered in the vast desert region surrounding Mesquite and Moapa Valley. Some are well-known and have become destination sites for locals and tourists alike.

But others are more obscure, difficult to find – their stories sometimes lost to history. Many of these have now been newly revealed in a new book: All Around Mesquite, written by local businessman and UTV trail-explorer Dustin Berg.

In an interview last week, Berg said that the 200 page book is a culmination of about three years of traversing the various trails throughout the region, talking to local trails experts and doing extensive research into available historical records.
“I like exploring the UTV trails in the region, and I have been amazed at how much is out there that people don’t even know about,” Berg said.

The book is a trail guide of sorts. It provide maps and detailed directions explaining where the various destinations are on the landscape.
“This book won’t replace your Ride Command or other trail navigation software,” Berg said. “But it can serve as a rough trail guide to the general area and location of where these things are so that you can use the software to reference them and better pinpoint the location.”

Berg said that a lot of the most exciting destinations are areas that most folks might just drive by without ever knowing that they are there.
“Sometimes wonderful things are tucked away in a rock formation somewhere and you’d never know it was there unless somebody tells you about it and you stop and poke around a bit,” he said.

For example, Berg recently made a surprising discovery of an old abandoned rock cabin hidden away on the “back of the Virgin Mountains.”
“We had driven by that area dozens of times and didn’t know it was there,” he said. “You kind of have to get out and hike and really look around and there it was. There is so much really cool history hidden away out there to be discovered.”

But Berg also emphasized that his book is much more than just a trail guide. It also delves into the historical background of these various places, telling the stories and the lore behind them, and giving them added perspective for the traveller.

“In gathering information I heard a lot of stories, and there are a lot of rumors and legends out there,” Berg said. “I spent a lot of time at the (Virgin Valley Historical) museum and I found some great books about the area’s history which gives wonderful information.”

These valuable historical records were often focused on geneaology, family history and old pioneer stories, Berg said. But they didn’t always connect to the modern-day places where these things happened. Berg saw an opportunity to bridge that gap and bring these places and events more into the present day. This was one of the things the book strives to do, he said.

In addition, Berg quickly realized that approaching the subject from just a Mesquite perspective would only brush a small part of the story.
“There is a lot of shared history with Virgin Valley, Moapa Valley, Lincoln County, the Arizona strip and even southern Utah,” Berg said. “I felt like there needs to be something that tells the whole story. I wanted a comprehensive book on the whole area, because there is a lot of amazing stuff that has happened in this area. This is really a strange, dynamic part of the world right here.”

Thus the book brings a much broader appeal than just being directed to the UTV riding hobbyists, Berg said.
“I really want to emphasize that this book is not just aimed for UTV people,” Berg said. “It is really for people who are interest in hiking and exploring and just looking into the area’s history.”

Anyone interested in what all is out there in the desert, and the stories behind it, will enjoy All Around Mesquite.

The E-book version of the book is expected to be available for purchase this week at The hard copy version will be released at a special book signing event to be hosted by Juniper Outpost Boutique at 312 W. Mesquite Blvd #114 on Thursday, Dec. 21 from 4-6 pm. Print copies will also be available for purchase on the website.

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