Kent Smith Frost, hiker extraordinaire, river runner, tour operator, storyteller, craftsman and good friend passed away May 16, 2013.
Kent was preceded in death by his wife, Fern Binns Frost; parents, Clarence Alford and Seraphine Smith Frost; two brothers, Alfred and Melvin, and a sister, Willamelia Frost Barton. He is survived by his sister, Pearl Frost Lewis, many other relatives, friends and admirers.
Kent was born January 7, 1917. Except for his mission and service in the US Navy during WWII, he lived his entire life in San Juan County, Utah, most of it in Monticello. As a youth he worked in family enterprises—farming on Dodge, a sawmill and flourmill. Kent delivered flour in the Four Corners area. On one of these trips, he met Norman Nevills. But the mountains and desert always drew him; he hiked and explored whenever he could get away from responsibilities.
Kent received honors and awards in recognition of an interesting and productive long life. In 1935 he received the Carnegie Hero Award (a medal and $500) for helping to rescue a 15 year-old boy from drowning in a local reservoir.
In 2010, his river running experiences were recognized by his induction into the River Runners Hall of Fame in the John Wesley Powell River History Museum in Green River, Utah. He began working for Norman Nevills in 1937, helping to build boats and guiding passengers on the San Juan, Green, Colorado, Salmon and Snake Rivers. Kent was one of the first 100-recorded individual to go through the Grand Canyon. He led the first Boy Scout trip through Glen Canyon. The Park Service honored him by naming their Cataract Canyon Rescue boat the USPS Frost.
In 1985, Kent was one of the charter inductees in the Utah Travel Council’s Hall of Fame. For several years he and Fern operated Kent Frost Canyonlands Tours, bringing hundreds of people to the canyons and mountains of Southeastern Utah. He engineered and improved roads in the Maze and Needles areas. Kent and Fern were active in travel councils and lobbied for the creation of Canyonlands National Park.
His adventures are documented in his book My Canyonlands, in Desert Magazine, Arizona Highways and other publications. Kent also enjoyed sharing his experiences and knowledge with Boy Scouts, boatmen, the public and friends. He was a marvelous storyteller.
Later in his life, his contributions to protecting the natural environment were recognized when he received the David Brower Award by the Glen Canyon Institute in 2004.
Kent was also noted for his creativity—recycling materials to make useful objects, including a camping trailer out of a Willys Station Wagon. His orange Blazer and green trailer with a wood burning stove got him into back country in all kinds of weather.
Kent was a life member of the American Mountain Men and enjoyed shooting his flintlock and pistol. He was never without a pistol. He was an excellent marksman with both the flintlock and pistol.
Services and burial were in Monticello, UT.