settlers of the valley developed a basic irrigation system that still
serves the valley today. Because of the distance to a major railhead,
settlers produced, manufactured, and developed about everything they
needed. The leading livelihood was the cattle and sheep; milling, the
production of honey, and the farming of grains and alfalfa were also
important. Vernal still remains without a railroad, but the highway
transportation system has enabled the city's residents to have access
to most good and services.
Although the LDS Church helped set up Vernal as a town in 1884, the town wasn't incorporated
until 1897. Vernal thus had the distinction of being a city without
taxation for fifteen years. In 1948 Vernal had its first oil boom. From
that time on it has been a boom and bust town. A thriving tourist business
by Dinosaur National Monument, as well as livestock and agriculture
production, help keep Vernal going during "bust" times.