"This Is the Place" is the place again.

In response to an identity crisis it has suffered since its inception 20 years ago, Pioneer Trail State Park on Sunday officially becomes This Is the Place State Park.Located at the mouth of Emigration Canyon across from Hogle Zoo, the park was developed in 1973 around the site of the This Is the Place Monument. The park is also home to the Old Deseret Village, a "living museum" of historical buildings and artifacts.

Though the state named the new park Pioneer Trail State Park/

This Is the Place Monument, many people continued to refer to it as This Is the Place. Meanwhile, others took to calling it "Pioneer Park" or "Pioneer Village."

That has caused confusion over the years because Pioneer Park is also the name of a Salt Lake City park and Pioneer Village is the name of an exhibit at Lagoon in Farmington, said park manager Michael K. Barker.

The state approached Salt Lake City about renaming its city park, but city officials refused, citing the historical significance of the name. After exploring other equally unproductive options, the State Parks Board voted in October to do the name-changing itself.

"We have lived with both names over the years anyway, and with the state centennial coming up, it seemed an appropriate time to return it to This Is the Place," Barker said.

The name change also coincides with some major physical changes planned for the park. In March, Utah National Guard crews will demolish the old visitors center to make way for a larger, more modern facility.

The Legislature appropriated $1.4 million for the project during its 1994 session and will be asked to release an additional $1 million in 1995.

Also, the Utah Statehood Centennial Commission has adopted This Is the Place State Park as its "legacy project." The commission is raising money to improve and expand Old Deseret Village. Plans call for additional visitor facilities and construction of a replica of a brick pioneer home.

According to Barker, visitations have declined slightly since the park began charging an entrance fee last year, but not as much as expected. A total of 305,035 people visited the park during the first 10 months of 1994, compared to 320,940 during the same period in 1993.

The $1.50 per person fee will drop to $1 when the park reopens in February, and other fee adjustments are being considered, Barker said. The park's facilities are closed during January, but visitors may still enter the area.

The name change will occur without fanfare Sunday - not even the sign will be changed - but Barker said it will receive official attention during a ceremony in the spring.

According to tradition, Brigham Young remarked, "This is the right place" as he led Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. In 1915, a committee of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints identified the Emigration site as the possible location of the famous pronouncement.

A year later, a large wooden marker with the inscription "This Is the Place" was erected on the site. The massive granite monument that now sits on the spot was dedicated on July 24, 1947, by LDS Church President George Albert Smith.