What is there to protect in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
There are millions of years of history and evolution in the mountains, valleys and buttes of the Grand Staircase-Escalante, including geology, world class fossils, archeological sites and hundreds of species of animals and plants; many of which are unique. The Grand Staircase protects world class paleontological sites and over 20,000 archeological sites. Clues to un-answered problems about global warming and why dinosaurs did die-off are even believed to be contained in the Grand Staircase-Escalante. To obtain the BLM's goal of preserving these important sites, the areas that are open to the public are limited.
Digging up unusual Dinosaur bones - Digs in the Grand Staircase-Escalante have uncovered rare or unknown species of dinosaurs like the duck-billed Crested Hadrosaur, the horned dinosaur Ceratopsians, the dome-headed dinosaur Pachycephalosaur, the Therizinosaurid dinosaur, an early Tyrannosaur and at least two new species of giant crocodiles.
Preserving the Paleoecological Story - Geologist David Gillette describes the Therizinosaurid dinosaur as a "one ton plant-eating carnivore with really bizarre claws. It had slender arms and really long bones in the hand with bladed claws that look like sickles. With the sheath, the claws are about 15 inches long." The Hadrosaur was found with the rear section of the body in an "exceptional state of preservation and articulation." Skin impressions were also found and the dry environment of the site has provided an exceptional specimen to study. Scientists believe that most of the dinosaur remains yet to be uncovered in the monument will represent new species. The BLM does give occasional guided tours to the digs.
What can you do to help preserve the History in the Grand Staircase Escalante? - Follow the "Leave no Trace" principles. Do not litter or take anything that you might find. Never carve into the rocks and trees. Stay in the areas and roads designated for public use. Off road paths invite invasion of flora and fauna that favor disturbed environments (like annoying grasses and weeds), killing the primitive and original life that has been preserved in the remote lands of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
The Antiquities Act The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a large area of primitive land that was set aside by presidential proclamation so that historical data can be studied and preserved. Congress gave Presidents the authority to designate land a monument through the Antiquities Act of 1906. In 1996 President Clinton used this law to protect the vast wilderness of southern Utah.
"The empty spaces are filling up in the West. We have to imagine what the western landscape is going to look like in 50 years and try to anticipate, rather than wait for conflicts to happen."
Grand Staircase-Escalante Roads - Pristine and remote describes the roadways within the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Highway 89 defines the southern border and Highway 12 accesses the northern side. In addition to Highways 12 and 89, there are 959 miles of open road in the Grand Staircase. Glendale, Utah, located on Highway 89, northeast of Zion National Park, connects the east side of Zion to Bryce Canyon via the Glendale Bench Road and the scenic backway, Skutumpah Road. To the north, Highway 12 connects Tropic and Boulder, Utah. At the southern end of the monument, roads connect Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona. The most popular roads in the Grand Staircase are probably Skutumpah Road accessed either by the Glendale Bench Road, near the east entrance to Zion, or the Johnson Canyon Road near Kanab, both leading to Kodachrome Basin near Bryce Canyon. All interior roads except for portions of the Burr Trail and Johnson Canyon Road are unpaved and may be impassible if wet.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument - UTAH!
History of the Thunderbird
Stay in the heart of the parks, Mount Carmel Junction, and visit the treasures of the Southwest and Utah.
This is my new favorite quote:
"I don't know who Tanya Milligan is, but I mean www.zionnational-park.com
It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park