Location: Bowdoin / Environmental Studies / Activity / 2012 / Protecting Canyonlands in Southern Utah

Environmental Studies

Protecting Canyonlands in Southern Utah

Story posted September 14, 2012

Event date(s): September 14, 2012 — May 30, 2013

Photo credit: Labyrinth Canton, copyright Tom Till

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 7:00 pm
Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center

Jackie Feinberg is the National Grassroots Organizer for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.  For the past five years, she has spoken to various groups on the east coast and other parts of the country about the ongoing campaign to protect the remaining wild public lands in Utah.

There are few enough places left in the lower 48 where we can truly lose ourselves, stand alone and bask in creation’s splendor. One of them is the Greater Canyonlands region, a stretch of matchless country in southern Utah at the heart of which is Canyonlands National Park.  The Greater Canyonlands region, though lacking official protection, remains one of the last untouched frontiers of the West and one of the largest roadless areas in the lower 48. This is a place of cliff, canyon and valley, of spire and castle, of lush and improbable hanging gardens, of echoing alcoves and amphitheaters. It is also one of the Colorado Plateau’s most critical watersheds. Through it the Green, Dirty Devil, and San Rafael Rivers wind south to meet the Colorado. Along the way they nourish some 960 species of desert flora and a rich array of wildlife, from black bears in the Abajo Mountains, to mountain lions and desert bighorn sheep at Hatch Point, to peregrine falcons in Labyrinth Canyon. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid once sought refuge there. Seven endangered or threatened species find refuge there today and perhaps nowhere else. Greater Canyonlands is one of the largest, wildest and most stunningly beautiful landscapes in the American West, containing spectacular geologic formations, 10,000-year-old archeological sites and world class hiking, climbing and rafting.

Photo credit: Desert climber, copyright Chris Noble