Miracles of Sand and Stone: A Historical past of Utah Nationwide Parks and Monuments

Posted by Jeff on Dec 1st, 2020 @ 6:59 pm in Book Reviews, Conservation | 0 comments | Last change: November 30, 2020

The southern half of Utah is canyon land, a land of drought, sparse vegetation, and unique and scenic topography and geology. It is a land that is rich in archaeological sites and parts of it are sacred to the indigenous people. It’s also largely public land owned by the American people and part of their national heritage, and it has been controversial terrain for a century.

Frederick Swanson, in Wonders of Sand and Stone, tells the story of centuries of battles between those who would preserve large parts of this spectacular landscape and those who would devote it to “multiple uses,” mainly grazing, mining, dams and oil and gas development.

The story begins early in the history of American national parks, when Utah’s redrock lands were virtually inaccessible except for a few intrepid explorers and prospectors, and extended to the 21st century conflicts over bear ears and national monuments of Grand Staircase-Escalante.

This century of struggle for public land use has resulted in five national parks and eight national monuments administered by the National Park Service. the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, also administered by the Park Service; and the recently scaled-down monuments Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears, administered by the US Bureau of Land Management, if that is the verb.

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