Tucked between the rivers slowed by Lake Powell, a wilder, more unpredictable
set of wonders can be found. Here, in the still unprotected Glen Canyon wilderness, sandstone domes and
mesas rise beyond the reaches of the Colorado and San Juan rivers – reminders of
the pristine beauty that once dominated this entire region.
Upper Red Canyon, copyright
Ray Bloxham/SUWA. Click image for more
Look up to see Mancos Mesa, the largest isolated slickrock mesa in southern
Utah, a 180-square-mile table rising 1,500-feet high above the surrounding
desert. Here, one of Utah’s few relict plant communities of pinyon, juniper,
blackbrush and yucca thrives undisturbed – save for the hoofbeats of bighorn
sheep and mule deer. Moqui and Red canyons meander below, but ORV use is
eroding the delicate sand formations that provide access to them.
Now peer around a bend in White Canyon, which carves cool, dark, labyrinthine
slots so narrow that a human wingspan is enough to touch its sides, and see the
upper walls adorned with the honeycomb, grottoes and alcoves of erosive art.
Here, remnants of Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings remain mostly untouched,
the difficulty of the terrain thus far safeguarding them from vandals and
thieves. Without wilderness designation, however, these prehistoric structures
and artifacts may soon be accessed by looters with bigger and more powerful ORVs
before they can be fully studied.
Envision a future where the treasures of the Glen Canyon wilderness are
protected for generations to come. That’s what we’re working on at SUWA with
our partners in the Utah Wilderness Coalition, and you can help.
Have you been to any of these places in the Glen Canyon wilderness? We would
love to hear your story, see your pictures, and share them with those who can
help us protect these treasures for good.
Write us today!
(Story and photo submissions will constitute permission for SUWA to post
them on our website and online networks and use them in our written materials,
unless the individual requests otherwise.)