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.
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 sandblows 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 (see below).
How you can help protect the Glen Canyon wilderness
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.
us today! (Story and photo submissions will constitute permission for
SUWA to post them on our website and online networks and use in our written
materials, unless the individual requests otherwise.)