GRAND STAIRCASE-ESCALANTE NATIONAL MONUMENT: 25TH ANNIVERSARY
Celebrating 25 Years of Learning from the land with a graphic of rock formations, trees, mountain ranges, and clear skies.

Monumental Science

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) celebrated its 25th anniversary as the first national monument managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Sept. 18, 2021. In 1996, the Presidential Proclamation 6920 helped ensure 1.9 million acres would remain an ecological, scientific and cultural “living laboratory” and “working landscape” national monument located in south-central Utah, within the Colorado Plateau geographic region, where public lands are managed by the BLM, the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service.

The GSENM continues to evolve as a place of cultural, paleontological, ecological and geographic discovery, as managers work to retain traditional resource values, while preserving important monument objects of value for the benefit of generations.

 

Audio Series: Monumental Science

"Reconstructing Kaiparowits Ecosystems" - Guest Speaker: Sarah Augusta “Gussie” MacCracken
Reconstructing Kaiparowits Ecosystems

 

"Reconstructing Kaiparowits Ecosystems"

Transcript

Dr. Sarah Augusta “Gussie” MacCracken, paleobotanist and National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow, Department of Earth Sciences at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, chats with Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Paleontologist Dr. Alan Titus about reconstructing Kaiparowits ecosystems from the bottom up and how scars on fossil leaves illuminate the diversity of ancient plants and insects on the Monument.

"Dinosaur Discoveries from Laramidia's Southern Frontier" - Guest Speaker: Dr. Joseph Sertich
Dinosaur Discoveries from Laramidia's Southern Frontier

"Dinosaur Discoveries from Laramidia's Southern Frontier"

Transcript

Dr. Joseph (Joe) Sertich, Curator of Dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Paleontologist Dr. Alan Titus discuss research through 10 years of collaborative exploration of the monument and new dinosaur discoveries from Laramidia's southern Frontier.

"Turtle Diversity at the National Monument" - Guest Speaker: Dr. Joshua Lively
Monumental Science - Episode 2: Turtle Diversity

"Turtle Diversity at the National Monument"

Transcript

Dr. Joshua Lively, curator of paleontology at Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum, talks with Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Paleontologist Dr. Alan Titus about his research on a new freshwater sea turtle from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and reviews turtle diversity in the Cretaceous Kaiparowits Formation. 

"Penstemon of Utah and the Intermountain West" - Guest Speaker: Dr. Mikel Stevens
Not Your Ordinary Job

"Penstemon of Utah and the Intermountain West"

Transcript

Dr. Mikel Stevens, Emeritus Professor of Plant Genetics and Plant Breeding at Brigham Young University, chats with Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Paleontologist Dr. Alan Titus about his penstemon research on the Monument.

 

History

Within its boundaries, spectacular cliffs and terraces, rugged terrain, slot canyons, bridges and arches serve as a backdrop to national and state scenic byways and remote roads, the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, outstanding natural and wilderness study areas, and about 234 miles of river segments eligible for congressional designation into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system. Five eco-zones from desert to subalpine coniferous forests support wildlife and plant species, and host grazing, ranching, and other productive uses. Fossils found generated paleontological information that ranks GSENM as among the world’s most scientifically significant repositories from the dinosaur era—just as cultural artifacts, rock art, campsites, masonry and pithouses, and granaries demonstrate the rich history of ancient inhabitants.

On Dec. 4, 2017, Presidential Proclamation 9682 reduced the size of GSENM to 1,003,863 acres. The lands removed created the BLM-administered Kanab-Escalante Planning Area (KEPA). Today, GSENM’s lands are managed as three units—Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits and Escalante Canyons. 

 

Virtual Art Show 

Explore the virtual art show and discover the incredible beauty across the diverse landscapes of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Grand-Staircase Escalante NM

 

Artist in Residence

Günther Haidenthaller - Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

The Artist in Residence program provides artistic and educational opportunities to foster a deeper understanding and dialogue of the natural, cultural, and historic resources in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM). The program promotes the value of National Conservation Lands and their connections to the local communities. Residencies allow artists to pursue their work in stimulating environments and share it with the public.

Biography: Artist-in-Residence Gunther Haidenthaller grew up in sight of the Alps in Austria. He played among 200-year-old Roman ruins and immigrated to the United States at age 6. He took art classes in junior high and high school, learning to ski, rock climb, ice climb, fly fish, skydive and whitewater kayak as an adult. Studying illustration and advertising design at Utah State University before he returned to Austria for mission work, Haidenthaller spent nearly 30 years devoted to graphic design, art direction, offset and screen painting, and taking photographs, and 10 years as a soccer administrator. Now he paints full time, “haunted by the ethereal, dreamlike quality of light” that he expresses in his artwork, as resident artist at GSENM.

View the art collection by Günther Haidenthaller

2021 Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Artist in Residence

 

Happy 25th Anniversary! 

Well wishes from our partners and friends as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument!

Fun Facts 

Inside the Monument
  • National and state scenic byways and backways.
     
  • Old Spanish National Historic Trail.
     
  • Phipps-Death Hollow Outstanding Natural Area.
     
  • Wolverine Petrified Forest Outstanding Natural Area.
     
  • About 671,400 acres of Wilderness Study Areas. 
     
  • Some 234 miles of river segments eligible for congressional designation into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
     
Habitat

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument features five “ecozones,” ranging from low-elevation desert to subalpine coniferous forests that host diverse biological resources, including many sensitive plant and animal species.

Cultural
  • Nine Tribal Affiliations: Hopi Tribe, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Navajo Nation, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe of Arizona, the Pueblo of Acoma, the Pueblo of San Felipe, the Pueblo of Tesuque and the Pueblo of Zuni have ancestral ties to the area. 
     
  • Resources: Artifacts, rock imagery panels, campsites, pithouse and masonry complexes, and granaries demonstrate a long history of occupation by Paleoindian, Archaic, Ancestral Puebloan, Fremont, and Ancestral Paiute culture. 
Archeological

Fossils found in rock sediment date to the Late Cretaceous Period between 100 million and 66 million years ago. These fossils are among the most scientifically significant in the entire world—yielding important information about the dinosaur era.

Paleontological Resources
  • 165,000 acres since 2000 with documentation of more than 3,900 significant fossil sites found mostly in the Kaiparowits Plateau region. 
     
  • At least 20 fossil vertebrate specimens have been found with extremely rare, soft-tissue preservation, including impressions of skin, claws and beaks. 
     
  • Multiple discovered turtles contained full clutches of unlaid eggs.  

 

New Species

  • 14 dinosaurs 
  • 12 lizards
  • 10 mammals
  • four fossil fish 
  • four turtles

 

Specimens Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument yielded:

  • The most complete specimen of the giant alligator Deinosuchus.
  • The world's oldest Caiman fossil, a small-sized crocodilian.
  • The oldest specimens of tyrannosaurine, pachycephalosaur and ceratopsid dinosaurs. 
     

Hundreds of research projects have been completed to comply with National Historic Preservation Act Section 106.

Rainbows and Unicorns Quarry

The only known preserved site in the southern United States with multiple tyrannosaurs who died and were buried together, proving for the first time that perhaps these dinosaurs were social and hunted in packs.

Range

75 permittees with 76,957 active animal-unit-months roamed in 2020 at GSENM.

Permits

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument staff issued 133 special recreation permits to individuals and to commercial, non-profit and organized groups.

 

Anniversary Posters 

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument: 25th Anniversary Posters