BLM Utah Archaeology
What We Manage
BLM-Utah has the important responsibility of managing archaeological, historical, and traditional-use sites, commonly referred to as ‘cultural’ or ‘heritage’ resources on public lands in Utah. Heritage resources are fragile, irreplaceable resources that are part of our Nation's heritage and Utah has a unique and rich array of these resources representing 13,000 years of human history. The variety of heritage resources on public lands in Utah ranges from; Barrier Canyon Style pictographs to pioneer inscriptions, Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings to historical cabins, and prehistoric artifact scatters to historic mining debris. BLM-Utah manages these heritage resources as an important part of our Nation's heritage.
As part of the responsibility to manage these resources, BLM-Utah identifies and evaluates the potential for each heritage resource to provide a scientific, traditional, experimental, or public use for the American public. BLM-Utah also has the responsibility to protect and preserve in place heritage resources on public lands for the benefit of present and future generations.
Respect and Protect
BLM manages an incredible variety of cultural and paleontological resources in Utah encompassing millions of years of natural history and thirteen thousand years of human history. In 2016, BLM launched a wide variety of programs, projects, and partnerships to protect cultural and paleontological resources and provide education, outreach, and stewardship opportunities for public land visitors in Utah.
BLM-Utah implemented 45 projects around the state with a focus on resources protection, education, and stewardship in areas with high visitation, high impacts, or public interest. Many projects were in support of heritage tourism development at increasingly popular cultural and paleontological sites throughout the state. Projects include the stabilization of at-risk cultural resources, such as prehistoric ruins in Cedar Mesa and portions of the historic Transcontinental Railroad grade; developing heritage tourism opportunities in Cedar Mesa, Nine Mile Canyon, and Moab; and numerous public outreach and education efforts in local Utah communities, such as developing a new exhibit about paleontological resources at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s Big Water Visitor Center. The funding of so many forward looking projects and partnerships was a landmark moment for cultural resource management in Utah and will have a positive effect for years to come.
Statewide initiatives also include new partnerships in cultural and paleontological resources education, outreach, and stewardship. Following over a year of development and engagement with hundreds of stakeholders, BLM and Tread Lightly! launched their “Respect and Protect” outreach campaign to eliminate the looting of cultural and paleontological resources on public lands in Utah. BLM and Friends of Cedar Mesa partnered to build a statewide site steward program to train volunteers to monitor archaeological sites. BLM also partnered with Southern Utah University to increase the reach of Project Archaeology throughout the state and engage a wider range of teachers and students in this heritage education program.