Archive for Nokai Dome

San Juan-Canyonlands Proposed Wilderness

Posted in Adventure, Environmental Journalism, Photography, Utah, Wilderness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2010 by chriscasephoto

I’d do most anything to help protect Southern Utah. It’s serpentine canyons, abstract geology, and rich archaeological holdings are hard to surpass. So, when I approached the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance about how I could help their cause to establish new wilderness areas in and around Canyonlands National Park and San Juan County, I was delighted to know they were looking for images from some of the most threatened and most incredible portions of the proposed wilderness area. One of them was White Canyon. So I set out to immerse myself in its phenomenal twists, slots, and pools, if only for a week.

When I returned from my brief excursion, I immediately contacted SUWA and let them know I would be happy to donate some of my images for their work. “That’s excellent,” they said. “Can we download some tonight? We’re meeting with a Senator tomorrow to make a presentation to him on our wilderness proposal. Your images would really help us make the case for its protection.” It was an incredible feeling, actually, knowing that my work would play even a small role in the area’s eternal protection by passing before the eyes of someone who has the power to sponsor such a bill in Congress. “By all means,” I said. “Take as many images as you need.” Let’s hope that the wilderness proposal soon becomes wilderness reality.

Entering the narrows of White Canyon, Utah, part of the San Juan-Canyonlands proposed wilderness area.

White Canyon makes a gorgeous, serpentine cut through Cedar Mesa, near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It lies at the heart of the proposed Glen Canyon Wilderness, where the vast expanse of Paleozoic-era sandstone known as Nokai Dome eases its way to the upper reaches of Lake Powell in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This region also includes the soaring Wingate Cliffs of the Red Rock Plateau, Mancos Mesa, Moqui Canyon with its meandering stream, Red Canyon, and the serpentine side canyons of White Canyon. This is one of the most remote regions of the state, but it lacks protection and is threatened by increasing ORV use.

It is all part of the San Juan-Canyonlands region of Southeastern Utah is one of the most iconic landscapes recommended for protection in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, boasting dramatic geologic features wrought by elemental forces, as well as internationally significant cultural sites of the Ancestral Puebloans and the Mormon Pioneers. Adorned with buttes and arches, vast stretches of slickrock deposited over 250 million years ago, ancient pinyon-juniper forests and an artist’s pallet of red-hued sandstone, the San Juan-Canyonlands region has inspired explorers since the days of John Wesley Powell, and its wonders represent some of the greatest unprotected wilderness in the country.

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