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Bryce Canyon National Park
Nikon F90x camera Nikon 70/300 lens Fuji Film Superia 200 iso Nikon Coolscan III
Shortly after 1900, visitors were coming to see the colorful geologic sights, and the first accommodations were built along the Paunsaugunt Plateau rim above Bryce’s Canyon. By 1920 efforts were started to set aside these scenic wonders. In 1923 President Warren G. Harding proclaimed part of the area as Bryce Canyon National Monument under the Powell (now Dixie) National Forest. In 1924 legislation was passed to establish the area as Utah National Park, but provisions of this legislation were not met until 1928. Legislation was passed that year to change the name to the new park to Bryce Canyon National Park.
Congress created Bryce National Monument in 1923. In 1928, Bryce Canyon was designated Bryce Canyon National Park.
Bryce Canyon National Park consists of 37,277 acres of scenic colorful rock formations and desert wonderland. The majority of park visitors come during June to September and are lowest in December through February. Each year the park is visited by more than 1.5 million visitors from all over the world. Languages as varied as the shapes and colors of the hoodoos express pleasure in the sights.
Early Native Americans left little to tell us of their use of the plateaus. We know that people have been in the Colorado Plateau region for about 12,000 years, but only random fragments of worked stone tell of their presence near Bryce Canyon. Artifacts tell a more detailed story of use at lower elevations beyond the park’s boundary. Both Anasazi and Fremont influences are found near the park. The people of each culture left bits of a puzzle to be pieced together by present and future archaeologists. Paiutes lived in the region when Euro-Americans arrived in southern Utah. Paiutes explained the colorful hoodoos as “Legend People” who were turned to stone by Coyote.
The Paiutes were living throughout the area when Captain Clarence E. Dutton explored here with John Wesley Powell in the 1870’s. Many of today’s place names come from this time. Dutton’s report gave the name Pink Cliffs to the Claron Formation. Other names – Paunsaugunt, place or home of the beavers; Paria, muddy water of elk water; Panguitch, water or fish; and Yovimpa, point of pines – were derived from the Paiute language.
The Paiutes were displaced by emissaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who developed the many small communities throughout Utah. Ebenezer Bryce aided in the settlement of southwestern Utah and northern Arizona. In 1875 he came to the Paria Valley to live and harvest timber from the plateau. Neighbors call the canyon behind his home Bryce’s Canyon. Today it remains the name not only of one canyon but also of a national park.