• Spires of Cedar Mesa sandstone in Chesler Park (Needles District)

    Canyonlands

    National Park Utah

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  • Some unpaved roads are closed

    Recent rains have caused extensive damage to some roads in the Needles District and some of the roads into the Maze District. More »

  • Safety in Bear Country

    Black bears have been seen in the Needles, Maze, and along the Colorado River. Be alert and store food and garbage properly: in hard-sided, latched containers (or your vehicle) when not being prepared or consumed. More »

  • New backcountry requirements in effect

    Hard-sided bear containers are required for backpackers in parts of the Needles District. More »

Park Founders

Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, Senator Frank Moss and family members visit the Needles area in 1961
Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, Senator Frank Moss and family members visit the Needles area in 1961
 

In the 1950s and early 1960s, Arches National Monument Superintendent Bates Wilson advocated the creation of a National Park in what is now Canyonlands. Wilson led government officials on jeep tours which featured lengthy talks over campfires and hearty dutch oven dinners. Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall joined one of these tours in 1961, and took the campaign to Washington.

In 1962, the Canyonlands park bill was introduced by Utah Democratic Senator Frank Moss (in photo above). Also that year, the U.S. Department of the Interior published a paper entitled A Proposed Canyonlands National Park.
 

"Rock -- carved, colored and clothed by weather -- controls the character of our land. Nowhere is the relationship between earth's framework and the forces that shape it more dramatic than in the plateau and canyon country of the American Southwest."

A Proposed Canyonlands National Park
[5.5mb PDF file]

 
On September 12, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Public Law 88-590 establishing Canyonlands National Park. Canyonlands was expanded to its current size of 337,598 acres on November 12, 1971 when the Maze, the Land of Standing Rocks, as well as Davis and Lavender Canyons were added to the park (Public Law 92-154).

Did You Know?

Kangaroo Rat

One animal uniquely adapted to life in the desert is the kangaroo rat. This rat lives its entire life consuming nothing but plant matter. Its body produces water by metabolizing the food it eats. More...