Rainbow Bridge National Monument, located at the foot of Navajo Mountain in southeastern Utah, has long been a place of fascination, mystery, and reverence. It is also a place with a colorful, and sometimes controversial, history that includes Native American use, Anglo exploration, and Government management practices. This volume, number 18 in the National Park Service Intermountain Region's Cultural Resources Selections series, seeks to summarize that history in an effort to better understand where we came from and provide the context under which long-term management decisions will be made in the future.
The history of Rainbow Bridge begins long before it was established in 1910 as a National Monument under the Antiquities Act of 1906. There is incontrovertible evidence that Native American use of, and reverence for, Rainbow Bridge began in prehistory, and it certainly continues today. The Anglo discovery and scientific documentation of the Bridge in 1909, and the subsequent controversy over that discovery, is a fascinating story. Since the establishment of the Monument in 1910, ever-increasing visitation and conflict between users have challenged National Park Service managers to be innovative in seeking solutions to issues raised. Thus issues of scientific values, access, protection, religious freedom, and cultural significance have shifted in emphasis during the history of the monument and its management. The story of this history is admirably captured in the following pages and it is with great pleasure that I make this information available to the management community and to the public.
Karen P. Wade
The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.
Last Updated: 07-Feb-2003