An archive is a collection of documents, records, and other materials that are created or received by an organization, family, or person, and kept permanently.
Archives are also a physical place for gathering firsthand facts, data, and evidence from primary sources. Some of the primary sources commonly found in archives include:
Letters and emails
Final and draft versions of reports
Archives in the National Park Service
The National Park Service archives collects and preserves permanent records vital to the function and mission of the NPS. These records are valuable for many purposes:
Government accountability in legal and fiscal record-keeping
Evidence of work completed, and preservation of data gathered during that work
Informing park managers about how each park's resources have been cared for in the past and how best to continue that mission into the future
Providing the raw material for writing the histories of the NPS organization and individual parks
Evidence of trends in environmentalism, conservationism, outdoor recreation, family vacationing, as well as other issues important to the American public.
Though most of the materials in the archives came from the park itself, NPS also accepts collections donated by organizations, persons, and families directly related to the history of the parks.
The Canyonlands National Park archives preserves information related to archeology, geology, history, wildlife habitat, plant life, hydrology, and more as part of the NPS mission.
Who can use the Canyonlands National Park archives?
Anyone interested in using the park archives can request to use the collections on weekdays. Access is by appointment only. We lack the space to accommodate more than one researcher at a time for the four parks we manage.
If you are interested in using the archives, you will need to read, fill out, and return the following forms to the archivist:
Finding aids are guides to finding information in an archival collection. They are similar to a catalog or a book index, but finding aids can be quite a mystery to even an experienced scholar.
Most researchers should read secondary sources and other background material before looking for primary sources and evidence in an archive. Before requesting material, it is important to know what you need and what type of material may have the information you are seeking.
You may use the finding aids below to determine if we have information you are interested in viewing. We have more finding aids offline, therefore it is best to email us if you do not find what you are looking for.
After you email us, the archivist will conduct a reference interview with you. This is a conversation to determine your information needs and purpose, to guide you to appropriate tools, and to help you identify relevant resources. Be sure to discuss your research questions; the archivist may be able to tell you exactly where to find the evidence you seek.