a black and white photo of a ranger standing in front of a wood-routed map
Bates Wilson, one of the earliest advocates for the creation of Canyonlands



American Indians
Humans first visited Canyonlands over 10,000 years ago. Nomadic groups of hunter-gatherers roamed throughout the southwest from 8,000 BCE to 500 BCE (Before Common Era).

European Explorers
For early European explorers, Canyonlands offered more of an impediment to travel than a destination.

Miners & Ranchers
From the 1880s to 1975, local ranchers used much of Canyonlands for winter pasture. Cowboys searched the canyons for good feed and water.

Park Founders
In the 1950s and early 1960s, Arches National Monument Superintendent Bates Wilson advocated the creation of a national park in what is now Canyonlands.

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    Last updated: October 21, 2019

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