About Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Located in south-central Utah, the original Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument--designated in 1996 and later ratified by an act of Congress--spanned 1.9 million acres. It's a geologic wonderland of multicolored cliffs, plateaus, mesas, buttes, pinnacles and canyons created over eons of time. It's also part of a cultural landscape connecting ancestral Puebloan people with those of the Fremont culture.
In addition to its rich human history, this cliff-strewn landscape is one of the last largely unexplored boneyards from the Age of Dinosaurs. To date, more than two-dozen new dinosaurs have been recovered from these rocks, along with fishes, amphibians, turtles, lizards, crocodiles, mammals, birds, plants and other organisms that lived there over 65 million years ago.
The National Monument was the last major region of the lower 48 states to be mapped, and for good reason. From its spectacular Grand Staircase cliffs and terraces, across the rugged Kaiparowits Plateau to the wonders of the Escalante River Canyons, the Monument’s size, resources, and remote character provide extraordinary opportunities for geologists, paleontologists, archeologists, historians, and biologists.
In 2017 the Trump administration released a proclamation illegally slashing the size of the Monument by nearly half, and creating three smaller units: Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits, and Escalante Canyon.
Conservation Lands Foundation is among the plaintiffs challenging this action; the litigation is currently active in federal court.