Bears Ears Interdisciplinary Team Receives Honor Award

On February 16, 2023, a team from the Forest Service Intermountain Region, Manti-La Sal National Forest, Bureau of Land Management and the Office of General Counsel were presented with a 2022 Secretary's Honor Award for their work in Expanding Opportunities for Economic Development and Improving the Quality of Life in Rural and Tribal Communities (Strategic Goal #5). This team was instrumental in completing the first-of-its-kind Forest Service co-stewardship agreement with the five tribes of the Bears Ears Commission and the Bureau of Land Management.

This recognition is a direct reflection of their hard work, dedication, and their efforts to make the Forest Service and our nation a better place.

Congratulations to Bears Ears Interdisciplinary Team members:

Bears Ears Commission (Hopi Nation, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, and the Pueblo of Zuni)

Kathryn Conant (Director of Lands and Minerals, Intermountain Regional Office)

Ryan Nehl (Manti-La Sal Forest Supervisor)

Michael Engelhart (District Ranger, Moab and Monticello Districts)

Brian Murdock (Recreation Program Lead)

Patrick Redmond (Office of General Counsel, Washington, D.C.)

Jacob Palma (Monticello Field Manager, Bureau of Land Management) 

Timed Entry at Arches Returns April 1

From April 1 to October 31, 2023, visitors will need to secure a timed entry reservation in advance to enter the park between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Visitors can book reservations on a first come first-served basis on Reservations will be released three months in advance in monthly blocks.

Understanding the Arches of Arches

Cliff Wall Arch

These arches appear on the side of or adjacent to rock walls or cliffs. They can be tricky to spot, since often the only way to see the light opening is to stand directly beneath one and look up. Streaks of desert varnish that seem to "disappear" behind a slab, and then reappear below it, are often a clue.

Examples of Cliff Wall Arches in the park include Park Avenue Arch, Biceps Arch and Visitor Center Arch.

Free-Standing Arch

This is the most obvious kind of arch: standing alone, independent of other rock walls or fins, proudly spanning an easily visible light opening. A few arches of this type have been called "windows" for the scenic views they frame.

The most popular arches in the park nearly all fall into this category, including Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, North and South Windows, and Double Arch.

Pothole Arch

This type of arch forms when a pothole (small depression) on top of a rock mass merges with an alcove on a rock face. The light opening is often smooth and rounded at the top, casting light down into a room-shaped opening below. Measuring these arches requires the skills of an experienced climber.

Examples of this type include the aptly-named Pothole Arch Upper and Lower near Garden of Eden and Bean Pot Arch.

Natural Bridge

A natural bridge is distinguished from other types of arches because of its location astride a stream or stream channel.There are only a handful of known natural bridges at Arches, all of which—such as Walk Through Bridge in the Fiery Furnace—require a bit of trekking to get to.

Non-Arch Opening

There are many, many more rock holes in the park than just the official 2,000+ named arches. Most of these are simply too small; spans must have a light opening of at least three feet in one direction to count as an official arch. Gaps formed by rock falls (the space between two boulders at rest, for example) or vertical cracks or joints in bedding planes also do not count as legitimate arches.

Updates from Canyon Country BLM

Maintenance Team Partners Up for Infrastructure Improvements by Jenn Jones & Jeremy Buck, BLM

In partnership with the BLM Utah State Office (UTSO), accessibility was improved at Horsethief Campground’s reservable Group Site A, including leveling and compacting the gravel surface, extending the shade shelter, constructing an elevated tent pad, pouring concrete under the shade shelter, and adding a concrete pathway to the vault toilet. This reservable campsite is adjacent to 20 miles of singletrack mountain bike trails. For this project, we partnered with our permittee Telluride Adaptive Sports Program who operates hand cycle trips that base out of the group site. We also coordinated with Quinn Brett, Accessibility Coordinator with NPS. We are receiving great feedback and compliments on the project

Two-thousand feet below, along the Colorado River’s ‘Moab Daily’ section, tens of thousands of visitors utilize the many put-ins and take-outs that have been developed and improved by our maintenance team. One of these day use areas, Rocky Rapid, sees nearly 80,000 commercial and private boaters! In response to increased use and visitation, the maintenance team has installed a new shade shelter that will help visitors escape the summer sun at this popular gathering place.

Three additional projects have been keeping our maintenance teams, force account teams, and contractors busy this winter: Fisher Towers National Recreation Trail is receiving a much-needed parking expansion, Poison Spider Mesa Trailhead saw parking improvements and erosion control work, and the Scenic Skyway (a parcel of land along Kane Creek Boulevard) is being improved with a new vault toilet and shade structure. We anticipate the Skyway parcel will open for the public later this year!

BLM maintenance crews create more accessibility at Horsethief Campground

Improvements at Rocky Rapid boat launch along the Colorado River

Kane Gulch Ranger Station Opens For the Spring Season

Currently Cedar Mesa is snow-capped and mostly inaccessible. Trailhead access roads are still snow/ice covered in the morning and muddy when it warms up in the afternoon. The mud is quite deep. Two vehicles have gotten stuck in the mud so far this month on Snow Flat Road. The cost of getting pulled out can exceed $1,000. The snow is crusty and drifted. According to the tow-truck driver, some drifts are up to 2' deep.

Trail conditions depend on the location. Kane Gulch trail has snow drifts up to 1.5' deep. Upper Fish and Todie Canyons are not recommended due to access routes being north-facing; they will be slippery (hazardous) with snow and ice until the end of the month, if not longer. Some of the south-facing trails like Bullet Canyon and Collins may be passable in the event you can get to them (potential deep mud present on access roads). South Mule is wet and muddy with flowing water/snow and ice in the drainage.

For more information on Cedar Mesa and its surroundings, visit the Kane Gulch Ranger Station (4 miles south of Highway 95 on Highway 261) during their operating hours 8:00am to 12:00pm daily. The Monticello Field Office (365 N. Main St, Monticello UT) is also available to answer questions in person from 8am-12pm and 1pm-4:30pm, Monday through Friday year-round. If you would like to call with a question, please contact the Cedar Mesa Permits Desk at (435) 587-1510.

Starting in the spring of 2023, permit check-in requirements have been reinstated. Your permit is not valid until you meet in person with a BLM Park Ranger. To get your permit validated by a park ranger, print two copies of your permit and visit the Kane Gulch Ranger Station (spring and fall only) or the Monticello Field Office (year-round). A ranger will speak with you about archeological site etiquette, provide current conditions, and go over details of your trip with you. Follow this link for more information on permits and day passes.

Winter Conditions Persist in local Mountain Ranges

March finds the Manti-La Sal National Forest continuing to receive above average snowfall. While this extra snow may be frustrating for those tasked with keeping walkways clear, it is exciting for snow recreationists and encouraging for 2023 reservoir levels! Utah has been gripped by a multi-year drought and this snowy winter should bring some welcome relief. Although we will need more than one year of plentiful snow to get us out of drought conditions, having an average February snowpack of 173% above normal on the Manti-La Sal NF and soil moistures at or just above 100% is great news!

New Prints from Lantern Press on

Arches Night Sky

6 x 9 Metal Print

Bears Ears

9 x 12 Litho Style Print

The Needles

12 x 18 Wood Sign

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