[Federal Register Volume 61, Number 186 (Tuesday, September 24, 1996)]
[Presidential Documents]
[Pages 50223-50227]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 96-24716]


[[Page 50221]]



The President


Proclamation 6920--Establishment of the Grand Staircase-Escalante 
National Monument

                        Presidential Documents 

Federal Register / Vol. 61, No. 186 / Tuesday, September 24, 1996 / 
Presidential Documents


Title 3--
The President

[[Page 50223]]

                Proclamation 6920 of September 18, 1996

Establishment of the Grand Staircase-Escalante 
                National Monument

                By the President of the United States of America

                A Proclamation

                The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument's vast 
                and austere landscape embraces a spectacular array of 
                scientific and historic resources. This high, rugged, 
                and remote region, where bold plateaus and multi-hued 
                cliffs run for distances that defy human perspective, 
                was the last place in the continental United States to 
                be mapped. Even today, this unspoiled natural area 
                remains a frontier, a quality that greatly enhances the 
                monument's value for scientific study. The monument has 
                a long and dignified human history: it is a place where 
                one can see how nature shapes human endeavors in the 
                American West, where distance and aridity have been 
                pitted against our dreams and courage. The monument 
                presents exemplary opportunities for geologists, 
                paleontologists, archeologists, historians, and 

                The monument is a geologic treasure of clearly exposed 
                stratigraphy and structures. The sedimentary rock 
                layers are relatively undeformed and unobscured by 
                vegetation, offering a clear view to understanding the 
                processes of the earth's formation. A wide variety of 
                formations, some in brilliant colors, have been exposed 
                by millennia of erosion. The monument contains 
                significant portions of a vast geologic stairway, named 
                the Grand Staircase by pioneering geologist Clarence 
                Dutton, which rises 5,500 feet to the rim of Bryce 
                Canyon in an unbroken sequence of great cliffs and 
                plateaus. The monument includes the rugged canyon 
                country of the upper Paria Canyon system, major 
                components of the White and Vermilion Cliffs and 
                associated benches, and the Kaiparowits Plateau. That 
                Plateau encompasses about 1,600 square miles of 
                sedimentary rock and consists of successive south-to-
                north ascending plateaus or benches, deeply cut by 
                steep-walled canyons. Naturally burning coal seams have 
                scorched the tops of the Burning Hills brick-red. 
                Another prominent geological feature of the plateau is 
                the East Kaibab Monocline, known as the Cockscomb. The 
                monument also includes the spectacular Circle Cliffs 
                and part of the Waterpocket Fold, the inclusion of 
                which completes the protection of this geologic feature 
                begun with the establishment of Capitol Reef National 
                Monument in 1938 (Proclamation No. 2246, 50 Stat. 
                1856). The monument holds many arches and natural 
                bridges, including the 130-foot-high Escalante Natural 
                Bridge, with a 100 foot span, and Grosvenor Arch, a 
                rare ``double arch.'' The upper Escalante Canyons, in 
                the northeastern reaches of the monument, are 
                distinctive: in addition to several major arches and 
                natural bridges, vivid geological features are laid 
                bare in narrow, serpentine canyons, where erosion has 
                exposed sandstone and shale deposits in shades of red, 
                maroon, chocolate, tan, gray, and white. Such diverse 
                objects make the monument outstanding for purposes of 
                geologic study.

                The monument includes world class paleontological 
                sites. The Circle Cliffs reveal remarkable specimens of 
                petrified wood, such as large unbroken logs exceeding 
                30 feet in length. The thickness, continuity and broad 
                temporal distribution of the Kaiparowits Plateau's 
                stratigraphy provide significant opportunities to study 
                the paleontology of the late Cretaceous Era. Extremely 
                significant fossils, including marine and brackish 
                water mollusks, turtles, crocodilians, lizards, 
                dinosaurs, fishes, and mammals, have been recovered

[[Page 50224]]

                from the Dakota, Tropic Shale and Wahweap Formations, 
                and the Tibbet Canyon, Smoky Hollow and John Henry 
                members of the Straight Cliffs Formation. Within the 
                monument, these formations have produced the only 
                evidence in our hemisphere of terrestrial vertebrate 
                fauna, including mammals, of the Cenomanian-Santonian 
                ages. This sequence of rocks, including the overlaying 
                Wahweap and Kaiparowits formations, contains one of the 
                best and most continuous records of Late Cretaceous 
                terrestrial life in the world.

                Archeological inventories carried out to date show 
                extensive use of places within the monument by ancient 
                Native American cultures. The area was a contact point 
                for the Anasazi and Fremont cultures, and the evidence 
                of this mingling provides a significant opportunity for 
                archeological study. The cultural resources discovered 
                so far in the monument are outstanding in their variety 
                of cultural affiliation, type and distribution. 
                Hundreds of recorded sites include rock art panels, 
                occupation sites, campsites and granaries. Many more 
                undocumented sites that exist within the monument are 
                of significant scientific and historic value worthy of 
                preservation for future study.

                The monument is rich in human history. In addition to 
                occupations by the Anasazi and Fremont cultures, the 
                area has been used by modern tribal groups, including 
                the Southern Paiute and Navajo. John Wesley Powell's 
                expedition did initial mapping and scientific field 
                work in the area in 1872. Early Mormon pioneers left 
                many historic objects, including trails, inscriptions, 
                ghost towns such as the Old Paria townsite, rock 
                houses, and cowboy line camps, and built and traversed 
                the renowned Hole-in-the-Rock Trail as part of their 
                epic colonization efforts. Sixty miles of the Trail lie 
                within the monument, as does Dance Hall Rock, used by 
                intrepid Mormon pioneers and now a National Historic 

                Spanning five life zones from low-lying desert to 
                coniferous forest, with scarce and scattered water 
                sources, the monument is an outstanding biological 
                resource. Remoteness, limited travel corridors and low 
                visitation have all helped to preserve intact the 
                monument's important ecological values. The blending of 
                warm and cold desert floras, along with the high number 
                of endemic species, place this area in the heart of 
                perhaps the richest floristic region in the 
                Intermountain West. It contains an abundance of unique, 
                isolated communities such as hanging gardens, tinajas, 
                and rock crevice, canyon bottom, and dunal pocket 
                communities, which have provided refugia for many 
                ancient plant species for millennia. Geologic uplift 
                with minimal deformation and subsequent downcutting by 
                streams have exposed large expanses of a variety of 
                geologic strata, each with unique physical and chemical 
                characteristics. These strata are the parent material 
                for a spectacular array of unusual and diverse soils 
                that support many different vegetative communities and 
                numerous types of endemic plants and their pollinators. 
                This presents an extraordinary opportunity to study 
                plant speciation and community dynamics independent of 
                climatic variables. The monument contains an 
                extraordinary number of areas of relict vegetation, 
                many of which have existed since the Pleistocene, where 
                natural processes continue unaltered by man. These 
                include relict grasslands, of which No Mans Mesa is an 
                outstanding example, and pinon-juniper communities 
                containing trees up to 1,400 years old. As witnesses to 
                the past, these relict areas establish a baseline 
                against which to measure changes in community dynamics 
                and biogeochemical cycles in areas impacted by human 
                activity. Most of the ecological communities contained 
                in the monument have low resistance to, and slow 
                recovery from, disturbance. Fragile cryptobiotic 
                crusts, themselves of significant biological interest, 
                play a critical role throughout the monument, 
                stabilizing the highly erodible desert soils and 
                providing nutrients to plants. An abundance of packrat 
                middens provides insight into the vegetation and 
                climate of the past 25,000 years and furnishes context 
                for studies of evolution and climate change. The 
                wildlife of the monument is characterized by a 
                diversity of species. The monument varies greatly in 
                elevation and topography and is in a climatic zone 
                where northern and southern

[[Page 50225]]

                habitat species intermingle. Mountain lion, bear, and 
                desert bighorn sheep roam the monument. Over 200 
                species of birds, including bald eagles and peregrine 
                falcons, are found within the area. Wildlife, including 
                neotropical birds, concentrate around the Paria and 
                Escalante Rivers and other riparian corridors within 
                the monument.

                Section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 
                U.S.C. 431) authorizes the President, in his 
                discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic 
                landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and 
                other objects of historic or scientific interest that 
                are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the 
                Government of the United States to be national 
                monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of 
                land, the limits of which in all cases shall be 
                confined to the smallest area compatible with the 
                proper care and management of the objects to be 

                NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the 
                United States of America, by the authority vested in me 
                by section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 
                16 U.S.C. 431), do proclaim that there are hereby set 
                apart and reserved as the Grand Staircase-Escalante 
                National Monument, for the purpose of protecting the 
                objects identified above, all lands and interests in 
                lands owned or controlled by the United States within 
                the boundaries of the area described on the document 
                entitled ``Grand Staircase-Escalante National 
                Monument'' attached to and forming a part of this 
                proclamation. The Federal land and interests in land 
                reserved consist of approximately 1.7 million acres, 
                which is the smallest area compatible with the proper 
                care and management of the objects to be protected.

                All Federal lands and interests in lands within the 
                boundaries of this monument are hereby appropriated and 
                withdrawn from entry, location, selection, sale, 
                leasing, or other disposition under the public land 
                laws, other than by exchange that furthers the 
                protective purposes of the monument. Lands and 
                interests in lands not owned by the United States shall 
                be reserved as a part of the monument upon acquisition 
                of title thereto by the United States.

                The establishment of this monument is subject to valid 
                existing rights.

                 Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to 
                diminish the responsibility and authority of the State 
                of Utah for management of fish and wildlife, including 
                regulation of hunting and fishing, on Federal lands 
                within the monument.

                Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to affect 
                existing permits or leases for, or levels of, livestock 
                grazing on Federal lands within the monument; existing 
                grazing uses shall continue to be governed by 
                applicable laws and regulations other than this 

                Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke 
                any existing withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; 
                however, the national monument shall be the dominant 

                The Secretary of the Interior shall manage the monument 
                through the Bureau of Land Management, pursuant to 
                applicable legal authorities, to implement the purposes 
                of this proclamation. The Secretary of the Interior 
                shall prepare, within 3 years of this date, a 
                management plan for this monument, and shall promulgate 
                such regulations for its management as he deems 
                appropriate. This proclamation does not reserve water 
                as a matter of Federal law. I direct the Secretary to 
                address in the management plan the extent to which 
                water is necessary for the proper care and management 
                of the objects of this monument and the extent to which 
                further action may be necessary pursuant to Federal or 
                State law to assure the availability of water.

                Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not 
                to appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature 
                of this monument and not to locate or settle upon any 
                of the lands thereof.

[[Page 50226]]

                IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 
                eighteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord 
                nineteen hundred and ninety-six, and of the 
                Independence of the United States of America the two 
                hundred and twenty-first.

                    (Presidential Sig.)

[FR Doc. 96-24716
Filed 9-23-96; 12:27 pm]

Billing code 3195-01-P

[[Page 50227]]


Billing code 3195-01-C