To continue Utah Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month, the USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum recently hosted a lecture. Jody Patterson, Ph.D. presented “A Tale of Two Canyons: How Ancient Native American Sites Have Entered Into Activist and Extremist Ideologies and Why That’s a Really Bad Thing.”
In his lecture, Patterson spoke of Recapture Canyon, located just east of Blanding, and how it houses hundreds of archaeological sites spanning from millennia of prehistoric and historic occupation. Pueblos, granaries, small cliff dwellings and rock art are just some of the easily accessible sites to view in the canyon. According to Patterson, the cultural resources of the canyon have made it a popular attraction for recreational use for locals and visitors alike. People have viewed the attractions for many years with very few problems.
However, when unauthorized trail improvements were made and motorized access to the canyon closed indefinitely, Recapture Canyon became a symbol for various interest groups with land use idealogies at opposite ends of the political spectrum, Patterson explained. In his presentation, Patterson discussed the implications of using cultural resources as leverage in larger land management debates. He also compared how similar Section 106 processes resulted in very different outcomes for Recapture and Nine Mile canyons.
The lecture was free to the public.