I have a fondness for the San Rafael Swell area of Emery County, Utah. I’ve posted about it before with images of the scenery there, some of the birds I see and photograph in the area and I’ve even posted images of a Midget Faded Rattlesnake that made me jump backwards about 8 feet when I unknowingly got so close to it that it rattled at me. I also wrote about it asking people to sign a petition to stop the sale or leasing of land within the Swell for oil and gas drilling.
If you don’t love deserts, dry washes, canyons, petroglyphs, hoodoos, mesas, hidden valleys, reefs, cliffs or sandstone you might want to stop reading here.
But I do, I am fascinated by the area and by all of the geological features and creatures found there. Juan Palma, BLM Director pulled those oil leases back in November and I felt joy about that announcement. I was relieved that the area wouldn’t be subjected to the pollution, noise and habitat destruction that oil drilling causes.
I also felt trepidation about the San Rafael Swell area because nothing within this state that is filled with stones is written in stone except the ancient pictographs and petroglyphs.
I have hoped that President Obama would finally give the San Rafael Area the long awaited designation of becoming a National Monument. That would protect this area for everyone. That hasn’t happened… yet. I still have hope about that. Earlier this week though the Salt Lake Tribune ran a story about the possibility of Utah’s State Park expanding the boundaries of Goblin Valley State Park into the San Rafael Area.
My first preference would be the National Monument designation but the Swell could also be protected by becoming part of the state park system.
I truly hope that this beautiful desert gem can be protected. The area deserves to be.
See these two articles in the Salt Lake Tribune: