What do you mean hiking shoes are the enemy?

Cally visits Ballroom Cave, a site impacted by hikers and in need of restoration in an archaeologically rich part of southeast Utah. The area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and has seen a spike in visitation in recent years.

It’s beyond treading lightly. It’s a deeper ethic. Having an awareness that where you are is part of a cultural landscape with deep roots.
— Jason Chuipka

In this episode, we hear from Jason Chuipka of Woods Canyon Archaeological Consultants as he photographs and inspects Ballroom Cave, and explains how even the footprints visitors leave behind can have long-term effects.

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Restoration in the Backcountry

Photos from restoration projects Woods Canyon Archaeological Consultants completed in southeast Utah over the past year.

Pictured: Jim Hampson, Ryan Spittler, and Mark Metteis


You Are a Visitor, Not an Ancestral Puebloan.

If you visit archaeological sites in southeast Utah managed by the BLM, be on the lookout for a green ammo can packed with additional information about the site, as well as guidelines for how to safety explore the area.

Documents pictured here courtesy of BLM Grand Gulch Ranger Station

Tribal Consultation in Preservation

When the Woods Canyon team stabilizes walls and structures, they use mortars that match those used by the original builders.

They even try to dig the materials for the mortars from the same sources close to the sites that prehistoric people likely used.

Learn more about this approach, and a Hopi perspective on preservation, in this article by Lyle Balenquah.

Photo courtesy Bureau of Land Management

Photo courtesy Bureau of Land Management

Want to visit Cedar Mesa and Grand Gulch?

Do your research! You may need a permit!

Click here for detailed information, or download the Cedar Mesa/Grand Gulch Trip Planner.