After our brief stop we continued on Hwy. 12 until we arrived at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park which is about a mile past one of the visitors centers for Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. The Monument is being managed by the Bureau of Land Management and not the National Park Service. The Monument was created for research and its scenic beauty as well as its geological importance in the Bryce-Zion-Grand Canyon park system. One of the first Europeans to see it said it looked like a staircase and the name stuck. All the National Parks from Arches the Grand Canyon where formed by "Deposition- Uplift and Erosion" The beauty comes from the "Differential Erosion" of the various layers as well as their different colors. The layers were laid down when a large but shallow sea covered the area. As it migrated from around the equator this sea came and went several times alternating with a desert period so that the various layers left on top of the previous layer are different. The lowest level at Bryce is the highest at Zion and the lowest at Zion is the highest at the Grand Canyon. Hence it resembles a staircase.
Bill Clinton in a courageous act declared the Monument towards the end of his second term and snatched it away from the coal interests. A President can declare a National Monument while Congress creates National Parks. Many of our National Parks began as National Monuments.
There aren't any programs or visitor services that one finds in other National Parks or Monuments. There are some hiking trails and one campground. We were to big for the campground and we did hike on one of the trails. The 3 mile one way hike took us to a beautiful water fall that reminded me of Bash Bish Falls in New York State.
The trail we hiked on also had some petroglyphs. Nobody, including modern Native Americans, really knows what any of these petroglyphs means.
We camped at Escalante State Park while we toured the National Monument and walked through the petrified forest. My digital camera doesn't do the colors justice.
There wasn't a lot to do in Escalante. We couldn't even go swimming because the 4 year draught and the end of Summer had left the swimming reservoir amazingly low. Despite previous comments we had made a three day reservation thinking there were things to do at the Monument and State Park. Therefor we changed our plans regarding the next campground and went there for a visit.
It seems that Eastman Kodak has a better publicist or lobbyist then Hershey because they managed to get this State Park named Kodachrome State Park. It is gorgeous and worth the visit.
I should switch to film but won't.
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