In this chapter we visit three wilderness study areas attached to the southern and eastern sides of Canyonlands National Park. Adjacent lands within the national park are also being considered for wilderness designation, so these small parcels of BLM land are part of a larger picture. The nearest town is Monticello, at the intersection of US 191 and US 491 (formerly US 666). Moab is about 40 miles north of that.
All of these areas are typical of high desert environments on the Colorado Plateau. Water is very scarce, with the exception of Indian Creek. Piñon-juniper woodlands have a shaky hold on the higher elevations. Sagebrush and drought-resistant grasses grow wherever they can find a toehold in the rocks. Mule deer, bighorn sheep, and the usual cadres of lizards, snakes, and insects find these deserts to their liking. Elaborate and highly scenic sandstone rock formations are the biggest draw for human visitors. Mountain bikers, hikers, and jeep enthusiasts can find solitude if they work their way off the main roads. Indian Creek, with its riparian areas, offers contrast to the desert.
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