Discover San Juan County Excursions
Excursion A: Dugout Ranch/Newspaper Rock
(Limited to 30 participants)
Dugout Ranch is an icon of the American West located in the heart of the Colorado Plateau. The ranch is interspersed along the biologically rich canyon bottoms of Indian and North Cottonwood Creeks. These canyons are walled by steep sandstone cliffs and talus slopes that form the gateway to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The ranch was purchased by The Nature Conservancy in 1997 and is still run by Heidi Redd and her family.
Ancestral Puebloan rock art and dwellings are found throughout the Dugout Ranch Canyonlands Project area, the most well-known being Newspaper Rock. Dugout Ranch encompasses 5,207 private acres, with an additional 335,030 acres of adjacent public lands in the form of grazing allotments associated with the ranch managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
Today, the ranch and allotments, spanning more than 340,000 acres of private and public lands, is the foundation for the ground-breaking Canyonlands Research Center which works to increase understanding of the interactive effects of climate change and land use, and provide decision-makers with information to adapt to challenges such as grazing, recreation impacts, and invasive species. (source: The Nature Conservancy)
During the visit to Dugout Ranch researchers from the Canyonlands Research Center will speak on the important research taking place as well as a history of Dugout Ranch from Heidi Redd. Leaving Dugout we will stop at Newspaper Rock, one of the largest collections of petroglyphs in the country that features hundreds of forms, including pictures resembling humans, animals, tools, and more esoteric, abstract items. The 200-square-foot rock site is a part of the cliffs along the upper end of Indian Creek Canyon.