by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved
A Century of Wonder 1923 - 2023
Centennial Newspapaer of Bryce Canyon National Park (NPS) in Utah. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Bryce Canyon National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Centennial Newspaper A Century of Wonder 1923 - 2023 LEWIS A. RAMSEY, The Eternal City, View of Bryce Canyon View of Bryce Canyon, 1926, oil on canvas, Courtesy of the Orton Geological Library, Ohio State “ Yo u c a n p e r h a p s i m a g i n e m Y s u r p r i s e a t t h e i n de s c r i b a b l e b e au t Y t h at g r e e t e d us , a n d i t wa s s u n d o w n b e f o r e i c o u l d b e d r a g g e d f r o m t h e c a n Y o n v i e w .” - J .w. h u m p h r e Y What will you remember about the first time you saw Bryce Canyon? Rangers like to call a person’s first view their Bryce Moment: when the forested plateau rim suddenly gives way to a vast, sublime and chromatic expanse. Some have described it as “a cave without a ceiling”, others “a forest of stone.” What do you see in this landscape? What words could ever do it justice? The earliest story we know of this land comes from the Southern Paiute, who have lived here since time immemorial and for whom this remains a sacred place. In these rock formations the Southern Paiute recognized terrible consequences: the Legend People, To-when-an-unga-wa, turned to stone by the trickster god Coyote for their bad deeds. As recounted by Kaibab Paiute elder Indian Dick in 1936, “You can see their faces, with paint on them just as they were before they became rocks. The name of that place is Angka-ku-wass-a-wits (red painted faces).” Though the plateau provided the Southern Paiute a generous bounty of food and shelter along their seasonal migrations, the canyon itself was avoided. Euro-American contact would later see their word for feelings of fear, “oo’doo”, mistranslated as a word for the rocks themselves, “hoodoo”. In 1874 families from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints began arriving in the valley east of the plateau. Among them was Ebenezer Bryce, his wife Mary, and their 10 children. It’s doubtful that a man as devout as Ebenezer actually described the canyon as “a hell of a place to lose a cow”, though perhaps “a poor place to loose (set free) a cow.” Either way, one can discern a truth in these words: though they may have appreciated its beauty, they were also fully occupied with survival in a landscape whose consequences could be severe. Government surveyors also arrived in the 1870s and added their first impressions to the record. On the 1872 Sunset Point remains the heart of visitor experience in the park, in part thanks to its proximity to iconic hoodoos like Thor’s Hammer. Wheeler survey, Grove Karl Gilbert would glimpse “a perfect wilderness of red pinnacles, the stunningest thing out of a picture.” Four years later U.S. Deputy Surveyor T.C. Bailey would stand at the rim and write of “thousands of red, white, purple, and vermilion colored rocks, of all sizes, resembling sentinels on the walls of castles, monks and priests in their robes, attendants, cathedrals and congregations […] presenting the wildest and most wonderful scene that the eye of man ever beheld, in fact, it is one of the wonders of the world.” Perhaps one of the most consequential experiences of this landscape would come some 40 years later in 1915. At the urging of one of his employees, U.S. Forest Service Supervisor J.W. Humphrey would ride 25 miles from his new office in Panguitch to a place we now call Sunset Point. The encounter completely changed his life. For years to come he would dedicate himself to writing the first articles, inviting the first photographers, and overseeing the construction of the first improved roads and trails that would one day bring the rest of us to our own Bryce Moment. (continued on back) “...to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” National Park Service Organic Act 1916 Welcoming the World to Bryce Canyon That same summer, seeds planted by Humphrey and others began to take root as representatives from the Union Pacific Railroad began scouting the area for possible development. The establishment of Zion National Park and Grand Canyon National Park in 1919 brought attention to the beauty of the area, as well as the economic value in creating a southwestern tourist loop that would link rail travel with overland tours and upscale lodging along the way. By the time Bryce Canyon National Monument was established in June 1923 the Union Pacific Railroad was in active negotiations over the land the Syretts had developed, recognizing it as a key location for future plans to accommodate their guests. National Park Service Director Stephen Mather encouraged the Union Pacific’s development of nearby Zion National Park, but was sensitive to the appearance of a monopoly and insisted they form a subsidiary of “Utah people”—what would become The Utah Parks Company (UPC)—to oversee tourism, lodging, and other services in the region. Ultimately the Syretts would sell their property and water rights to the UPC for $10,000 (~$170,000 today). UNION PACIFIC MUSUEM COLLECTION As early as 1916, as J.W. Humphrey began his efforts to publicize the canyon to the world, he also anticipated that future visitors to this remote plateau would need a place to stay. His earliest attempts to interest the railroads in promoting the area were met with little interest. Nevertheless, articles in local and national publications ensured the word was out, and intrepid tourists began making their way along Humphrey’s new fair-weather road to the plateau rim. By 1917 he had secured $250 in federal funds to build 6,000 feet of trails into the canyon and began offering $1 (~$20 today) guided walks. These provided opportunities for visitors to explore the area by day, however those who lacked supplies for camping would depart by nightfall to seek accommodations elsewhere. Early in the summer of 1919, nearby homesteaders Ruby and Minnie Syrett met visitors down from Salt Lake City and served them lunch. When the visitors asked if they could spend the night near the rim, the Syretts obliged with a tent, bedding, and supplies for an evening meal and breakfast. They spent the rest of that summer accomodating guests in much the same way. The following spring, the Syretts received verbal 1920s map of Union Pacific’s “Grand Circle Tour” permission from the Utah State Land Board to build a 30-foot by 71-foot lodge they called “Tourist Rest” near present-day Sunset Before the sale was even complete, architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood was Point. In 1922 they would welcome and entertain 3,112 visitors, many of whom hired by Union Pacific officials to survey Bryce Canyon for a new lodge. He enjoyed bathing in a log tub made by Ruby from a hollowed-out pine tree selected a site north of Tourist Rest and about 700 feet back from the plateau or signing the doors of Tourist Rest, which served as an informal guest book. rim to avoid any disruption of the natural scenery. Through his work to first Livestock grazing consumes A.W. Stevens The National Park Bryce Canyon The Union Pacific Bill changes name back to A survey team headed many plants that are a takes first known Service is created Utah Legislature National Monument purchases Syrett’s “Bryce Canyon” on February by Lieutenant George C. staple of the Southern photographs. by Congress to passes a Joint proclaimed by Tourist Rest. Bryce 25. The requirements of Wheeler maps the geologic Paiute diet and denies manage parks Memorial President Warren G. Lodge construction the 1924 bill are later met. begins in 1924. Bryce Canyon National and monuments recommending Harding on June 8. Wheeler Report includes the grounds near water in such a manner that “Temple Boundaries of the 9,760 Park is established first written description of sources, leaving them with as to leave them of the Gods” acre monument extend on September 15. area by Grove Karl Gilbert, mostly unfarmable areas. unimpaired National roughly from modern Management transfers “...a perfect wilderness of Paiute populations fall up for future Monument be Sunrise Point south to from U.S. Forest Service to red pinnacles.” to 90% in some areas. generations. created. Paria View. National Park Service. August 1916 1919 1923 1915 1920 resources of the plateau. The them access to cultivating 1872 1880s 1875 1891 1924 Sevier National Forest After persistent Supervisor J.W. Humphrey campaigning by Utah views the canyon for Senator Reed Smoot, the first time and begins Congress establishes “Utah publicity efforts to tell Ebenezer and Mary Bryce Tropic Ditch diverts the world. This includes and their 10 children join irrigation water from articles, photographs by 10 other Latter-day Saint plateau through Mossy A.W. Stevens, and a film families settling in the valley Cave area to newly by George Goshen sent to east of the park. founded town of Tropic. Washington D.C. Ruby and Minnie Syrett construct “Tourist Rest,” providing food, lodging, and entertainment near modernday Sunset Point. 1928 1925 National Park” on June 7, with stipulation that state and Union Pacific-owned land within its boundaries must first belong to the United States. Governor George Dern and caravan travel through newly-completed Red Canyon tunnels to visit the new national monument. 1929 First year visitation is tracked. Park sees 21,997 visitors. 78% come by automobile, 22% by Union Pacific buses. Caretakers and Characters THE SOUTHERN PAIUTE PEOPLE REUBEN C. (RUBY) AND MINNIE SYRETT Since time immemorial this has been the traditional territory of the Southern Paiute people. Bands did not live on the plateau year-round, but moved with the seasonal cycles of plants and animals. Bands nearest to this area included the YUHNGUH’ KAWDUHTS’ENG (Porcupine Sitting People) to the north and AWVO’UTSENG (Semi-circular Cliffs People) to the east. As with all Southern Paiute traditional territories, this is sacred land. After homesteading a few miles from the canyon rim they would build the park’s first lodge, Tourist’s Rest, in 1920. Ruby Syrett ran a sawmill that provided timber for the Bryce Canyon Lodge. Their tradition of hospitality continues just outside the park at Ruby’s Inn. EBENEZER BRYCE Ebenezer was a shipbuilder in Scotland before converting to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and immigrating to Utah. In the mid-1870s, he built a road into the nearby “pink cliffs” to make timber accessible. People started to call the amphitheater where the road ended “Bryce’s Canyon.” The Bryce family moved to what became Bryce, Arizona in 1880. U.S. FOREST SUPERVISOR J.W. HUMPHREY After a transfer in 1915 to the Sevier National Forest at Panguitch, his first vision of the canyon was a revelation. He arranged for still photographs and movies to be made, which were sent to Washington D.C. and the Union Pacific Railroad. In 1916 he secured $50 to build the first fair-weather road to the rim. He transferred again in 1919, but remembered his work to share Bryce Canyon as “the greatest accomplishment of my life”. 2 Centennial Newspaper MAURICE COPE From running the campground to assisting visitors, giving guided walks to law enforcement--he was a generalist ranger, and Bryce Canyon’s first permanent one. He would help with the layout of nearly all of the park’s trails, and was especially proud of the Queen’s Garden and Peekaboo Loop. STEPHEN MATHER The National Park Service’s visionary founding director. Mather would visit here in 1919, and suggested Bryce Canyon become Utah’s first state park. After the state chose not to develop it, he later agreed to its incorporation into the NPS. Today a plaque honoring Mather sits near the Visitor Center flagpole. THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS (CCC) Begun in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bryce Canyon hosted CCC camp NP-3 from 1934 - 1943 to work on infrastructure, landscaping, and insect control. Notable projects include the Under-the-Rim Trail, a shelter at Rainbow Point, and completion of the Fairyland Loop. programs in the evenings, including talks at a massive fire pit in front of the lodge (until it was removed by Ranger Maurice Cope in 1930). Once the time arrived for a tour to depart toward a new destination, the staff would gather in front of their parks’ lodge and bid adieu with a “sing-a-way.” When Bryce Canyon became a national park in 1928, crews were busy blasting their way through Zion’s sandstone cliffs to complete the ZionMt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel. Completion of the highway and tunnel in June 1930 drastically shortened the trip between Zion, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Pipe Spring, Cedar Breaks, and Bryce Canyon, which ushered in the golden age of the “Grand Circle” loop tour between these parks. For those who could afford the all-expense tour, they would be driven, educated, and entertained by “gearjammers,” bus drivers so named for the sound that came from the unsynchronized transmissions and the double-clutching required to shift gears. The years after World War II would see a significant rise in private automobile visitation, modernization of park infrastructure, expanded parking lots, and the eventual end of the UPC’s Grand Circle bus tour. The last building constructed by the UPC would be the 1949 automobile Service Station—an attempt to adapt to these changes. NPS constructs first Service Station built Administrative Office and by UPC near Lodge to Carmel Tunnel Union Pacific’s Utah Parks completed, Company (UPC) constructs Ranger Station (now High Bryce Inn (now the General Plateaus Institute) near accomodate a steep rise Store) near Sunrise Point. visitation. dramatically shortening trip from Zion. Sunrise Point. A modern “Gearjammer” at Bryce Point And yet even as visitation exceeded 2.6 million visitors in 2018, traditions of ranger programs, guided horseback rides, dinner at the lodge, or camping beneath the stars have continued. You can even be driven, educated, and entertained by local “gearjammers” once again aboard the Bryce Canyon Shuttle. Lodge employees awaited guests’ arrival, and after dinner would entertain them with an “Employee Show,” complete with dancing, variety shows, and a full swing band. National Park Service Ranger Naturalists also gave Mount Meanwhile, most of the park’s visitors continued to arrive by private automobile, many of them ready to camp. Until 1933, the park’s campground was simply a cleared area for dispersed camping. The lack of organization took its toll on the park’s native plants, and so when North Campground was built it followed eminent plant pathologist E.P. Meinecke’s plan for one-way loop roads with tiers, parking spurs, and well-defined sites. The loop system extended south to the Sunrise Point area, to include the roads around Gilbert Stanley Underwood’s “Camp Center” cafeteria (now the General Store) and the park’s first ranger station and museum (now the adjacent High Plateaus Institute), both built in 1932 when visitation was around 34,000 people a year. NPS PHOTO/PETER DENSMORE SHERRATT LIBRARY, SO. UTAH UNIVERSITY design the Zion Lodge, he would come to understand the needs of the National Park Service, and artfully interpreted the service’s “Rustic Style” as it would be expressed at Bryce Canyon. Construction lasted from 1924 until 1927, with timber supplied from the adjacent national forest and limestone quarried from a site one 1930s Gearjammers and Lodge Staff “singaway” and a half miles away. Heavy log columns, the wooden inlay of the lobby walls, its limestone façade, wicker furniture, and especially the wave-patterned roof shingles (intended to suggest the swaying of ponderosa pines) were all intended to help Underwood’s lodge and its surrounding cabins harmonize with their surroundings. in post-war automobile Visitation falls during World Mission 66 modernization plans include a new Visitor National Park Center and offices for the Arrowhead logo is park. introduced. War 2 from 103,162 in 1940 Wooden to low of 8,075 in 1943. The Lodge is Sunset benches placed Lodge closes from September painted a bright Campground is along rim. 1942 to May 1946. “modern” yellow. built. 1932 1930 1931 1942-1946 1933 1934 1938 1949 1939 1954 Oct 24 1947 1959 1956 1962 1961 1969 Park boundaries North Campground State Road Park becomes Don Follows, extended south to is built. Commission administratively Chief of arranges for the independent from Interpretation, park road to be Zion. First park begins the first Podunk Point (now Rainbow Point), Maurice Cope is doubling size of park. hired as the park’s plowed by state Civilian Conservation road crews to Construction of Main ranger. Corps camp NP-3 arrives. allow the park Road from Lodge Company 962 occupies to remain open to Rainbow Point in a camp near the picnic year-round. progress until 1934. area at Mile 4. first permanent United Airlines Flight superintendent is Glen T. Bean. Park’s official First year fees are 608 crashes in northern charged. A $1 pass end of the park. All 52 Bryce Canyon (~$21 today) passengers are lost in the Association is is good for both crash. established. non-profit partner, PAUNSAUGUNT PL ATEAU NAVA JO LOOP THOR’S HAMMER Derivative of a Paiute word meaning “place of the beaver”. Beaver populations were decimated by the fur trade, but have begun to rebound along the Sevier River. Was previously part of a network of trails named for Native American tribes. Trails included the Paiute, Ute, and Comanche Trails. The Navajo Trail is now known as Wall Street, and Two Bridges is the former Comanche Trail. The Paiute and Ute Trails have eroded away. Named for the Norse god, likely around 1919 when the park name “Temple of the Gods” was in use. Laid out with help from Maurice Cope in 1929, its name comes from a hoodoo resembling Britain’s Queen Victoria surrounded by a fanciful stone “garden”. SUNRISE AND SUNSET POINTS “Ranger lore” suggests these names were likely a marketing ploy by the Lodge, implying views for both times of day were just a short walk away (though both views face east). Rangers often recommend the opposite time of day to visit each. programs at Bryce Canyon. Bryce and Zion. What’s In a Name? QUEEN’S GARDEN TR AIL astronomy YOVIMPA POINT Derivative of a Paiute word meaning “pine tree ridge”. The Paiute word for the large ponderosa pines found in this area is “yooveemp’”. INSPIR ATION POINT Originally called “Tropic View” and “President Harding Point” after the president that established Bryce Canyon National Monument. Maps show the new name by 1930. PARIA VIEW WALL STREET From a Paiute word meaning “muddy water”, which characterizes this tributary of the Colorado River. One of many architectural names. Its parallel walls of rock resembled the streets of New York to early visitors. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Bryce Canyon National Park Superintendent RAINBOW POINT Originally “Po Dunk Point” after a Southern Paiute man who became lost in the area. Rainbows can be common here as summer afternoon storms pass and the sun sinks in the west. Jim Ireland E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Phone Number 435-834-5322 PEEKABOO LOOP Laid out by Maurice Cope in the early 1930s. The name reportedly comes from the trail’s many turns and tunnels and the fact that one would see a horse appear well before its rider. THE GR AND STAIRC ASE Sequence of colorful cliffs stretching from Grand Canyon to Bryce Canyon. Geologist Clarence E. Dutton named each for their color: Chocolate, Vermilion, White, Gray, and Pink at the top. Bryce Canyon contains both the Pink and Gray Cliffs. Mailing Address PO Box 640201 Bryce, Utah 84764 Special Thanks Bryce Canyon Association, our park partners, and all the staff of Bryce Canyon National Park present, past and future. The National Park Service cares for the special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage. A Century of Wonder A year later, Ruby and Minnie Syrett would also travel from Panguitch to a place north of the modern park boundaries where Ruby’s Inn now stands. They chose to homestead there, completely unaware of the geologic wonder so close by. It was six weeks before a rancher visiting from the valley below suggested they go and look. Stepping to the rim, “They were speechless, just stood and looked. When they could talk, they could only whisper.” The experience would change their lives too, and they soon began providing meals and lodging to the area’s tourists—a tradition that continues to this day. These efforts to share this place with the world would ultimately help lead to the protection of Bryce Canyon for future generations, first as a national monument in 1923 and then as a national park in 1928. In 100 years much has changed here, including the otherworldly geology. Though the hoodoos took Utah Parks Company Major donates all buildings to NPS. rehabilitation of tens of millions of years to form and thousands of years to be shaped by weathering and erosion, we can now watch them change over decades and even collapse and disappear overnight. Their size, lifespan, and character are all on a human scale, creating a unique intimacy between the otherworldly and the familiar. Lodge. Interior Transworld Airlines, is gutted to is selected as park restore its 1920s concessioner (a role character. Work held today by Aramark continues through Destinations). 1989. 1972 Shuttle Bus System begins Olympic torch operation. passes through Historic Photo Exhibit April through November at Bryce Lodge Utah Symphony | Utah Opera August 10 Utah Prairie Dog Day May 11 All Employee Reunion August 24 - 26 Centennial Celebration and Concert June 8 Plein Air “Paint Out” September 18 Astronomy Festival June 14 - 17 Heritage Days September 28 - 30 Bryce Canyon Butterfly Count July 8 Annular Eclipse October 14 Geology Festival July 14 - 15 Christmas Bird Count December 16 Additional events may be added throughout the year. Be sure to check the park’s calendar page at go.nps.gov/BryceCalendar experience a complete re-sensitization to beauty, or a feeling too subtle to notice at first, something within may draw you back, again and again. Whatever your personal experience, it is difficult to visit a place as wonderful as Bryce Canyon National Park and leave unchanged. Whether you 1986 1975 These events are only the beginning! Follow along throughout the centennial year on the park’s social media: go.nps.gov/BryceSocial Share your centennial experiences using the hashtag #BRYCE100 In the words of Charley Bulletts of the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, “Each environment has a spirit and each spirit needs to be honored and recognized when you’re visiting them.” When you stand along the plateau rim listening to the oceanic sound of wind in the pines or hike the winding trails below vibrant hoodoos and the chatter of swallows, consider what makes the experience of being here unlike any other environment on this planet. the Bryce Canyon TWA, a subsidiary of Centennial Events (continued) And as this Century of Wonder ends and another begins, we certainly hope you will return again and again to witness one of the fastestchanging geologic landscapes in the world change along with yourself. 3,947 acre Bridge Fire becomes the largest park on its way First Astronomy Festival is to SLC Winter First Geology Festival is held. Olympics. held. 2000 1985 2002 2001 wildfire in park history along Miles 8 to 10 of the Main Road. 2007 May 23 2006 ~40 million year-old hymenoptera (wasp) Bryce Canyon National cocoon chambers Park celebrates discovered after an 100 years since its inspection of a rockfall. establishment as a national monument. 2009 2023 2015 2008 2016 Sunrise and Sunset Motels built near Lodge to provide more modern After being listed as an endangered species in 1972, the Utah Prairie Dog is reintroduced to park meadows. accomodations. These replace most Visitor Center expansion of the park’s standard and rehabilitation adds cabins, though a additional floors, office and few remain near the bookstore space to Mission Lodge. 66 building. An estimated 400 to 500 tons of rock falls in the Wall Street section of Navajo Loop. Thankfully no one 1973 Last time California Condors were documented within the park. SUMMER 2016 NOVEMBER 29, 2016 “The Sentinel” hoodoo above Navajo Loop falls. 100th Anniversary of National Park Service. is injured. Stairs are built After exceeding 1 million visitors in 1992, visitation through the rubble. exceeds 2 million visitors for the first time. Supporting Bryce Canyon for Years to Come h o o d o o Yo u l o v e ? If your experience of Bryce Canyon National Park feels like an ongoing love story, you’re not alone. The Bryce Canyon Association is here to channel that love into meaningful support. Yo u r v i s i t o r c e n t e r p u r c h a s e s d i r e c t lY s u p p o r t b r Y c e c a n Y o n ! Through exclusive publications, merchandise, and programs the BCA helps people not only better understand and connect with the park but directly support its mission with their purchases. The Bryce Canyon Association (BCA) is dedicated to assisting the National Park Service in furthering its scientific, educational, historical, and interpretive activities. The BCA’s mission is to enhance your appreciation and enjoyment of this national park. First established as the park’s official non-profit partner in 1961, the BCA and its members have contributed over 10 million dollars in support of : • • • • • • • • • 4 Centennial Newspaper Free publications (like this one!) Annual festivals and special events The Junior Ranger program Resource management research and activites Cultural youth outreach programs Scholarships and internship opportunities Search and Rescue equipment and supplies Infrastructure projects Bryce Canyon’s recycling program Ready to do more? By joining the Association, you take an active role in your park’s future. Members also enjoy exclusive benefits, including discounts at more than 400 Public Lands Alliance stores around the country. Learn more at BryceCanyon.org