The impressive sandstone formation of Steamboat Rock rises over the photogenic confluence of the Green and Yampa Rivers in Echo Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado. Native peoples revered this location as sacred. It is sometimes known as “The Center of the Universe” since it played a pivotal role in creation myths.
In modern times, conservation efforts helped save Echo Park from a proposed dam-building project in the 1950s which would have inundated the location. Conservationists from organizations including the Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society argued that if development was allowed to continue in national monuments and parks, no place would ever be safe from “progress.” Dam projects had already commenced and drastically altered the landscapes of places such as the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park, California. Unfortunately, despite the victory in Dinosaur that saved Echo Park, another dam was allowed to be built in Glen Canyon, Utah as part of a political compromise. Now much of that canyon which once held fascinating sandstone arches and other geological or ecological treasures is under the waters of Lake Powell. For more information I recommend the book “The Place No One Knew – Glen Canyon on the Colorado” photographed by Eliot Porter. The controversy over the Dinosaur National Monument and Glen Canyon dams was also recently portrayed in Ken Burns’ documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”
Dinosaur National Monument boasts world-class rafting, hiking, camping, historic petroglyph exploring and, of course, photographic opportunities. I am thankful to those who recognized this is indeed a sacred place and played a role in preserving Echo Park and the other canyons of Dinosaur from becoming flooded and inaccessible. This image appears in my book Classic Colorado. Happy Earth Day & Good Friday to all!