Nine Mile Canyon

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Photo: Tricia Simpson

Location: Price, Utah, USA

Who Considers it Sacred? Native Americans

Photo: Scott Catron

Significance: According to Nine Mile Canyon Guide and Information, “Some of the most spectacular rock art in Utah is to be found in Nine Mile Canyon northeast of Price. The canyon is actually 40 miles long… Nine Mile Canyon is remote, hostile, unblemished and roughly beautiful. Called ‘the world’s longest art gallery,’ it is home to numerous rock art panels, including the famous Hunter Panel. Most of the rock art was created by the Fremont Indians who occupied this area some 1,000 years ago.”

The Threat: Industrial development

Preservation Status: President Obama and his team have canceled the oil and gas leases on 77 parcels of federal land that would irreparably damage the fragile rock art paintings. This move annulled the Bush administration’s last minute, December 2008 move to allow drilling on about 13,000 acres near Nine Mile Canyon. This action signals a series of steps being taken by the new administration and congressional Democrats planning to refashion federal regulation on drilling, mining, logging and other resource draining activities.

This, however, does not mean that Nine Mile Canyon is saved in any permanent manner and the activists at the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition are still watchful over the site. Ken Salazar, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, has said that his staff will review the Utah leases, worth around $6 million, in the future to determine that they would threaten the air quality and other environmental aspects of the protected Nine Mile Canyon.

For More Information: Nine Mile Canyon Site Updates; Sacred Sites Newsletter, Volume XX, Numbers 1 & 2, Fall 2008/Winter 2009

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