The United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a long-awaited decision rejecting arguments by San Juan County and the State of Utah that Salt Creek Canyon in Canyonlands National Park is a state highway.
The federal government confirmed that it had the right to close highway access to an ecologically vulnerable streambed in Canyonlands National Park in southeast Utah, rejecting the state’s argument that the stream should be utilized as a road because it was once used to run cattle and supplies to cowboy camps in the 1920s.
Earthjustice attorney Ted Zukoski said in a statement the area is a rare desert gem with a plethora of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings.
The state of Utah is pushing the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to redefine the function of Salt Creek—a vital creekbed that runs through the Canyonlands National Park—claiming that it is a “highway” and should be open to vehicles. Salt Creek supports a rich riparian habitat and an array of birds and other wildlife outside of Colorado’s river corridors.