Katchina Daisy

The Cedar Mesa Project

An Etiquette for Visiting the Cedar Mesa Area

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"While some Navajo believe they can enter ruins or handle artifacts without retribution, others will avoid them; their stories of restless spirits, guardian snakes, and animal bile sizzling in the fires of sealed kivas end up protecting both the ruin and the Navajo. The corollaries of avoidance become respect and preservation."
Meloy, Ellen, Raven's Exile. Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1994. P. 82

Visitation in the Cedar Mesa area has increased from 2,800 in 1974 to over 50,000 hikers and backpackers in 1995. There is no question that there is much to be gained by spending time on the land among the remains of its ancient inhabitants, yet each of these 50,000 visits each year contributes to the eventual destruction of cultural remains, the erosion of the land, and the stress and eventual disappearance of native plants. If each of us keeps in mind an etiquette for visiting cultural sites and remembers the essential suggestions for exploring and camping in the Cedar Mesa area, our visits will be more rewarding, and will significantly decrease the impacts of our composite use. Let's each of us make the choice to care. Together, we can make a difference!

The Cedar Mesa area is a high-desert area rich in fragile geological, and archeological resources that require a lot of respect and tender loving care if they are to be part of the heritage for generations to come, be it tomorrow or the next century.

If you travel or plan a trip to the area, please consider the following points that can make the experience more enjoyable for yourself and for others who will be coming later.

If you know someone who will be traveling in the area, ask them to extend the same respect to the area and its inhabitants.

Other links available for further information about Backpacking and Hiking in the Grand Gulch Area:

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