May 01, 2011
Bryce Canyon (1)
Bryce Canyon (2)
Bryce Canyon (4)
▪ These scenic areas were first described for the public in magazine articles published by Union Pacific and Santa Fe railroads in 1916. People like Forest Supervisor J. W. Humphrey promoted the scenic wonders of Bryce Canyon's amphitheaters, and by 1918 nationally distributed articles also helped to spark interest. However, poor access to the remote area and the lack of accommodations kept visitation to a bare minimum.
▪ Ruby Syrett, Harold Bowman and the Perry brothers later built modest lodging, and set up "touring services" in the area. Syrett later served as the first postmaster of Bryce Canyon. Visitation steadily increased, and by the early 1920s the Union Pacific Railroad became interested in expanding rail service into southwestern Utah to accommodate more tourists.
▪ At the same time, conservationists became alarmed by the damage overgrazing and logging on the plateau, along with unregulated visitation, were having on the fragile features of Bryce Canyon. A movement to have the area protected was soon started, and National Park Service Director Stephen Mather responded by proposing that Bryce Canyon be made into a state park. The governor of Utah and the Utah Legislature, however, lobbied for national protection of the area. Mather relented and sent his recommendation to President Warren G. Harding, who on June 8, 1923 declared Bryce Canyon National Monument into existence.
▪ A road was built the same year on the plateau to provide easy access to outlooks over the amphitheaters. From 1924 to 1925, Bryce Canyon Lodge was built from local timber and stone.
▪ Members of U.S. Congress started work in 1924 on upgrading Bryce Canyon's protection status from a U.S. National Monument to a National Park in order to establish Utah National Park. A process led by the Utah Parks Company for transferring ownership of private and state-held land in the monument to the federal government started in 1923. The last of the land in the proposed park's borders was sold to the federal government four years later, and on February 25, 1928, the renamed Bryce Canyon National Park was established.
▪ In 1931, President Herbert Hoover annexed an adjoining area south of the park, and in 1942 an additional 635 acres (2.57 km2) was added. This brought the park's total area to the current figure of 35,835 acres (145.02 km2). Rim Road, the scenic drive that is still used today, was completed in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Administration of the park was conducted from neighboring Zion Canyon National Park until 1956, when Bryce Canyon's first superintendent started work.