Grand Staircase Escalante Partners is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization founded in 2004 to protect and preserve Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. We are committed to:
Promoting science, conservation, and education on the Monument
Increasing public awareness and understanding of the Monument
Providing resources to support the Monument’s scientific, interpretive and educational programs
Expanding our membership so we represent a diverse constituency that supports the Monument
We achieve our mission through the following program areas:
Science: Expanding our knowledge and understanding of the natural wonders, biodiversity, and unique ecosystems with which this landscape is endowed by participating in scientific inquiry and historical investigation, as well as advocating for the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in land management decision-making. Our science-based initiatives include working with our conservation partners to conduct climate change research, developing a holistic Science and Monitoring plan for the Monument, as well as conducting advocacy work and media campaigns aimed at raising awareness and inspiring action related to the protection of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and all public lands.
Conservation: Ensuring that Grand Staircase-Escalante’s assets —culture, ecology, history, recreation, and science—are recognized, sustained, and enhanced for posterity. We work on the ground with conservation organizations, government agencies, and volunteers to repair and restore the Escalante River watershed, as well as prevent and mitigate damage at cultural and ecological sites.
Education: Providing places and spaces (virtual and in-person) where people can meet, exchange ideas, and learn from one another, and in so doing, collectively create the knowledge and expertise needed to create more support for Monument protections and respectful visitation, as well as deepen our collective understanding of Indigenous communities and their connection to the landscape.
Even today, this unspoiled natural area remains a frontier, a quality that greatly enhances Grand Staircase’s value for scientific study and presents unique opportunities for geologists, paleontologists, archaeologists, historians, and biologists.
These nearly two million acres were designated as a national monument on September 18, 1996, by President Bill Clinton. Grand Staircase is administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and in 2000, became the first unit of BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System.
Since time immemorial, Native American people have inhabited, crossed, lived on, and been stewards of the lands that make up what we now know as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The Hopi, Zuni, Dine/Navajo, San Juan Southern Paiute, Kaibab Paiute, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, Jemez Pueblo, and Acoma nations have deep connections to the Grand Staircase region.
The Monument is home to countless Native American cultural sites, western pioneer history, and the greatest diversity of dinosaur fossils found anywhere on Earth.
Grand Staircase Escalante Partners is committed to fostering an equitable and inclusive environment in our workplace and across GSENM. We recognize the complex and difficult histories that have shaped American public lands, from dispossession of Native lands and forced removal of indigenous communities to create public lands and parks, to the ongoing exclusion of people of color from conservation and preservation movements. We acknowledge that the area known as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and its surrounding areas are the ancestral land and historical territory of the Hopi, Zuni, Dine/Navajo, San Juan Southern Paiute, Kaibab Paiute, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, Jemez Pueblo, and Acoma nations.
As we carry out our work in conservation and education, we strive to ensure that:
- Indigenous history and diverse perspectives are elevated in the story of GSENM.
- We empower communities that have been marginalized and have not historically benefitted from our public lands.
- We lead the transformation of GSENM to make it a place where all people not only have equal access to, but also feel safe and welcome to connect with the land, learn, visit and recreate.
- Our organization operates inclusively and equitably, both internally and in broader relations with other organizations and individuals.
We are on a journey to transform our work–to foster diversity through equitable actions that create a just and inclusive environment, within and beyond our organization. Learn more about how we are integrating justice, equity, and inclusion into our work.