“At sixteen, mom and I made a covenant to visit all of the National Parks and Monuments. Going East to go to the West, we drove out to the desert each summer and winter to explore more of our favorite part of the country: Utah. With a freshly printed TripTik as our guide, we traversed ice-layered asphalt on our way to a new destination: Grand Staircase Escalante.

We arrived at a vista pullout as the sky layered blue-purple on top of the folds of cake-batter-orange earth. I snapped a photograph of mom’s moment of discovery: her shoulders relaxed as she looked out over the monument – both of us knowing the moment was pivotal to our friendship. I rely on this photograph to remind me of the Monument and our commitment, as mom succumbed to cancer some years ago.

I return to the vista pullout as our sacred moment of discovery. My return reinvigorates my new covenant: to protect the places where mom and I formed a friendship, where my most cherished memories exist.

With this new commitment towards preservation, I’ve sought out others that champion Grand Staircase. Happily, I found Grand Staircase Escalante Partners – an organization that not only supports the prudent management of the Monument but harnesses the energy of those who consider its rolling red earth sacred.”

– Ryan Nourai, Boardmember for Partners

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