Imagine a late summer afternoon in Escalante, circa 1973. I and several of my friends were about to start a 10 day backpacking trip, down the Escalante River, from the H12 bridge to Lake Powell, where we would be picked up by a boat from the Bullfrog marina. But step one was setting up a shuttle, which meant we had to move a car from Escalante to Bullfrog. Surprisingly, whatever map we were using showed a route “cross-country” from Boulder to the marina. Despite the fact that none of us had ever travelled through this area, taking what we later learned was the Burr Trail seemed the obvious thing to do. In those days, much of the Burr Trail was basic 10 m.p.h. two track through the sand. At about that speed, we made our way out of Boulder, through Long Canyon and the Circle Cliffs, and approached the head of the Capitol Reef switchbacks just a few minutes before sunset. The country we traversed that afternoon seemed magical, like a land from another world. As the sun approached the horizon, the western light lit up the immense buff white Navajo folds of the Waterpocket Fold in a crystal clear golden light, illuminating every sharp landscape detail in the 100 mile view that stretched out in front of us. A small and beat-up looking rustic wooden sign, about the size of a license plate, at entry to the switchbacks, said “entering Capitol Reef N.P.” Something shifted in my heart at that moment, and some kind of bond was created that has bound me, ever afterwards, to the immense landscape that surrounded us.

– Scott Berry, Board Vice-President of Partners

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