Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Canyon Blogging

On the road again, this week at Canyon de Chelly in northeast Arizona. The national park is on the Diné (Navajo) reservation, so access to the canyon floor is only through a tribal guide.

One of the reasons I like canyons is that every one is completely different. Canyon de Chelly is wide and flat, with farms scattered around and a road up the middle. It used to be flatter. Edward S. Curtis has a famous photo (reproduced on the cover of Marianne Wiggins' novel The Shadow Catcher) taken in Canyon de Chelly in 1905, and you can see the wide, treeless riverbed underneath the canyon walls.  In the 1930s, the CCC planted cottonwood, olive and tamarisk trees to control erosion, but they have taken over, sucked up all the water, and in many places caused deep washes where the water passes through. Now the park service is trying to eradicate all of the olives and tamarisks in order to restore the canyon to its prior state.   

No comments: