Wolfe Ranch

Arches National Park, UT

While making my way on the Delicate Arch trail, I passed by a rough looking wooden cabin, corral, and outbuilding.  Being the history nerd that I am, I wandered over to the interpretive sign to find out what on earth people were doing at this remote location.  A John Wesley Wolfe left Ohio in 1898 with his son to live in a drier climate; they settled at this location with some cattle.  The cabin you can see now is a later construction that Wolfe’s daughter (and her family) made them build, a better dwelling with a wooden floor and windows.  Very fancy.  It’s amazing that six people lived in this building!  Maybe that’s why they all eventually moved back to Ohio …According to the Arches National Park website, the Ranch and acreage were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

For more information:

KQED SCIENCE: National Parks Have Some Work to Do, to Become ‘Parks for All’

“They don’t feel a sense of connection,” says Nina Roberts, professor at San Francisco State University. “They just don’t feel that relationship.”

The National Park Service does preserve places that are historically and culturally significant to many peoples. Think of the birthplace of the farmworker movement in California, Aztec ruins in New Mexico, and an African burial ground in Manhattan.

But across the system, most park employees are Caucasian. The uniforms make rangers look like immigration officials. And, Roberts says, many African-Americans, particularly elders, fear the outdoors and carry the scars of slavery and lynchings.

And there are subtle ways the park has discriminated.

“At a local park here in Washington D.C., for a time, the only signs in Spanish were ‘No drinking allowed in the park,'” says Alan Spears, director of cultural resources with the National Parks Conservation Association.

Read more

Common Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)

While visiting the caverns, keep your eyes out for the common collared lizard! It is a beautifully colored North American lizard that can reach 8–14 inches (20–36 cm) in length (including the tail), with a large head and powerful jaws. They are well known for the ability to run on their hind legs, looking like small dinosaurs. They love warm weather and often bask in the  desert sun!

Photograph by Dakota L. | Wikipedia

(via: Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM)