A word from Jon Ortner…

Antelope Canyon, Navajo Tribal Park, AZ

Antelope Canyon, Navajo Tribal Park, AZ

I just returned from southern Utah and northern Arizona where I presented words and images from the newly published Travelers Edition of Canyon Wilderness.

I was brought out there by Chris Eaton, the Director of the Glen Canyon Natural History Association. In coordination with the BLM, Powell Museum, and the Page Library, they sponsor an ongoing series of guest lecturers. I presented at the new BLM and Glen Canyon visitor centers in Page, AZ., Kanab, UT, and Escalante, UT. More than just visitor centers, these modern facilities have large auditoriums with digital projection systems, scientific exhibitions covering the geological and ecological significance of the area, and feature the best bookstores in the West.

The Glen Canyon Natural History Association is a non- profit organization that has the mission statement to provide education, research, visitor services, and the interpretation of the natural history of the Colorado Plateau. They work in partnership with the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Rainbow Bridge National Monument, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to promote and preserve the cultural and natural resources of the area.

The presentations were also made possible by the kind support of Lena Tabori, publisher at Welcome Books who has championed the creation and promotion of Canyon Wilderness from it’s inception. It is her devotion of considerable resources, both financial and creative, that made Canyon Wilderness possible.

We had a full house on May 18th at the Carl Hayden Visitor Center — standing room only.  I was so pleased to see a wide spectrum of people attending; about half were Page residents, many others were tourists, staying in Page to see the Glen Canyon Dam, Lake Powell, or to visit an area renown throughout the world for it’s colorful slot canyons. There were also a number of Hopi and Dine people in the audience, who added fascinating stories and information during the question and answer periods.

Water Holes Canyon, Navajo Tribal Reservation, AZ

Water Holes Canyon, Navajo Tribal Reservation, AZ

While in the Page area, I checked out the Hummer Adventures Tour to the recently opened ‘Secret Canyon’. A slot canyon of exceptional beauty, it is located on the nearby Navajo Reservation, and is actually the upper drainage of Waterholes Canyon. Permission to visit this canyon took several years of negotiation with Navajo Tribal Councils.  It’s color, and amazing water carved sandstone shapes rival those of nearby Antelope Canyon… but without the crowds.

I also was given a tour of the newly opened Amangiri Resort and Spa. Sequestered among dramatic sheer-walled canyons near Big Water, it offers a previously unavailable level of service, and has to be one of the most architecturally stunning resorts anywhere in the world. I checked out Blue Buddha, the new Japanese restaurant in Page, which is also highly recommended.

My brother Richard, Kate Sease, a long time Page resident, and I were also able to obtain permits to visit the Coyote Buttes South Unit, and the Paw Hole Teepees. After along and very sandy drive, we found ourselves completely alone out there. Although I have been to the Cottonwood Cove area before, I was constantly amazed at how huge it is, and how many incredible and unique geological features it holds. For a true desert wilderness adventure — go to Coyote Buttes South. But always go properly prepared.

With the addition of new resorts, hotels and restaurants, Page will continue to draw people from all over the world, that come to see the cultural, the man-made, and the natural wonders of the Colorado Plateau. I eagerly look forward to my next visit.

Jon Ortner
June 2010

(Jon) standing in lower Antelope Canyon, AZ

(Jon) standing in lower Antelope Canyon, AZ



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