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Wilderness Volunteers

Escalante River, Glen Canyon NRA, UT (May 14th - May 20th 2017)

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Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is best known for its central attraction, Lake Powell, but it's the Escalante River that forms the wonderful network of winding canyons between Waterpocket Fold to the east and the Straight Cliffs of the Kaiparowits Plateau to the west. This wide, deep, red rock canyon cuts numerous narrow slot canyons and is surprisingly riparian with springs hidden deep in shaded walls.

Our work will be a continuation of fifteen year's work eradicating Russian olive in the Escalante watershed (over 44 miles of river have been cleared from the reservoir up). We'll use saws and loppers to prepare larger trees for later cutting by a chain saw crew, and apply an herbicide to smaller stumps we'll cut. This invasive non-native tree is well known for choking rivers and streams in the west. The incidence of Russian olive in the area is such that it is possible to get it out of the corridor and keep it from expanding its grip, effectively restoring natural conditions. The miles of river that have been cleared are much more pleasant for hiking, kayaking and rafting, and our project will assure that the native trees continue to thrive. On our free day we can investigate nearby slot canyons or explore the area.

The Grand Staircase Partners will provide pack animal support to haul tools, group food and our commissary to the camp site. We'll backpack with our personal gear approximately 8 miles to set up a tent camp near the River. From camp, we'll work upstream in daily forays, prepping and cutting trees as we go. Free day options include hiking and exploring the amazing slot canyons in the area.

This project is rated as a challenging project.

Check out more photos from previous years' Escalante River projects in our gallery.


May 14th - May 20th 2017

Service Project

Russian olive eradication, riparian restoration

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Free Days

Exploring slot canyons, photography, day hiking


Tent camping

Project Difficulty

Challenging : Backpacking, tent camping. Sawing, lopping, digging, tree cutting & dragging. Pack animal supported.


Kathryne Zaborowski
Tony Zimmer

Equipment List