Established in 1996, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument spreads across southern Utah. President Trump has attempted to reduce protected land by nearly half, and open 700,00 acres to mineral extraction. Neighboring Bears Ears National Monument, established primarily to protect Native American antiquities, was reduced even more. The executive actions are still pending court review.
A short hike leads to a collection of “toadstools,” pillars supporting a harder boulder. The column is sheltered by the boulder and erodes more slowly than the surrounding rock.
In the upper center of this image you can see the younger, harder Dakota Formation boulders above the softer, older Entrada Sandstone. One Dakota boulder rests on a forming toadstool in the center.
Sometimes it’s helpful to have some human scale to better appreciate the formations.
Jets and contrails criss-cross the sky. Hopefully, these toadstools will withstand encroachment from the ground.