Fund the Range Creek Project

By By Chronicle Senior Staff

By Chronicle Senior Staff

In 2001, a family sold their ranch at Range Creek Canyon to the Bureau of Land Management, and archaeologists found one of the most impressive, untouched sites of ancient artifacts in the nation.

Now researchers investigating the Fremont artifacts at Range Creek have asked the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee to grant them roughly $85,000 to research, manage and maintain this priceless piece of history.

Luckily, it seems as though the project will get the money it needs-for which the Legislature deserves recognition, surprisingly enough. Hopefully nothing comes up to deter this funding, as research must be conducted in a timely manner before curious hikers decide to explore the canyon and inadvertently disturb the sites and artifacts.

University faculty, graduate students, staff and administrators should be congratulated for their commitment to the Range Creek project. When the U was going through its battle to keep the Utes’ nickname, administrators and other leaders claimed that the university respected local American Indian culture and history and would strive better to honor American Indian tribes in the future.

Their statements and promises are coming true as research is conducted at Range Creek. University faculty members, graduate students and employees of the Utah Museum of Natural History perform much of the research at the sites and lobby for funding at the Legislature.

The university community should be honored at being bestowed with the responsibility of conducting the research at the Range Creek sites. As the flagship institution of Utah, it is now our duty to protect and research these artifacts so knowledge can be passed on to future students and community members.

But if we are to learn anything about the Fremont people from these sites, the funding needs to be guaranteed by the state Legislature. Otherwise, this precious discovery may be lost to the sands of time through mismanagement and carelessness.

Internationally, protection of archaeological sites is decreasing, jeopardizing our ability to learn and understand cultures of the past. Now that we’ve realized there is such a magnificent find in our own backyard, we need to do everything we can to protect the sites at Range Creek Canyon so future generations can learn about the past.