The Great Hunt Scene


Northern San Rafael Style Fremont 750 A.D. to 1250 A.D.Nine Mile Canyon, Carbon County


For over 6000 years, travelers, hunters and farmers visited and lived in Nine Mile Canyon in Northeastern Utah.  The perennial creek and springs provided year-round water for agriculture. The evidence of this long history of human habitation is a forty-mile rock art panel following Minnie Maud Creek to the Green River. This corridor is one of the world’s longest and most magnificent series of rock art panels.


When I visited Nine Mile Canyon fifteen years ago, the few ranches located along the narrow dirt road lacked electricity, telephone service and indoor plumbing.  The only sounds in the canyon were an occasional cow grunt, crow caw accompanied to the hum of insects.  Everywhere I spotted rock art, granaries, and pit houses.  The silence ended when in 2003 when the Barrett Corporation began seismic studies for natural gas on the Tavaputs Plateau. 
Fall 2004 The National Trust for Historic Places designated Nine Mile Canyon as one of “Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places in America.”   Natural gas companies choose Nine Mile Canyon as their route to reach rich natural gas fields on Tavaputs Plateau.  The BLM issued an environmental assessment, which drew mostly negative comments from 39,000 citizens.  In spite of public input, the BLM allowed the Barrett Corporation to continue to use Nine Mile Canyon for compressor stations, pipelines and transportation.  The use of a dust suppressant containing magnesium chloride coats Nine Mile Canyon rock art adjacent to the dirt road with gray, sticky particles.  In 2005 the Barrett Corporation, in an attempt to save the canyon’s most famous panel, “The Great Hunt,” moved the road away from the panel.  However, a new 16-inch pipeline, placed near the panel, caused further dust damage.


Spring 2005, the energy industry announced plans for 750 new wells on the plateau.  This development will lead to larger pipelines, more natural gas compressor stations, and over 9,000 vehicle trips in Nine Mile canyon.  Nine Mile Canyon rock art is in real danger of being lost to future generations forever.