The Owl Panel


Early Ute Historic Indian Style 1600 A.D. to 1830 A.D. Nine Mile Canyon, Carbon County


Last fall The National Trust for Historic Places designated Nine Mile Canyon as one of “Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places in America.”   Vibration, dust and diesel smoke are some of the biggest threats to the rock art, which is often located within a few feet of the roadway.  The natural gas industry’s use of a dust suppressant containing magnesium chloride is controversial.  Historically The Owl Panel has been protected by a corridor of private property, a half mile from the dirt road.


Ranchers, George and Gloria Fasslein, protect this lovely panel which is free of dust, bullet holes and other types of vandalism.


George Fasslein was born in a small log cabin on the Green River near the mouth of Desolation Canyon. George and Gloria have beenthe keepers of Nine Mile Canyon.  Much like the Fremont people, centuries ago, George and Gloria irrigated the large fields in the canyon.  They planned to grow old in Nine Mile Canyon, but the natural gas trucks which noisily race up and down the canyon made sleep impossible.   The dust kicked up by the enormous trucks covered everything.   They feared the magnesium chloride on the dirt roads would leach into the soil and kill their livestock.  Finally they gave up.  They sold their land to Bill Barrett Corporation.  Now a marker which indicates a new drill pad sits a few feet away from The Owl Panel.  Soon the carved owls will be covered with a coat of grey dust.


The Owl Panel faces northwest, the direction of the fading sun, the coming night, and the world of darkness.  Larry Cesspooch, a Ute storyteller, says the owl is a death figure.  This panel with three owls heralds the inevitable.