I’m Bill Haggerty. I was born and raised in Denver and moved to Colorado’s Western Slope in 1976. I spent more than two decades of my professional career with the Colorado Division of Wildlife as an information/education specialist. Many west slope residents may remember Bill’s Backyard, a wildlife program I hosted on local TV stations for about 18 years. Some may recall my hiking columns in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel from 2003 to 2014. The point is, I’ve been around a long time. Now I’m writing blogs and books about the wonderful public lands surrounding us.
When I take a deep breath and allow my nostrils to fill with the scents of nature, I inhale a little common sense into my own life.
This is a blog about my journeys across the Colorado Plateau. It’s a 140,000-square-mile piece of heaven centered on the four corners area of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.
As I listen to honking geese wake, stretch and flap their wings on a chilly January morning along the San Juan River in southeast Utah, lecturing me on the importance of hygiene and an early-morning bath, it makes me laugh at my own dirty ways… taking showers too often, too long and too hot; wasting precious energy cranking up the thermostat when a sweater would do.
Sitting still as the sun descends over Valley of the Gods in what was briefly a portion of Bears Ears National Monument, this high desert country allows me to ponder the future of silence. Soon, eager forces of the gas and uranium industries could shatter that silence.
This unique physiographic region has the highest concentration of parklands in North America. It’s filled with breathtaking canyons, awe-inspiring vistas, tremendous arches, intriguing spires and beguiling hoodoos. There are nine U.S National Parks on the Colorado Plateau. There’s also a National Historical Park, 28 National Monuments and 30 wilderness areas. There are millions of acres of national forests, BLM lands, state parks, and large swaths of Native American reservations.
The Colorado Plateau is steeped in culture. To Native Americans this is sacred ground. It is their ancestral home, however private and political entities have long sought control of these public and Native American lands for their own political and/or economic advancement.
But here’s the deal: You and I own most of these lands. Native Americans own the remainder! And, I wrote a book about it. “Discovering the Colorado Plateau: A Guide To The Region’s Hidden Wonders,” published by Falcon Press/Globe Piquot hit the bookstores on April 1, 2021.
This blog features the places I’ve traveled to in writing this book and celebrating the mystical monuments and lesser-known areas of the Plateau.
Please join me as I try to bring this geologic, cultural wonderland home. This is my small part in helping to protect, preserve and manage the Colorado Plateau for generations to come.
This blog also is one small thing I can do to bring a minute or two of relief in our daily lives filled with non-stop news of Covid-19. Remember, we’re all in this together. Stay well, be safe get vaccinated and stay at home for a while longer! The area simply can’t handle us right now! There just aren’t enough critical care facilities, nurses or doctors in this region to handle throngs of tourists. The Navajo Nation has been especially hard-hit with this virus.
Many parks and public areas were are beginning to re-open. In the meantime, enjoy some pretty pictures, dream good thoughts and we’ll all get back to this beautiful country one day.
As my Jamaican friends fondly say: “Soon come! Soon come!”