As a person descends into Range Creek Canyon it is like descending into a lost world. The valley is lush and green with a creek running through the middle of the canyon; a beautiful canyon that is surrounded by rugged red-rocked mountains. The Fremont Indian Culture flourished here from 400 AD to about 1300 AD. When they left, they left behind a treasure-trove of dwellings including granaries perched on ledges on steep cliffs, villages, and artifacts everywhere; the ground you walk on reveals pieces of pottery, arrowheads and other remnants of an ancient way of living. The food storage structures were so well preserved they still contained corn that dates back at least 1,000 years.
Range Creek was locked away from society for six decades by Waldo Wilcox who knew the canyon was a special place and needed to be protected. In 2003 Waldo sold the ranch to the state of Utah opening up the area for archaeological research. Any artifacts found in Range Creek have remained undisturbed. More can be learned by looking at what is with and around the artifact in its original location than by looking at an artifact that has been removed. The 12-mile long canyon has revealed more about how the Fremont people lived than any single site ever could.
Archeologists hope that this trove of artifacts might give some clues as to what happened around 700 years ago to bring an end to this culture.
Now called the Range Creek Wildlife Management Area with over 450 sites discovered, they feel this is only a fraction of what will be discovered. The daunting task at hand is how to protect the priceless “cultural resources” while allowing the public to visit.