Wonders of Sand and Stone


A History of Utah's National Parks and Monuments

From Delicate Arch to the Zion Narrows, Utah’s five national parks and eight national monuments are home to some of America’s most amazing scenic treasures, created over long expanses of geologic time. In Wonders of Sand and Stone, Frederick H. Swanson traces the recent human story behind the creation of these places as part of a protected mini-empire of public lands.

Drawing on extensive historical research, Swanson presents little-known accounts of people who saw 
in these sculptured landscapes something worth protecting. Readers are introduced to the region’s early explorers, scientists, artists, and travelers as well as the local residents and tourism promoters who worked with the National Park Service to build the system of parks and monuments we know today, when Utah’s national parks and monuments face multiple challenges from increased human use and from development outside their borders. As scientists continue to uncover the astonishing diversity of life in these desert and mountain landscapes, and archaeologists and Native Americans document their rich cultural resources, the management of these federal lands remains critically important. Swanson provides us with a detailed and timely background to advance and inform discussions about what form that management should take.
Frederick H. Swanson is author and editor of five books on western U.S. history, including Dave Rust: A Life in the Canyons, which received the 2008 Utah Book Award. He is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers and recipient of the Wallace Stegner Prize in Environmental Humanities.

Praise and Reviews:

“Swanson’s affection for these landscapes, captured in his narrative prose, is contagious. This book will make a splendid traveling companion for any visitor to Utah’s national parks and monuments. It supplies an accessible, well-informed, and lively account of the formation and preservation of these national treasures.”
—Brian Q. Cannon, coauthor of The Awkward State of Utah



“An engaging and finely written book that weaves together an impressive group of individuals and stories.”
—Jedediah S. Rogers, coeditor of Utah Historical Quarterly and author of Roads in the Wilderness