Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument
Made up of more than 900,000 acres of forests and grasslands to the north of and south of Grand Canyon National Park, this national monument includes diverse cultural and religious sites, plants, animals and important water sources that flow into the Colorado River.
Baaj nwaavjo means “where Indigenous peoples roam” in the Havasupai language, and i’tah kukveni means “our ancestral footprints” in the Hopi language. The name reflects the significance of the Grand Canyon area to many Tribal Nations.
Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni conserves nearly 1 million acres of public lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park. The monument protects thousands of cultural and sacred sites that are precious to Tribal Nations in the Southwest including the Havasupai Tribe, Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, Moapa Band of Paiutes, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Navajo Nation, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Pueblo of Zuni and the Colorado River Indian Tribes. These sites include Gray Mountain, called Dziłbeeh by the Navajo, which is a part of Navajo ceremonial songs, stories and rituals.
The monument is made up of three distinct areas to the south, northeast and northwest of Grand Canyon National Park. It is bordered by the Kanab watershed boundary and Kanab Creek drainage in the northwestern area and the Havasupai Tribal Lands and Navajo Nation in the southern area, and stretches from Marble Canyon to the edge of the Kaibab Plateau in the northeastern area.
President Joe Biden officially designated Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument on August 8, 2023. The designation comes after many years of organizing from the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, which drew up the monument proposal.
Things To Do
Within the monument, visitors can hike, bike, run, hunt, camp and more, all the while taking in the one-of-a-kind vistas this landscape has to offer. The Arizona National Scenic Trail, an international destination, also passes through the south parcel of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument (Credit: Keep it Grand AZ). The monument is open to the public in the same ways that it was prior to President Biden's official designation.
The monument lands are important habitat for rare and endangered plants and animals and a critical migratory corridor for hundreds of bird species and mammals (Credit: Keep it Grand AZ).
- Plants: Indigenous peoples have historically harvested and continue to harvest plants for sustenance and for cultural use across these lands. There are 2,200 species of plants in the monument and hundreds of species of native pollinating bees.
- Raptors: The East Kaibab Monocline, at the edge of the east parcel, is one of the most important autumn raptor migration routes in western North America. At least 19 species of migratory raptors including sharp-shinned, red-tailed, and Cooper’s hawks — up to 12,000 birds each year — have been documented migrating through the monument.
- Game Animals: Hunters from all backgrounds come to these monument lands to find sustenance. The east and west parcels are a famous migratory corridor for desert mule deer, pronghorn roam the east parcel, and Rocky Mountain elk are a common sight in the south parcel. Visitors may also be treated with a sighting of majestic bighorn sheep, which climb out of the Grand Canyon and onto monument lands where they abut the national park.
- Endangered, Sensitive and Protected Species: Dozens of threatened plant and animal species are found on the monument lands. These include the federally endangered Brady pincushion and Fickeisen Plains cacti, the sensitive fish species bluehead sucker and speckled dace, and two amphibian sensitive species: the Arizona toad and northern leopard frog. The landscape supports over a dozen sensitive bird species, including the recovering endangered California condor, and more than a dozen mammal species of conservation concern, including the world-famous Kaibab mule deer.
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