What is the creation date of Capitol Reef National Park?

Tourist Attractions

By Laurie Baratti

Capitol Reef National Park, located in south-central Utah, is a stunning example of geologic wonder. The park features colorful canyons, towering sandstone cliffs, and petroglyphs etched into the rock. It is also home to a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep and mule deer. But when was this national park created, and how did it come to be?

How was Capitol Reef National Park established?

The creation of Capitol Reef National Park was a process that took several decades. It began in the early 1900s when the area was first explored by geologists and other scientists. In the following years, various groups lobbied for the establishment of a protected area in the region. These efforts culminated in the designation of Capitol Reef National Monument in 1937. Over the years, the monument was expanded and eventually became Capitol Reef National Park in 1971.

The history of the land

The area that is now Capitol Reef National Park has a long history, dating back millions of years. The region was once covered by shallow seas, and over time, layers of sediment built up to form the colorful rock formations that we see today. The land was also home to various Native American tribes, who left behind petroglyphs and other artifacts. Later, European settlers arrived in the area, and many of them established fruit orchards that can still be seen in the park today.

The territorial statehood of Utah

Utah became a territory of the United States in 1850, and it wasn’t until 1896 that it achieved statehood. During this time, the federal government played a significant role in managing the region’s resources, including land use. This led to the establishment of various national parks and monuments in the area, including Zion, Bryce Canyon, and, later, Capitol Reef.

The establishment of Capitol Reef National Monument

Capitol Reef National Monument was established in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The monument was initially created to protect the unique geologic formations in the area, but it also served to promote tourism in Utah. At the time, the state was struggling economically, and many people saw the creation of national parks and monuments as a way to boost the economy.

The expansion of Capitol Reef National Monument

Over the years, Capitol Reef National Monument was expanded several times. In 1947, President Harry Truman added an additional 2,000 acres to the monument, and in 1950, President Truman added an additional 1,000 acres. Then, in 1962, President John F. Kennedy added an additional 60,000 acres, bringing the total size of the monument to approximately 255,000 acres.

Capitol Reef National Park is born

In 1971, Capitol Reef National Monument was redesignated as Capitol Reef National Park. This change in status reflected the growing recognition of the area’s unique geologic and cultural resources. Today, Capitol Reef National Park attracts millions of visitors each year who come to explore the park’s scenic drives, hiking trails, and historic sites.

The benefits of Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park provides many benefits to visitors, including opportunities for outdoor recreation, education, and inspiration. The park also helps to support the local economy by bringing in tourism dollars and providing jobs. Additionally, the park helps to preserve the natural and cultural resources of the region for future generations.

The current status of Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park is currently managed by the National Park Service, which is responsible for protecting and preserving the park’s natural and cultural resources. The park is open year-round, and visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking, camping, and scenic drives.

The preservation of Capitol Reef National Park

Preserving Capitol Reef National Park is a high priority for the National Park Service. The park is home to many sensitive ecosystems and endangered wildlife species, and the NPS works to protect these resources through careful management practices. Additionally, the NPS works to educate visitors about the importance of preserving the park’s resources, so that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty and wonder of this special place.


Capitol Reef National Park is a magnificent example of the natural and cultural beauty of the American West. Its creation was the result of many years of effort and advocacy, and its continued preservation is a testament to the importance of protecting our nation’s natural and cultural resources. Whether you are a seasoned outdoors enthusiast or a first-time visitor, Capitol Reef National Park is a destination that should not be missed.


  • National Park Service. (n.d.). Capitol Reef National Park. Retrieved from https://www.nps.gov/care/index.htm
  • Utah Office of Tourism. (n.d.). Capitol Reef Country. Retrieved from https://capitolreef.org/about-capitol-reef-country/
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Laurie Baratti

Laurie Baratti, a renowned San Diego journalist, has contributed to respected publications like TravelAge West, SPACE, Modern Home + Living, Montage, and Sandals Life. She's a passionate travel writer, constantly exploring beyond California. Besides her writing, Laurie is an avid equestrian and dedicated pet owner. She's a strong advocate for the Oxford comma, appreciating the richness of language.

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