Peter Friederici

Peter Friederici

From the Monopoly board to the suburban mall, free parking is one of those American ideals that no one can get enough of. Or so it seems. But in fact parking doesn’t come free, even when there’s no meter or permit requirement in sight.


The Grand Canyon, Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano are some of the geologic and cultural gems of the National Park Service. This summer, KNAU's Earth Notes series will highlight these, and other special places across the Southwest in honor of the Park Service's 100th anniversary. In the fourth installment of the series, we look at northern Arizona's Pipe Spring National Monument and its rich human history.

To many Colorado Plateau tourists, Pipe Spring National Monument is about as far from civilization as it gets—a 40-acre flyspeck tucked onto the vast Arizona Strip between the North Rim of Grand Canyon and the colorful canyon parks of southern Utah.

On contemporary maps, tribal peoples in the U.S. are closely identified with particular reservation lands. But long-standing ties to land connect Native tribes with a much broader network of places.

It’s an iconic southwestern scene: the glimmer of green or yellow cottonwood leaves fluttering against the backdrop of Zion Canyon’s tremendous red- and cream-colored cliffs. Along southwest Utah’s Virgin River, groves of cottonwood trees please the eye, offer very welcome shade, and provide habitat for numerous types of animals.

But Zion’s cottonwoods are in trouble. Big as they are, the cottonwood trees along the river aren’t particularly long lived. Worse yet, as they die they are not being replaced by younger trees.

Nature makes people feel better. Studies have shown that hospital patients who can see a natural scene from their window—or even an image of nature—typically heal faster than those cut off from the outdoors.