When touring the Bears Ears region in southeast Utah, it is simply a must to make the Edge Of The Cedars State Park one of the first stops. This State Park actually is a large museum that houses cultural artifacts from archaeological sites in this region and it features an ancient pueblo with a complete kiva intact. This is a very special place to take a tour, because a wealth of knowledge about the history of the native cultures that occupied this region can be found here. Bears Ears has always been a sacred spiritual place where distant tribes have made countless pilgrimages over eons of time. Because Bears Ears is a place of great cultural significance, the artifacts certainly do have plenty of interesting stories to tell. A trip to the Edge Of The Cedars State Park is guaranteed to be a worthwhile educational experience that will provide intriguing memories to ponder over for a lifetime!
The Edge Of The Cedars State Park is located in Blanding, Utah, which is one of the gateways to adventure in this region. Modern accommodations, rentals and grocers can be found in Blanding, so this town is a good choice for a basecamp. Bears Ears covers a lot of ground and most of the ancient sacred places are located on Cedar Mesa, so there will be some extra commuting time involved with doing the tour. Because the site locations are not easy to find, it helps to become oriented ahead of time and this is where the Edge Of The Cedars State Park fits into the picture. Information about the Bears Ears site locations can be found here, along with detailed background information about each pueblo. Gaining a little bit of knowledge ahead of time will ensure a fuller experience while out in the field.
Hours can be spent viewing the vast collection of native cultural exhibits in this museum. The curators offer plenty of insight, so do not be shy about asking questions! There is one exhibit in particular that will help to put the pieces of the puzzle together when touring Cedar Mesa, which is a turkey feather blanket. There are turkeys everywhere in this region and they are easy to spot at Indian Creek. On Cedar Mesa, there actually is an ancient pueblo that features domesticated turkey pens. Contrary to the first thought to cross the mind, the turkeys were not raised as a source of meat. In fact there is no archaeological evidence that the local people ate turkey meat at all. The turkeys were domesticated primarily for their feathers and the edible eggs were an added bonus. Intricately woven turkey feather blankets are extremely durable and they served many utilitarian purposes, so these big birds certainly were a valuable commodity.
There is plenty more to learn at the Edge Of The Cedars Museum and just outside the back door is where the small ancient pueblo can be found, which offers a hands on experience. This pueblo is in a picturesque setting at the base of the mountain and it is easy to find peace of mind when strolling around the grounds. This pueblo structure only has a few rooms, but it boasts a rarely seen feature, which is a complete kiva that still has the earthen timber roof intact. There is a ladder that goes through the rooftop entrance, so visitors are welcome to experience what a traditional kiva is like inside. This is an opportunity that should not be passed up, because there are only a handful of completely intact ancient kivas in the entire west.
The Edge Of The Cedars State Park is a worthwhile experience that will provide volumes of information about the Bears Ears native cultural heritage. In Bears Ears, the more you know ahead of time, the better the adventure will be, so this museum definitely is a prerequisite for doing a complete tour. For this reason, be sure to chalk the Edge Of The Cedars high on the list when planning a Bears Ears National Monument venture!
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