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The Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks recognize the importance of the National Park Service’s need to build community relationships and partnerships. The Friends offer several programs that will engage the public in caring for and connecting to the land, as well as raise awareness of the importance of protecting these sensitive places.

Volunteer Stewardship
Youth Education
Night Sky
Southeast Utah Online Museum Project
Volunteer Stewardship


The Volunteer Stewardship Program

The Volunteer Stewardship Program assists the National Park Service by coordinating volunteer activities. There are several opportunities for volunteer stewards to provide an extension to the parks “boots on ground” philosophy to enhance the visitor’s experience and protect the parks' resources. For more information on volunteer opportunities contact us.

Volunteer opportunities include:

Cultural and Historic Resource Monitoring – Site Stewardship

Volunteers assist Cultural Resources' staff with monitoring and documenting archaeological sites located in the four national parks of southeast Utah. The stewards will monitor their assigned sites for impacts and provide important data that allow Cultural Resources' staff to maintain an on-going log of natural or human-caused changes.

Watch a news story on the Site Stewardship Program: Environmental "guardian angels."

Graffiti Monitoring

Volunteers will assist the Park Service with monitoring graffiti in the parks. Volunteers will work closely with the Arches Interpretative staff to identify and report instances of graffiti. Where graffiti is an on-going problem, volunteers will be assigned a  specific area and be asked to visit their site on a regular basis (especially in the Spring and Fall) to locate and report new graffiti. Volunteers will be visible and will be required to interact with visitors and educate the public on the laws regarding vandalism in the park.

Watch a news story: Volunteers work to clean up growing graffiti problem.

Read an Op-Ed in the Salt Lake Tribune: Corps of volunteers needed in Utah’s parks.

Trail Stewards

Volunteers are assigned specific trails within one of the four National Parks in southeast Utah. They will monitor their assigned trail at least twice per year to ensure the trails are properly marked, look for any hazardous issues, and to interact with visitors.

Weed Warriors

On an annual basis, for one to three days in late summer or early fall, the Volunteer Stewards may work closely with NPS Natural Resources' staff to assist with invasive weed removal in Arches, the Needles District of Canyonlands, and the Potash boat ramp. Volunteers will work closely with staff to identify and remove a variety of invasive weeds including ripgut brome, puncture vine, Russian thistle, tamarisk, and Russian olive. 

Special Projects/Events

Volunteers may be asked to participate in special park projects and events as needed. On occasion, the National Park Service conducts special events such as the Arches Quarter Release and Public Lands Day. There may also be an opportunity to participate in one-time projects in which the park will need extra helping hands to assist in the completion of the project. All volunteers on the Friends Volunteer Stewardship roster may be asked to assist if available.

Youth Education


Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Youth Education Programs

The Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks supports programs that encourage visiting youth, diverse populations, and local residents to care for their surrounding parks. The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow and we will provide young people with opportunities to explore and form their own connections to the landscapes, and grow as lifelong stewards of national parks.

Youth programs include:

Youth Art in the Parks “Look Where We Live”

Once a year, 4th and 5th-grade classes get to learn about landscape art as part of their school curriculum. Youth Art in the Parks is a Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks program that works with students during the landscape art curriculum to teach about the legacy of Bate's Wilson and his enthusiasm for connecting young people to the national parks. Students then take a field trip to the national park and apply their learning to their art.  The student artwork is exhibited in the Moab area during the month of January.

Check out student artwork here.

Youth Works in the Parks

The Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks in partnership with the National Park Conservation Association and Youth Works Salt Lake City hosts a youth camp (Youth Works in the Parks) catered to underserved Salt Lake City area high school age youth.  The camp gives participants the opportunity to experience national parks and the majestic southeast Utah landscape. Youth Works in the Parks camps focus on outdoor education, service projects, and provides times for participants interact with land managers and outfitters on potential job opportunities in natural and cultural resource management.  Youth Works in the Parks camps take place in the spring and fall and include camping, meals, visits to the southeast Utah national parks for ranger-led nature hikes and provides service projects within the parks.

Latinos In Action (LIA) Moab Adventure Partnership

The Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks has partnered with the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, O.A.R.S., and Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hiking, and the Outdoors (HECHO) in hosting the Latinos in Action Moab Adventure.  The program brings LIA high school and college-aged participants to Moab for a weekend filled with camping, whitewater rafting, a ranger-led hike, and informational discussion with a variety of special guests that engage Latino youth in the wonders of canyon country.

Check out 2017's LIA Camp

Project Archeology Partnership

The Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks partners with Project Archeology, Utah, The Bureau of Land Management, The National Park Service and Girl Scouts of Utah to educate young girls on the scientific, historical, and cultural significance of archaeological resources, and the importance of protecting our nation's rich cultural heritage. The program uses archeological inquiry to foster understanding of past and present cultures; improve social studies and science education, and enhance citizenship education to help preserve our archeological legacy. This program gives students a basic understanding of how archaeology works and teaches them to respect and protect our nation’s rich cultural heritage.

Night Sky


Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Night Sky

Dark Skies are a valuable and rare resource that millions of people throughout the world never get to see. Discover ways to appreciate and conserve Moab's unique and rare dark skies here at home. The universe is right overhead in our backyards!

The mission of Moab Dark Skies is to promote the appreciation and conservation of Moab’s unique and rare dark skies.

The Goals of Moab Dark Skies are to:

• Maintain and preserve the dark skies in the Moab region.

• Encourage night sky friendly for municipal, business, and private use.

• Increase public awareness of the unique resource in Moab’s dark skies.

• Provide dark sky educational opportunities and events for the community.

• Promote the economic benefits of astrotourism in the local economy.

The Friends supports the preservation of the night skies and works closely with the National Parks Dark Skies Program.

The Moab Dark Skies was started by the Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks in coordination with the National Park Service, Utah State Parks, and Moab community leaders. During the summer months, the Park provides an Astronomy Ranger Program under the spectacular starry skies. During the Spring and Fall, the Friends in coordination with the Park Services sponsors night sky viewing within the national parks. Special guests such as Seth Jarvis, the Director of the Clark’s Planetarium in Salt Lake City come to the park to conduct “Star Parties” for the visitors and local communities. The Friends works with local groups in sponsoring night sky programs geared towards educating the residents and visitors of the importance of maintaining the dark skies.

Watch this video on the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative.

For more information, visit:

Moab Dark Skies

International Dark Sky Association

NPS Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division (NPS NSNSD)

Colorado Plateau Dark Skies Cooperative

Southeast Utah Online Museum Project

Southeast Utah Online Museum Project

The Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks and the National Park Service are in the early stages of producing an online museum to share some of the objects that have been curated from the Southeast Utah National Parks and Monuments.  

Check back here soon for updates on this developing project! 

hidden Treasures of Canyonlands NP