Deal to protect ancient art in Utah canyon signed

By Mike Stark
Salt Lake City, Utah (AP) Jan. 2010

An agreement to protect a central Utah canyon rich with ancient American Indian art while allowing for nearby mineral development has been approved.

The unusual pact governing Nine Mile Canyon was signed Jan. 5 at the Utah Capitol by federal and state agencies, conservation and archaeology groups, tribal leaders and a Colorado natural gas producer.

The deal sets out a list of tasks, including increased efforts to tamp down dust kicked up by trucks in the canyon that some fear hurts thousands of ancient rock paintings and carvings.

Denver-based Bill Barrett Corp. is awaiting federal environmental approval to add 800 gas wells on high plateaus that are accessible only from the canyon.