On September 12, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed an act of Congress establishing Canyonlands as our thirty second national park, the first addition to the park system since 1956.
The birth of Canyonlands National Park was not without labor pains. In the 1930's virtually all the vast canyon country between Moab, Utah, and Grand Canyon, Ariz., was studied for a projected Escalante National Park. But Escalante failed to get off the ground, even when a second attempt was made in the 1950's. Not until another proposal had been made and legislative compromises had been worked out did the park materialize, this time under a new name - Canyonlands. Among the many dignitaries who witnessed the signature on September 12 was one of the men most responsible for the park's creation, park superintendent Bates E. Wilson, who did the pioneer spade work in the field.