Great Basin Naturalist


Red Butte Canyon is a protected, near pristine canyon entering Salt Lake Valley, Utah. It contains a well-developed riparian zone and a perennial stream; hillside vegetation ranges from grasslands on the lower limits to Douglas-fir and aspen stands at the upper elevations. In this paper we describe the history of human impact, natural history aspects of climate, geology, and ecology, and faunal and floral information for key species in the canyon. The role and importance of Research Natural Areas is discussed, particularly with respect to the need to protect Red Butte Canyon—one of the few remaining undisturbed riparian ecosystems in the Intermountain West.