Flora Diversity – Box Death Hollow Wilderness

“The Box” is a canyon located in the western section of Box-Death Hollow Wilderness Area. The canyon was created by Pine Creek, which runs north-south through a steep monocline, and is only accessible from its lower end.

The wilderness area is extremely fertile due to frequent floods inside the canyon from the clear, fast-flowing creek, so The Box and the surrounding wilderness are home to a huge diversity of plant life. Box Death Hollow is part of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

Diverse weather conditions and elevation also play a significant role in the diversity of plant life supported within the Box-Death Hollow Wilderness ecosystem. Climate effects on plant life are obvious as you follow the canyon, from the cool, shady aspen, fir, and ponderosa pine forests of Upper Box near Hell’s Backbone Road, down into the high desert environment of Lower Box Canyon where you’ll find pinyon pine trees, juniper, lots of sagebrush, and Gambel’s oak trees lining the creek banks. A huge variety of wildflower species can be found at different elevations. The variety of flora supports a diverse animal population including deer, mountain lions, elk, small mammals, crows, lizards, snakes, and much more.

A two-year study by the Provo High Botany Club revealed an extraordinary diversity of plant life in Box Death Hollow Wilderness Area. More than 300 species were collected, including 20 that had not been previously identified and reported in Garfield County. The six largest families of samples collected included: Asteraceae (50 species), Poaceae (36 species), Rosaceae (16 species), Scrophulariaceae (16 species), Fabaceae (15 species), and Brassicaceae (15 species). The students also searched for threatened and endangered species within the Box-Death Hollow Wilderness Area.

Box-Death Hollow Wilderness Area is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and includes 25,571 acres. Part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, this natural wilderness environment remains biologically intact and is considered crucial to the survival of its biodiversity and ecosystems. As such, motorized recreational vehicles are prohibited, and group sizes are limited to 25 people.

As always when exploring beautiful Bryce Canyon Country, follow leave no trace practices to minimize your impact on Box Death Hollow’s wilderness environment.

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