Photography in the west of the United States is rich in discovered and strange places.

Cottonwood Cove, Paria Plateau

Established on November 9, 2000, by a Presidential proclamation by President Bill Clinton, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument was carved from existing lands already under the management of the U.S. Government in extreme northern Coconino County, Arizona, immediately south of the border with the state of Utah. The monument is administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Vermilion Cliffs themselves run along the southern and eastern edges of this National Monument. Much of the Monument's land consists of the Paria Plateau, a flat area extending northward from the tops of the cliffs.

Cotton Cove, ArizonaThe Vermilion Cliffs are steep eroded escarpments consisting primarily of sandstone, siltstone, limestone, and shale which rise as much as 3,000 feet (915 meters) above their bases. These sedimentary rocks have been deeply eroded for millions of years, exposing hundreds of layers of richly colored rock strata. Mesas, buttes, and large tablelands are interspersed with somne steep canyons, where some small streams provide enough moisture to support a sampling of wildlife.

More than twenty species of raptors including bald eagles and golden eagles, peregrine falcons, and several species of hawks have been observed. The endangered species of bird, the California condor, has been re-introduced into this region recently due to its remote location and lack of human habitation to interfere with the condors. Desert bighorn sheep, pronghorns, and mountain lions make up most of the large mammals found here, with about 30 more species of smaller mammals living here. Several examples of rare fish species, such as the "flannelmouth sucker" and the "speckled dace" live in the streams within this National Monument. The Welsh's milkweed, a threatened plant species that grows on sand dunes, and helps stabilize them, is known to only exist in this National Monument and in one other area in nighboring Utah. (Source Wikipedia)

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