Range Creek Field Station


What is a field station?

A field station is an outdoor library and laboratory for the study of biodiversity. The mission of the Range Creek Field Station is to protect and preserve the incredible archaeological resources found in the canyon, while conducting research, training students, and providing access to the public. The research goal of the field station staff, is to explore adaptations of arid-land foragers and farmers who occupied this canyon over the last 1,500 years. The field station offers a place for hands-on training in archaeological method and theory as well as a wide array of scientific research techniques for better understanding natural history. At a field station, students are immersed in the environment that they are researching. 

In Range Creek, scientific teams and field classes are headquartered at the former Wilcox Ranch. Staff, researchers, and students pitch tents in the camping area. Mealtime is a communal affair, prepared and served from a single kitchen and enjoyed at an outside dining area. Many of the buildings were in poor condition and require constant repair and upkeep by field station staff. Investments in infrastructure have resulted in new septic systems, updated plumbing, replacement of leaking roofs, and a new solar system. Students and volunteers have contributed hundreds of hours of “sweat equity” resulting in functioning irrigation systems, repaired fences and gates, and clean, freshly painted buildings.

Ranch Improvements

Archaeologists view a laptop while working outdoors.

The Range Creek Field Station is a work in progress and much remains to be done. A comprehensive management plan was established in 2012, in collaboration with many interested parties who negotiated a plan to accomplish our mission in harmony with the historic fabric of the canyon and the conservation easement on the property. In 2017, we installed a solar system. With reliable power, we upgraded our communication system and research facilities.

This map of the field station headquarters was made using data collected by staff and students of the 2006 U of U field school using survey grade mapping equipment.  Construction dates for buildings, fences, and other features range from about 1890 - 1970.  For a virtual tour match the numbered list of photos to those on the map (see below).

Field Station Buildings 

1  Cinderblock House

2  Dons Cabin


Log Cabin

5  Butchering Shed

6  Corn Crib/Log Cabin

7  Tractor Shed

Chicken Coop & Tack Shed

9  Hay Barn

10 Stable

11 Orchard

12 Ore Car Dam

13 Historic Corrals