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An eight-day tour of the magnificent yet neglected landscapes of the West

Join bestselling science author David Quammen and author/historian Betsy Gaines Quammen as well as publishers Kirsten Allen and Mark Bailey for an intimate, eight-day tour of Gold Butte National Monument in southeastern Nevada, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Bears Ears National Monument, both in southern Utah. The national parks of this region are more famous—Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon—but the national monuments are also magnificent and arguably more surprising. Now is your chance to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the backroads of these natural and cultural wonders as well as their fraught and fascinating histories with Betsy and David Quammen on this all-inclusive trip to benefit nonprofit Torrey House Press. This is the great American Southwest as few people ever see it or think about it.

Enjoyment, illumination, inspiration
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In late 2019, the Bureau of Land Management announced that areas once protected as part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will be opened to oil and gas drilling. This will affect the ecology of the region (home to over 600 bee species, among other biological diversity) and devastate a thriving tourism economy. The current administration has also reduced the monument in area by 46 percent, leaving previously included lands without essential protection. The politics of it are distressing but not hopeless; individuals and organizations, such as Blake Spalding (co-owner of Hell’s Backbone Grill, the acclaimed eatery in Boulder, Utah) and Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners are fighting the boundary reductions in court. You will meet with Blake, tour her farm, and dine on her extraordinary cuisine. For a highly literate account of her work as an activist, chef, and employer, see Kathryn Schulz’s recent article in The New Yorker.


Bears Ears National Monument has also been reduced—by 85 percent, for uranium mining and increased road building. This threatens sacred Native sites and undoes the efforts of five tribal nations who worked together to create this monument. You will hear from Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, the former Co-Chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, about these sacred landscapes and the ongoing battle to protect them, and tour the gorgeous landscape of Bears Ears with archaeologist Ralph Burrillo, another Torrey House author.

Starting September 12, 2020, in St. George, Utah, eight to ten people will travel within the region by chauffeured van and, for one scenic leg of the trip, the option of a small plane. Guests will be looked after by an excellent chef/concierge/sommelier, Robin Chopus, who will cater for every physical gustatory need. You will hike, explore, and navigate the twists and curves of these exquisite wild places in America’s redrock country where much of Betsy’s new book, American Zion, takes place. You’ll hear stories about old miners and modern outlaws, shared during fireside chats with authors and experts, and learn about the local geology, natural history, and culture during daily talks

 Washington, D.C. 
Authors Betsy Gaines Quammen and David Quammen
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Throughout the trip, Betsy and David Quammen will share their work and love for extraordinary landscapes and their expertise with its issues and controversies. Betsy’s new book will be published in March 2020—American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God, and Public Lands in the West, an account of the Mormon history of the region, the militia networks that have arisen, and the ongoing Bundy family feud over public lands—and this trip offers a unique opportunity to experience the stories and issues from her book in the landscapes where they happen. David is the author of many books and articles as well, and he’ll talk about the Last Wild Places initiative of the National Geographic Society, for which he is writing five magazine stories and a book. In 2016, David was sole writer of the special issue of National Geographic Magazine on Yellowstone and its meaning as America’s first national park, and person will receive copies of the book version of this Yellowstone special issue, Yellowstone: A Journey through America’s Wild Heart, and Betsy's book.

Betsy and David, along with Torrey House Press founders Kirsten Johanna Allen and Mark Bailey, invite you to experience the landscape and culture, literature and controversies of this extraordinary place - and help Torrey House Press continue to publish important stories about wonders and treasures in peril. Reserve your spot today.

Learn More about Treasures in Peril:

To learn more about the Treasures in Peril Tour, contact Kirsten Johanna Allen at

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