Location: Moffat County
Size: 12,960 acres
Designated: August 1990
Landowner/Manager: Bureau of Land Management and The State Land Board
Irish Canyon is an excellent example of a beheaded stream valley; the stream in Irish Canyon was pirated by Vermillion Creek in early Pleistocene time, leaving a 1000-foot deep dry gorge. The canyon supports populations of several plant species of special concern: Penstemon yampaensis, Bolophyta ligulata, Cryptantha caespitosa and Eriogonum tumulosum. High-quality examples of northwestern Colorado plant communities are found on the floor and canyon walls, and Irish Lakes represent one of the few natural playa lakes in this part of the state. Rock art and other archaeological sites abound in the canyon. Stream piracy occurs when headword erosion enables one stream to capture the water flow from another stream.
Click here to visit the BLM's website on Irish Canyon.
Colorado State Parks & Natural Areas
by Frank Weston
Published September 1, 2008
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