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Company Profile

Woods Canyon Archaeological Consultants provides high quality cultural resource services in a responsive, ethical, and cost effective manner.  We have more than 40 years of experience successfully completing projects in the Four Corners region.

Woods Canyon, founded in 1982, is a full service cultural resource management consulting firm with extensive experience in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. We specialize in cultural resource compliance and permitting, and other related services.


Our client base is comprised of extractive industries (oil, natural gas, and mining); public and private utilities (electric utilities, and water districts); private industries (land developers, manufacturing and telecommunications, including fiber optics); tribal organizations; and government agencies. The firm also pursues state and federal grant monies for cultural resource management projects.


We employ a staff of 20+ cultural resource professionals and maintain a variable field staff of employees on an on-call basis. The company office is in Cortez, Colorado.

Our mission is to provide professional, high quality services across multiple sectors within the cultural resource management industry. 

Company Overview
Business Status

Woods Canyon is a small business enterprise operating as a corporation incorporated under the laws of the state of Colorado.  Woods Canyon holds no debt and has financial resources to fund additional staff or purchase equipment as needed. The company has a small core group of personnel that can be augmented as needed. This has been a successful strategy for more than 30 years to keep overhead low, remain competitive, and ultimately minimize costs to clients.



Woods Canyon maintains a $1,000,000 General Liability insurance policy with Colorado Casualty and a $1,000,000 Automobile Liability policy. A $1,000,000 Umbrella is provided in addition to those limits. Woods Canyon also maintains professional liability insurance with a limit of $250,000 per claim/annual aggregate; however, no professional liability claims have ever been filed against Woods Canyon.  A certificate of insurance can be obtained from Bob Sawyer at 970-565-3042.

Permits and Curation Agreements

Woods Canyon currently holds federal permits for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the states of Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico; and the United States Forest Service in the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. In addition, Woods Canyon holds state permits to work on state lands in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico and tribal permits to work on Ute Mountain Ute and Navajo lands.

Woods Canyon maintains curatorial agreements for the storage of artifactual and archival materials with the following public facilities: the Anasazi Heritage Center, Dolores, Colorado; the Edge of the Cedars Museum, Blanding, Utah; and the Laboratory of Anthropology, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Woods Canyon possesses a fire-proof filing cabinet for the safekeeping of all important papers and archival materials. In addition, Woods Canyon has a safe room for the temporary storage of valuable artifacts and human remains. This room has fire-resistant walls, floor, and ceiling, lacks windows, and has a separate lock and deadbolt-protected entry. 

Woods Canyon also holds curation agreements for paleontological materials in Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico.

GIS/GPS and Digital Capabilities

Woods Canyon has full Geographical Information Systems (GIS)/Global Positioning System (GPS) services and digital mapping capabilities available to support various projects. Woods Canyon has been at the forefront of incorporating digital mapping technology in archaeology since the late 1970s. While all staff members have the ability to map with a tape and compass, they are also familiar with digital mapping platforms. More importantly, Woods Canyon understands the benefits and limitations of digital and non-digital mapping technologies and has the ability to merge the best aspects of both to produce high-quality maps.


Since 2000, Woods Canyon has used portable ArcGIS for mapping cultural sites. ESRI software is loaded onto handheld, sub-meter mapping devices to create detailed maps of sites and surrounding topography. This data is easily backed up in the field and transferred to the laboratory for further processing. In some cases where these GPS-based technologies have limitations due to canyon settings, compass and tape mapping are coupled with GPS locational data as available.


Woods Canyon has also pioneered the use of digital devices to record data in the field. iPads, digital cameras, and laptop computers have become standard devices for fieldwork documentation. Woods Canyon has systems in place to record data on digital forms and directly into databases to shorten the time it takes to turn field data into final, usable information to produce reports.


Database Development

Database development for Ute Mountain Ute and Navajo Nation

Woods Canyon pioneered the use of digital databases for site data collection in the early 1990's and has been streamlining the process since then.  Our relational database has enhanced our efficiencies significantly over the years and we recently assisted both the Navajo Nation Heritage and Historic Preservation Department and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Historic Preservation Office with implementation of streamlined databases for their work. 

Public Outreach and Participation

Woods Canyon has a history of presenting technical data from cultural resource projects to professional, academic, and non-professional groups. The results of data recovery projects have been presented in a variety of settings that range from the annual meetings of the Society for American Archaeology to slideshows given to local archaeology groups. Non-technical publications have also been completed following large data recovery projects, such as the MAPL Pipeline. Woods Canyon is currently developing an interactive web-based presentation of data recovery efforts at the Navajo Mine in northwestern New Mexico in order to reach a broader audience, and as such, educate and promote preservation of the archaeological record in the region.

Areas of Expertise

Cultural Resource Surveys

Woods Canyon has successfully completed thousands of cultural resource surveys that range in size from one acre to several thousand acres across the Southwest. The use of digital platforms in the field has greatly enhanced the capacity of the company to gather very accurate data and minimize the time between fieldwork and reporting. Woods Canyon uses portable sub-meter GPS-enabled devices as well as laptops, tablets, smartphones, and digital cameras to efficiently complete surveys and compile detailed reports for clients. Woods Canyon has conducted surveys on federal, state, municipal, private, and tribal lands, and the staff are experienced with identifying and documenting prehistoric and historic sites, archaeological districts, and traditional cultural properties (locations significant to descendant Native American communities).


Site Conservation

Woods Canyon has performed detailed architectural documentation at several cultural sites in the Four Corners Region as part of restoration and reconstruction projects. Some of these projects include:  the River House Ruin Restoration Project on the San Juan River west of Bluff, Utah; the Mesa Verde Plaster Recordation Study in Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado; the excavation and stabilization of Escalante Ruin in southwestern Colorado; the Eagle Nest House, Morris #5, Lion House, and Tree House Preservation Project in the Ute Tribal Park in southwestern Colorado; Save America’s Treasures Ancestral Puebloan Sites at Risk Project in southeastern Utah; the Chimney Rock National Monument Stabilization and Reconstruction Project in southwestern Colorado; and conservation work at seven sites in southeastern Utah. Most recently, Woods Canyon conducted a condition assessment and architectural documentation of forty-four architectural units at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, New Mexico 

Archaeological Excavation

Woods Canyon has conducted archaeological excavations at hundreds of historic and prehistoric cultural sites in the Four Corners Region. These projects have included monitoring of construction in areas with potential for buried cultural deposits as well as large-scale excavations of complex, multi-component sites. Woods Canyon has experience with initial survey and identification of cultural resources, limited testing and assessment of significance, NAGPRA, tribal consultation, data recovery excavation, artifact processing, artifact analysis, report writing, and curation. Some of the larger projects include: the MAPL Pipeline Project in northwestern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado; the Animas-La Plata Project in southwestern Colorado; and the BHP Area IV North Mitigation Project in northwestern New Mexico.


Paleontological Resource Surveys

Woods Canyon holds paleontological permits in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. Staff members have completed fieldwork projects on state, federal, and tribal lands. This has included survey, monitoring, and sample collection and preparation. Other projects have included the creation of paleontological resource management plans and the compilation of baseline data for resources on a regional level.

Project Management

Woods Canyon has remained a successful business for more than 30 years by successfully managing time, schedules, and budgets. Costs and labor are tracked using a combination of digital management tools and the involvement of project managers. Woods Canyon has a secure FTP site to share data and facilitate communication among project proponents. The advantage of digital data collection is that we can accurately track progress and manage schedules, as well as provide updates as necessary to clients.


Woods Canyon has experience with managing teams of specialists for the successful completion of multi-faceted cultural resource projects involving multiple stakeholders. Woods Canyon often works in concert with one or more other consulting companies, and often with multiple agencies as well as private proponents. Many projects involve some degree of tribal communication with culturally affiliated Native American groups, which has been successfully accomplished through existing relationships and familiarity with the policies and practices of consultation.


A key component of Woods Canyon’s success has been collaboration with teams of researchers and specialists. Woods Canyon has completed several projects that have required the full spectrum of archaeological specialists from soil scientists to textile experts. All of these projects have been completed on time and have produced data that has been of use to archaeological researchers and resource managers alike.


Special Projects

Woods Canyon also regularly assists in creating planning documents​ and management plans for public and tribal lands, alternative mitigation strategies, and contexts for future management strategies.

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