According to a statement from the Utah Department of Public Safety, the crew of a Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau helicopter spotted the first monolith on November 18 in southeastern Utah while helping The Department of Wildlife Resources count bighorn sheep.
Per the statement, the crew landed after spotting the object to investigate, finding the nearly 12-foot-tall monolith “installed in the ground in a remote area of red rock” with no clear indication of its origin.
At the time, the Utah Department of Public Safety did not publicly disclose the location of the monolith given that it was in a remote area, stating that “there is a significant possibility [those who attempt to visit] may become stranded and require rescue.”
The structure was installed illegally on public land, according to a United States Bureau of Land Management statement.
On November 24, the Bureau of Land Management joked about the monolith’s speculated extraterrestrial origins in a statement posted to Twitter.
“Using, occupying, or developing the public lands or their resources without a required authorization is illegal, no matter what planet you are from.”
—BLM Utah (@BLMUtah) November 24, 2020