Elegant sunburst lichen seems to be distributed throughout every province and territory in Canada (the national lichen?), most of the western United States, and parts of the northeastern US and southern Appalachians.
According to Lichens of North America (ISBN: 0300082495) by Brodo, Sharnoff and Sharnoff, it prefers open rocks rich in nutrients. A bit of perspective is required–an open rock rich in nutrients to a lichen is one that is often fertilized with the excreta of birds or mammals. The authors also write that Inuit hunters could use concentrated groupings of the lichen to locate the burrows of hoary marmots. You can read more about this lichen from the authors here, on the site that ties in with the book.
Botany resource link: Two articles today, both on the same subject and written by Dr. David Hershey on ActionBioscience.org–Avoid Misconceptions When Teaching about Plants and More Misconceptions to Avoid When Teaching about Plants. I read both with an eye to seeing if I’d propagated any misconceptions, and I think I’ve avoided any of these pitfalls so far.