Located in the upper Colorado Plateau, the Bureau of Land Management's Price Field Office manages 1.8 million acres of scenic redrock canyon country known as the San Rafael Swell. A little over 242,000 acres in the area are managed by BLM as Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs), which are to be treated as designated Wilderness Areas until Congress decides whether or not to formally protect them. Characterized by a dramatic dome of sandstone, the entire area has been lifted and turned upright, leaving on its eastern edge a 45 degree angled "reef" cut by erosive forces for over 50 miles. Standing a quarter mile high in places, the reef casts a rugged ridgeline profile of jagged fins, hoodoos, narrow slot canyons and natural bridges, hiding over 750,000 acres of wilderness quality lands behind its great face. The San Rafael's landscape is an encyclopedia of earth history, displaying diverse exposed rock formations and erosional forms. Subsequently, much of the area is proposed for formal wilderness designation by citizen groups in Utah and by people across the country who've had the pleasure of spending a little time exploring its secrets.
Our service project is tamarisk removal from riparian areas in this beautiful area. Riparian lands in the Western U.S. have been severely impacted by many human-related actions, but none so much as the introduction of tamarisk, an invasive and non-native plant. Tamarisk plants hoard light, water and nutrients, and can impact natural systems and destroy native wildlife habitat. Seven Wilderness Study Areas are located in the San Rafael Area. BLM is still deciding on the location, but they have their hands full with tamarisk in many areas throughout the seven WSAs and appreciate our help in its removal. There will be deep canyons of slickrock to explore guaranteed.
We'll set up a basecamp near the work areas, and hike short distances to the project each day.
Photos courtesy of Ray Bloxham and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.
Sep 13th - Sep 19th 2015
Slot canyon hiking, photography
Tent camping near cars
Strenuous : Cutting Tamarisk and lifting cut logs,