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San Rafael Swell, Price BLM, UT (Sep 10th - Sep 16th 2017)

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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 third year service project will be removal of invasive tamarisk from the waterways. Tamarisk (or saltcedar) is a small tree or large shrub native to Eurasia and Africa that escaped from cultivation in the late 1800's and invaded the riparian areas of the southwest. This aggressive invader grows along the banks of waterways in impenetrable thickets that choke out native vegetation, alter the pH of surrounding soil, prevent wildlife from reaching water, and even change the course of streams and rivers. Our project will help the BLM fight their ongoing tamarisk battle and restore the delicate ecosystem of San Rafael's waterways.

We'll set up a basecamp near our work area, and hike or drive short distances to the project each day. On our day off we will explore beautiful slickrock canyons or nearby arches.

This project is rated as a strenuous project.

Check out more photos from previous years' San Rafael projects in our gallery.


Sep 10th - Sep 16th 2017

Service Project

Tamarisk removal

Agency logo

Free Days

Hiking, visit nearby arches, photography, exploration


Tent camping at remote campsite

Project Difficulty

Strenuous : Hiking, sawing tamarisk, lifting cut logs, brush removal, bending, kneeling


Equipment List