We really weren't planning on actually hunting down the glyphs, just to check the trail for future rides. The first thing we noticed (on the Thanksgiving weekend) was the increased number of riders (even for a Saturday). We had a chance to chat with a few of them and found that many had selected their vacation trip due to hearing all the hub-bub about the BLM closures!
Despite what appears to be increased visitation, First Rock was absolutely the same. But, that was NOT to be the case down at our old friend "Falling Man."
There was damage in the parking area and all along the path! Fortunately, the perpetrators are clearly known — The Fiends of Gold Butte and their facilitators, the BLM!
For years we have visited the site and found that uniformly visitors respected the area, until now. Showing complete disrespect for the land, the BLM has "corralled off" the parking area like a western rodeo arena. It's as though there should be a hot dog stand over in the corner.
Unfortunately, the damage doesn't end in the parking lot – and I'll say this as gently as I can, trying not to offend anyone who may have been involved without stopping to think – but it looks like the girl scout arm of the Fiends of Gold Butte have tried to turn the site into a YMCA camp!
Even after the fact it's hard to describe, and we were so stunned at seeing it that not one of us remembered to take a picture (I'll get one for a future post). Whatever group it was has somewhere found thousands of tiny, tiny rocks and lined an 18-inch walkway up the old trail!
I did check and they weren't painted, but I expected them to be. Parts of where they expected us to walk was even too narrow for one person but don't expect to take a leisurely stroll with your buddy and chat, cause there isn't enough room.
On the right side there are the rocks, on the left are rocks and probably fifty or so rusty metal tomato cages, stapled into the dust and surrounding… absolutely nothing but dirt! A few of them did have small dessicated remnants of some poor, unfortunate, unidentifiable, grass-blade-sized, brown thing.
I'm sorry if this is your handiwork; but, what were you thinking?! I wondered what kind of plant these people had killed by their work and picked up a Popsicle stick (no kidding) at its base. Incredibly, someone had so wanted public recognition for their "altruism" that they had written their name on the non-desert-degradable commercial item and plunked it down with the rest of the rusty junk they left.
Fools names and fools faces are often seen in public places!”
I noticed that every one of the metal cages had the same refuse near it! Now that all the plants are dead, who is going to be responsible for removing all the crap!? Of course as stunned over it as we all are, most of us old-timers are so habituated to "touch nothing" that it just may be there forever!
Shaking our heads in disgust we left the area and traveled to 21-goats. Again the near-ten-grand post and cable blockade was there needlessly barring seniors who can't hike the additional half-mile into the site. Except we saw obvious extended damage to the surrounding area from all the vehicles trying to turn around, or park. Some of the banks are breaking down from people climbing up them to get around. Even horse tracks over the bank because even though they are "legal" they can't get through the poorly-engineered barred-passageway.
Next it was the blockade to Kohta Circus which needlessly Barr's seniors by tacking on an additional mile-and-a-half (one-way) to the already one-mile hike to the site. Incredibly, the "Fiends" and BLM are trying to "restore" (thus blocking) a thousand year old wash!
I've been on "The Butte" over 50 times in the past three years, and Charley even more. I can honestly say that the ONLY DAMAGE I'VE SEEN INFLICTED IN THAT WHOLE TIME HAS BEEN DONE BY THE BLM AND FIENDS OF GOLD BUTTE! Those of you supporting conservation by donating money to the "fiends" - you need to think twice, cause you sure aren't getting your money's worth down here.