Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ride 3 - Petroglyph Trail

Charley, Gordon and I took our first trip down to "the Butte" to reconnoiter what the BLM might be up to this year. Well… it was a singularly "unique experience" to say the least   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Gold Butte Petroglyph Trail]

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.

Fools names and fools faces are often seen in public places!”
American colloquial truism

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.

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.


Desert Walker said...

We agree with your observations. We also were there this weekend, and have NEVER in 10 years seen it this crowded in this area. It is a bit un-nerving to be riding along in the beautiful desert and see signs all over the place, parking corrals, fences and such. There must be a better way to protect these sites! The kicker is that only the law abiding citizens that care are obeying the closures anyway. Everywhere there is a closure, tracks are running through or along side the closed path, and up the hills, etc.
The only law presence we have seen out there is of one ranger looking for poachers a few weeks back.

Michele said...

What Ranger did you see and what makes you think he was looking for poachers? Was it perhaps a PARK Ranger across the BLM border? Or was it really the BLM Ranger who I have seen on patrol as far away as the other side of the Mormon Mountains. Maybe we need to get more Rangers out there. Who can I contact in the government?

Desert Walker said...

The "ranger' we saw stopped us and asked us if we were hunting. Yes, he was looking for Quail poachers and was much interested of our report of a small helicopter buzzing us - apparently they come from Las Vegas to hunt Mountain Sheep and buzz the area to find the small herds before hunting time, which he informed us was not right. He asked that next time we saw it to gather more information, such as numbers on the side and report it.
Would like to see more law enforcement presence there. Not complaining.

kiwi_outdoors said...

Drove to the parking lot and hiked to Khota - it all seemed about normal for this sort of thing and quite good considering it not too far from Vegas. You just have to get used to more regulation and barricades as more folks get AWD vehicles.

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