conservation mexican mtn wsa survey - April 27, 2013

Ten years ago Wasatch Mountain Club members surveyed the boundaries of all the WSA's in the San Rafael Swell. These WSA's were created during a wilderness audit of BLM lands in the 1980's and are awaiting Congress to decide if they achieve wilderness status or not. Our survey was conducted to see if WSA signs and barricades were in place and to look for illegal intrusions. The Price BLM office took our reports and replaced signs, erected new or fixed old barricades and responded to problems. New regulations requiring BLM offices to protect WSA were issued in 2012 and require frequent surveys to ensure wilderness attributes are not impaired. Apparently, the WMC is the only organization in Utah who conducted detailed surveys in an organized and useful manner. The Price office is digging out our old reports and is working with the WMC on how to modernize the reporting though digital photos and GPS coordinates. The BLM is very interested in having us repeat the surveys and developing efficient ways for volunteers to help them meet the new regulations. The target this spring is the eastern part of the Mexican Mountain WSA. We will be starting where the San Rafael River punches through the Reef at Tidwell Bottom. I hope we can reach past Cottonwood Wash on the north end on the first trip April 27 and 28. The second trip will be up on top looking at Box and Prickly Pear flats May 18 and 19. I will be trying a number of techniques to make our trip efficient and effective through mixing driving on boundary roads to cross country travel. This will be a great way to learn and use GPS navigation, plus I will have copies of paper topo maps. We will be provided maps with sign and barricade locations and we will then search them out, so I guess this sort of like geocaching. The WMC will provide rugged, waterproof digital cameras with built in GPS so the date, time and exact location of the pic will be part of the electronic record. The eastern reef has many surprises: historic cowboy cabins, water where you least expect it, Indian art, great views and nice places to car camp. A high clearance vehicle is a must, 4X4 usefull. All camps will be dry so plenty of water is required. The surveys will be broken up into pieces. Some will require use of vehicles; others will take hiking to reach more obscure areas so there will be something for all degrees of difficulty.

Organizer:Will McCarvill
Date:Sat Apr 27 2013 — Sun Apr 28 2013
Meeting Place:Registration required