Monday, May 18, 2009

The Red Desert - Up Close and Personal

By Linda Helm
Photos by Morgan Heim

Those of you who are tuned in to the issues surrounding energy development here in Colorado, likely also know that there are similar, if not more pressures in Wyoming. Like Colorado, the issues are complex, the solutions equally so.

While I do not pretend to be an expert on all of these concerns, I do know that complex problems deserve our utmost attention and research - especially because the decisions and actions we take (or fail to take) today will have lasting impacts on us as well as our children and grandchildren.

I just found out about a fantastic opportunity to get to know the Red Desert area in a more intimate way - CAR CAMPING TRIPS sponsored by the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance out of Laramie, WY.

They start this weekend and run through mid June and include various destinations, lengths of trips and difficulty. Trust me - after talking with more than a few photographers who have worked in this area - you will derive huge benefit from going with people who know the territory. It can be rough going if you get weather, car trouble or ... dare I say ... lost ... But then that's also part of the lure of this landscape - remote, peaceful, dangerous, unforgiving ... WILD.

Environmental photojournalist and writer Morgan Heim, whose images appear below, has studied and photographed extensively in this area. She is extremely well versed on the issues surrounding oil and gas development in this landscape. You can see more of her work on the Red Desert at

Anyway, check out the BCA website for details on the Red Desert Caravan, Adobe Town, Powder Rim, Wild Cow Creek Backpack, and Ferris Mountains and Dunes excursions.

The scheduled outings are as follows:

May 23-25 - Red Desert Caravan.
A three-day tour to visit the units of a potential Red Desert National Conservation Area. This three-day auto safari will take in Adobe Town, the Kinney Rim, and Jack Morrow Hills highlights such as the Boar's Tusk, Killpecker Dune Fields, and Honeycomb Buttes. Auto tour with car camping and light day hikes.

May 30-31 - Adobe Town.
A two-day tour of Adobe Town, the crown jewel of Wyoming's desert wilderness. Car camping and light to moderate day hikes along the lofty Skull Creek Rim and among the pinnacles of the Adobe Town Rim, with a likelihood to spot wild horses and other wildlife.

June 6-7 - Powder Rim Tour.
A two-day tour of the Powder Rim, home to ancient juniper woodlands, a desert elk herd, and haunt of outlaws from the Powder Wash Gang. Enjoy bird watching for unique juniper obligate songbirds and wild horse viewing with light day hikes and car camping.

June 27-28 - Wild Cow Creek Backpack.
A moderately strenuous two-day over nighter through rugged country representing the last remaining wilderness along the Atlantic Rim.

June 13 - Adobe Town Day Trip.
Enjoy short day hikes among the spectacular geologic formations of Adobe Town.

June 20-21 - Ferris Mountains and Dunes.
An auto tour with day hikes among the Ferris Dunes, with forays to Whiskey Gap and the forested flanks of the Ferris Mountains, a BLM Wilderness Study Area.

The tours are free to the public but space is limited. Interested persons should contact Carmi McLean at (307) 742-7978 or to make reservations.

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