Factory Butte, Utah - Protecting The Winkler and Wright Fishhook Cacti

by Bob Therrien - Date: 2006-12-17 - Word Count: 392 Share This!

Factory Butte Recreational Area, Utah is near Capital Reef National Park in Wayne County, Utah and seen off of highway 24. Currently there is much discussion on how to protect its unique badlands. Much of the discussion is on how to control erosion from ORV's (off road vehicles). The concern is damage to the crust of the Mancos shale. The BLM announced fall of 2006 that it was limiting some motorized travel to designated routes while keeping a popular off-highway recreational area open to cross-country travel.

The area offers opportunity for hiking, canyoneering, camping, cycling in addition to the ATV's and 4WD vehicles. The lands are administered by the BLM. The BLM has noted the rare species of fishhook cactus growing in the San Rafael Swell in the north to east of the Waterpocket Fold in the south. Unique formations include Mancos Shale, Morrison, Dakota, Carmel, Entrada, Moenkopi and Curtis.

The Richfield, Utah Bureau of Land Management announced in Sept, 2006 that some limiting of the area was now in place to protect two endangered species of cacti from recreational impacts. The BLM also announced that there were still lots of fun area, from challenging terrain to easy-riding scenic loops to the 2,600-acre "open play area" at Swing Arm City. OHV riders will be able to access points throughout the 148,500-acre Factory Butte area on the extensive network of designated routes that run from the Emery County line in the north to the Garfield County line to the south, and from Capitol Reef National Park on the west to Skyline Rim on the east. Other motorized opportunities exist at Factory Butte for everything from passenger car touring to single-track motorcycling.

Many locals and people from surrounding states who are avid off-roaders who worship Factory Butte's wide-open terrain are angry about the new rules. It's easy to see why. These wide open badlands are well suited for dirt bikes, and ATV's. The out of this world landscape is one draw. It's one of the largest, most spectacular badlands on the Colorado plateau. There are miles and miles of rolling hills that the wind shaped the Mancos shale soil into a rider's paradise.

Utah is one of the last Western states still largely wide-open for travel on public lands. The BLM controls nearly half of Utah, and offers more than 70,000 miles of dirt roads, tracks and trails.

Related Tags: utah, factory butte, capitol reef national park, mancos shale, morrison, dakota, carmel, entrada, mo

Bob Therrien is a travel writer and has traveled all over North America. He currently operates the website at http://www.cedarcitytours.com

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