2022 Community Artist in the Park
Sam Metzner is an artist and photographer currently based in Moab, UT. She specializes in historic and alternative photographic printing processes, most notably cyanotypes. She is consistently inspired by the process of creating hand-made photographs and revels in the fact that no two will ever be exactly the same. Her current work revolves around the playful yet timeless exploration of landscapes and iconic scenery in Moab.
Sam received her Bachelor of Arts in Photography from Guilford College in 2015. She moved to Moab from North Carolina originally to work in wilderness therapy but stayed because of the wonderful community and magical desert landscapes.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be selected as the 2022 Community Artist in the Park! It really is such a huge honor and I’m looking forward to following in the footsteps of the amazing artists before me, while also bringing my own process of hand-made photographs into the mix. I’m very much looking forward to exploring my medium of cyanotypes within this program and sharing that with the public.”
Created in 2009, the CAIP program highlights the connections between local artists and the surrounding landscapes, particularly Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Hovenweep and Natural Bridges national monuments. Participating artists must reside in Grand, San Juan, or Montezuma counties.
Sam will begin her tenure in April. Check the Community Artist web page later this month for which parks she will be in and when.
The BLM Announces Avoidance Areas to Protect Raptors in the Indian Creek Special Recreation Management Area
Each spring raptors return to the Indian Creek area for nesting. Eagles, falcons, hawks, and other migratory birds use shallow depressions on ledges, cliffs, and rock walls to build nests, often returning to the same site year after year to raise their young.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requests that visitors and recreationists avoid these areas during critical nesting periods which typically start in early March and last through late August. Avoiding recreational activity in the vicinity of the nest sites and maintaining a safe viewing distance will help ensure the survival of young birds.
Beginning March 1, the BLM is asking the public to avoid activities in areas they have identified as having high potential or are historically known to have raptor nesting activity.
Areas that have potential nesting activity are referred to in many climbing guidebooks as The Wall, Far Side, The Meat Walls, Cliffs of Insanity, Public Service Wall, Disappointment Cliffs, Fin Wall, Broken Tooth, Cat Wall, Slug Wall, and Reservoir Wall.
This list serves only as a guide and does not indicate every avoidance area or encompass all known names of the affected climbing areas. The BLM is coordinating these raptor protection efforts with the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), who is the administrator of the climbing areas known as Disappointment Cliffs and portions of the Second Meat Wall climbing area.
In March, BLM biologists will begin the annual surveys of raptor activity to verify which historic nest sites are used. Typically, by late April or early May, biologists can identify the nesting areas the raptors have selected. At that time, the areas without active nests will be cleared for recreational use.
The BLM requests that climbers, campers, and hikers completely avoid areas with active nests until the young birds have fledged, which is usually by late summer.
Biologists will monitor nesting activity throughout the season and keep the recreation community informed of potential changes. Avoidance area notices and maps will be posted throughout the Indian Creek Corridor during the recreation season.
The BLM thanks the climbing community for their continued cooperation.
BLM Offering Reward for Information on Big Bend Boulders Suspected Vandalism
MOAB, Utah — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to the identification and conviction of those responsible for greasing the handholds at the Big Bend Bouldering Area, managed by the Moab Field Office. On Feb. 14, the BLM was notified that petroleum-based grease was smeared on the climbing handholds at the popular recreation area north of Moab along the Colorado River in Grand County.
“It is up to each of us to help keep public lands safe and clean for future generations,” said BLM Moab Field Manager Nicollee Gaddis-Wyatt. “Our employees are out on public lands every day, cleaning bathrooms, maintaining trails, and engaging with the visitors. Even so, we don’t see everything. When incidents occur, we appreciate the public’s help in reporting information to the BLM’s law enforcement team.”
Anyone with information about this investigation or other incidents on BLM-managed public lands is asked to call the tip line at 435-259-2131. Callers may remain anonymous.
The Big Bend Bouldering Area is located upstream of the Big Bend Campground along the Colorado River and State Route 128, about 10 miles from Moab. The bouldering area has been popular with climbers for more than 20 years, who benefit from its easy access, density of boulders with problems of varying difficulties, and relatively flat landings. In addition to climbing and bouldering opportunities, visitors to this area can also enjoy camping, hiking, rafting, scenic driving, wildlife viewing, and other recreation opportunities.
Winter Recreation in the La Sal Mountains
Despite the dry spell this winter, there are still many options for enjoying snow sports in the La Sal Mountains. From the popular Geyser Pass Winter Trailhead, forest visitors can ski, snowshoe, and mountain bike into the beautiful high-mountain terrain.
Snow machines may also use the trails, though wheeled vehicles are prohibited. Near the trailhead, winter visitors can practice avalanche safety by conducting rescue drills in the “beacon basin.”
Further up, an outfitter, authorized by National Forest permit, operates a pair of yurts that can be reserved for overnight stays.
In 2021, the Pack Creek Fire burned through several of the forest stands near Geyser Pass, creating unexpected opportunities for winter recreationists. The fire consumed underbrush and downed logs, opening the forest to skiers and snowshoers.
Drought and Avalanche Conditions
Does an extended period of drought affect avalanche conditions? According to the Utah Avalanche Center’s Moab Area Avalanche Forecaster, Eric Trenbreath, the answer is yes!
More specifically, Trenbreath states, “During time of drought and extended dry periods, snow on the ground gets very weak and sugary when it’s cold and dry. This creates a future weak layer or base for any new snow to land on.
Depending on how much new snow falls and how much wind, this can translate into dangerous avalanche conditions.” At the end of February, with snow in the forecast, these were the condition on the ground for the Manti-La Sal National Forest
According to Trenbreath, “There has been some significant natural avalanche activity this year with two major cycles. The first cycle was on December 10, 2021, when the La Sal Mountains received 20 inches of heavy, dense snow containing 2 inches of water.
This snow fell on top of the October snow that, due to dry and clear conditions, had become loose, weak, and sugary – a condition avalanche forecasters call faceted. Widespread natural avalanches occurred as a result.
The second cycle occurred on December 31, 2021, when another 20 inches of dense snow with almost 2.5 inches of water equivalent fell. This produced very large natural avalanches up to 3000 feet wide and seven feet deep on nearly every steep, north-facing slope in the range.
Snowpack average at that point was 45% of normal so the amount of snowpack was looking good. Since December, the Forest moved into an extended dry period and currently the forest is at 75% of typical snowpack.” Trenbreath worries that the recent snowfall combined with the weak, sugary, faceted snow lying around from the long dry period will likely cause dangerous conditions.
The Utah Avalanche Center urges recreationists to monitor conditions daily. Know Before You Go! So you can stay out of harm’s way! “The one certainty for anyone in the path of an avalanche is this: standing still is not an option: (Norman Davies)
Avalanches pose a significant hazard in Utah’s mountains between the months of January and April, seasons of heavy snow accumulation and unstable snowpack conditions. Weather, terrain, topography, and snow conditions also affect avalanche activity.
- Follow this link for more information.
- Click here for current snow conditions in the La Sal Mountains.
Timed Entry at Arches Begins April 3
Arches has some big news! From April 3 to October 3, 2022 Arches will implement a temporary, pilot timed entry system to help manage traffic and improve visitor experiences.
Learn more on obtaining your timed-entry ticket at Arches National Park by following this link.