Gold Butte Ride Report 2017

Feb 22, 2017 0 712 Views

Dunes and Trails ATV / UTV

Gold Butte 02-2017 ride report. By: Roger Walkemeyer

Ride Leader: Roger Walkemeyer Tail Gunner: Ron Foglia Mid Gunner: Rick Lund

19 rigs, 26 people including the video crew

Everyone started arriving and preparing their rigs between 8 and 8:30 am.

The area and the trails we are to be riding this day are new to most of the club members. There was to be

more than the usual number of photos taken.

This was a special ride that was being videotaped and photographed with interviews to be taken of members

of the group for the Nevada State OHV Commission, to promote the value of OHV registration, Nevada

outdoor off road recreation, and rider safety.

I did an interview about Dunes and Trails ATV Club, this ride location, and rider safety before the 8:45 am

safety briefing. I introduced the reporter, video, photography crew and Nevada OHV Commissioner Charlie


At 9 am we hit the trail. Directly out of the parking area to a wash and the fun began. We went about a mile

or so and made an equipment check. No-one had anything falling off. Life is good. On the road again. Then

back to the wash trails until our next stop.

For this loop. We broke the group in half (as parking was limited at the top) and put the rigs into 4 wheel drive

low range to climb up to the top of a mountain to get some 360 degree views of the mountain ranges from the

very top of a mountain. The trail used to go down the other side but got wiped out in a landslide. (The value of


We rode in washes for a few miles and that gave the suspensions some exercise. Then we came up the wash

wall to the top of a plateau. We picked up the pace a little and checked out some beautiful vistas overlooking

Lake Mead and the mountains surrounding it.

Then back down into the 4 wheel drive washes, trails and ridges. Some in low range. Excellent technical

riding, watching where each tire goes. Down in the bottom of one wash that had a stream running thru it we

stopped for a break and a lesson in tire plugging. One of the rigs got a hole punched into the side wall of a tire

and there was a big crowd of helpers to make the event memorable. The job is sure easier when there are

people to help. We went to the top of a ridge lookout point and took a short photo stop, and added air to a

low tire. Then back down into the wash.

The wash led to the highlight of the trip. Little Finland. Absolutely beautiful red sandstone mountain

outcroppings that are weathered by wind sand and water to create some of the most unique shapes and

colorful vistas that exist nowhere else in the world. This site is very fragile and some of the features can be

broken easily. Your imagination should be left to run wild. Some of the features are named and some are the

idea behind some movie characters. Beware of the rhinoceros and the dragon and the crocodile. The king and

his court are watching.

Every time you come here the experience is different. A person can spend hours here getting “those special

Pictures and memories” where the angle and light is perfect. We spent an hour or so here for lunch and


Then we were off to the ridges and washes to the next stop to check out some petroglyphs and take the

group photo.

Then off to Devils Throat. Which is a huge sink hole in the middle of nowhere that we are grateful that

someone put a fence around. We would not want to find it the hard way. 80’ to 100’ down. Ouch!

Off again, this time on trails to the Gold Butte road then back toward the staging area. But there is still one

more stop.

A seldom visited site that if you didn’t know about it you would drive right by.

The site is the dam that was constructed on the site of an ancient spring by the WPA during the early part of

the 19 th century to store larger quantities of water than was previously saved by the tiny spring. This was a

valued resource to the ranchers and travelers in this area and was maintained by the ranchers and

government until the BLM “in it’s infinite wisdom” decided that the ranchers, hikers and others that used this

area for hundreds if not thousands of years (note the ancient petroglyphs and Anasazi ruins in the area)

should not be allowed to use the area. “Infinite Wisdom?”

Then back to camp. We got to camp about 3 pm. We set up the barbeque and table for hot dogs and

socializing. I grilled up 36 hot dogs, buns, condiments, and a few brats. Most of the group stayed for a while

and ate and visited.

An excellent ride and a fun day with a great group of people. Thanks for coming.


An editorial:

There were three areas that we were going to go to shortly after leaving the staging area that had to be left

out of the trip as the BLM has “in its infinite wisdom” decided to close the roads and trails and block access to

the sites.

* Two of the sites are full of petroglyphs but the road / trail to the parking area at the base of the glyphs has

been blocked with posts and cables. Preventing access to these sites to anyone with a disability or anyone

unable to walk a half a mile on the old unmaintained road bed. (Yes the road is still there, it’s just that no-one

can use it!)

* The other area blocked off with posts and cables is the “Poppy” flower fields. A few miles of OHV trails that,

in the spring after a little rain is absolutely beautiful. Desert flowers cover the entire valley. Until the area was

blocked off and we were denied access we could ride the trails and take some breath taking pictures, from the

road / trail and never disturb anything other than the click the camera made. P.S. The road / trail is visible

going off into the valley and guess what, there is not one single flower in the road. The closed signs, cables and

posts are the eyesore. PS “Study”? What? When it rains flowers grow in the meadows. DUH! Study done!

* The other note is the pathetic disgrace of the worn out, washed out, chuck hole infested, un-maintained,

un-repaired, sorry excuse of a road. The ROAD has been allowed to deteriorate to this abysmal state over

more than 20 years.

This embarrassment and affront to users of the area can only be explained by one obvious fact. It prevents

most of the public from coming to the area. How many people are willing to risk their $20,000 to $300,000

trucks, campers, and motorhomes over 28 miles of 4” to 6” deep chuck holes going all across the “road” to the

point you cannot miss them. How many are willing to drive 28 miles at 5 to 10 miles an hour to avoid

damaging the suspension tires and wheels on their vehicles? There are some beautiful campsites in the area

that are totally unused.

I have a 22 year old nephew that was 2 years old when we first documented the deterioration and total lack

of effective maintenance to this “road”.

Why doesn’t the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) just get honest and change its name to the BLC (Bureau

of Land Closure). The only evidence WE see of the BLM is the next “closed trail” sign, or “study area” closed

sign. What the “heck” are they studying? Why the “heck” do they need to close trails that are thousands of

years old to “study” them. I have a novel idea. Have some of the “studying persons” walk on the trails, or ride

a horse, of maybe drive an OHV on them. Then get out of the way so the rest of us “the public” can see the

beauty that is being reserved for the exclusive use of a “SELECT FEW” “STUDY PERSONS”.

As shown by the petroglyphs, these roads and trails have been in use for the past several thousand years.

It seems to us mere members of the public. That the BLM has obviously, quite successfully fulfilled its

(unwritten) goal of removing the public’s access to these PUBLIC LANDS. This needs to change!


Roger Walkemeyer

2012 Polaris XP4 900 - Pro Armor Doors, and Hardness's, Tribal Whip.

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