Thursday, March 15, 2018

Cleghorn Lakes Wilderness (Part 2)

In my last post, I shared some of the stunning rock formations in the Cleghorn Lakes Wilderness. One of the highlights in this area is this rocky arch, which I named "Gayle's Arch" since my wife was the first to spot it!

"Window Rock" is another highlight...

...As are the numerous rocky alcoves and caves.

And the views from inside looking out!

The area also offers some expansive desert views. If memory serves, this is looking north, roughly in the direction of the town of Amboy on old Route 66 and the Amboy Crater.

But all is not well in this wilderness area. I've done a little research on "wilderness areas". They are often described as "pristine", seldom visited, remote, having limited access (no roads and sometimes no trails to follow) and rugged. The mantra of wilderness areas is the "leave no trace" principle. However, this area of the Cleghorn Lakes Wilderness is far from pristine. Leave no trace seems to have fallen apart. Or perhaps the wilderness designation came too late, after significant damage was done.
The biggest problem seems to be recreational shooting and target practice. I'm pretty sure you are not allowed to do this in wilderness areas. Unfortunately, the knuckleheads that are out here shooting are leaving their "trace" everywhere!

Shotgun shells, debris and glass litter the ground.




This one is by far the most disturbing to me. People have placed targets up in these rocks. All the small pockmarks and white areas are where bullets and shotgun pellets have knocked the natural patina off these once beautiful rocks. This will likely never heal. These rocks are scarred for life.

I guess the good news is the shooting range activity is away from the most beautiful of the rock formations. I would still recommend a visit to this location. It's unique and beautiful, which makes it all the more disturbing to see areas of destructive human behavior. 

As we finish our visit to the Cleghorn Lakes Wilderness, it's time to pack up the Jeep and head home. During the drive, my mind is churning, trying to come up with solutions. Perhaps BLM has it right... just close off all vehicle access. If the only access is a long hike in, you won't be carrying targets and shotguns! Where BLM has missed the mark is with education, signage and enforcement. I'm guessing many people are not even aware they are in a designated wilderness area. There are no signs to let you know, no signs that the road is closed, and nobody enforcing the rules. 

My little desert explorer granddaughter was sound asleep with her kitty stuffed animal in the back of the Jeep as we pulled into our driveway! I wonder what she's dreaming about?

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52 comments:

  1. The target shooting is infuriating - bullet holes and cartridges. Beautiful shots tho!

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  2. So sad and even shocking to see once 'pristine' desert rocks pocked marked and scarred...
    I do love your photos though of this wonderful terrain and rocky monuments and especially your precious granddaughter who couldn't hold her eyes open a minute longer! Priceless!

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  3. The desert has beauty about it that word just cannot describe. Think your grandaugher was tired out from the driving around.

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  4. Desert debris. I used to get greatly irritated by it. Now, I try to look at it as some sort of perverse art. It helps lower my blood pressure. :)

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  5. It's a beautiful area. But we see the same thing with the idiots shooting in our wilderness areas, even the no-shooting signs are riddled with bullet holes.

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  6. Well--- your pictures were worthy of big smiles! ...even if the junk left behind by idiots isn't.

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  7. Such spectacular photos with that brilliant blue sky in the background. I think you are making some great memories with your granddaughter.

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  8. Outstanding natural photography and photojournalism! Glad that you haven't stumbled upon those idiots while they were in the act....

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  9. Oh the just casual carelessness of what you post disturbs me. Why can't they at least pick up after themselves with the shotgun shells and targets and such. Our little wilderness area (which is not really a wilderness) suffers from that. People have a picnic and just leave everything and then tell me, "Oh they have people who pick it up for us." And it is like, yes, they are called volunteers.

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  10. What gorgeous landscapes! While I deplore the litter left by “shooters” perhaps it’s better they channel their shooting fever out here in the wilderness rather than some school!

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  11. You wore her out with all that hiking. The area is so beautiful but it is a shame to see the garbage left by some careless person.

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  12. I love all the different shapes that the rocks are, they are all so unique. The archway is like an opening into a different world.

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  13. Such beautiful rock formation.
    Where BLM has missed the mark is with education, signage and enforcement. I am quoting you here and didn't we all learn about Picking up and packing out? You are right about maybe some signage until we all learn to do the right thing automatically.
    MB

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  14. wonderful place. Truly Awesome pics.
    Greetings

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  15. Spectacular photos of a wonderful place!

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  16. Fabulous shots. Love that window rock shot.

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  17. Wow! I love those rock formations, speceially the window rock. What a great place to visit!

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  18. Hello, I love the arches and rock formations. Beautiful views of the desert. It is a shame the place is used for target practice. Your granddaughter must have had a great hike. Awesome photos. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

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  19. It is horrible to see how things like these natural monuments with eternal value are treated. As if we are not genuinely affecting our one and only earth enough with a 'normal' way of life ...
    But your photos are beautiful as always.

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  20. ahhhhhh, there are butt heads everywhere.

    Okay, change page. Love your photos. Love that last formation leaning toward your trusty steed.

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  21. Magnificent desert photos! ~ Great sky ~ little grand daughter 'steals the show.'

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  22. Besides being ignorant by putting targets on the rocks, they are incredibly stupid. Bullets ricochet. I hate to use the same adjective, but the scenery is stunning.

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  23. Unfortunately, you can shoot on most "public" land that isn't included in a park, monument, or other restricted area. I hate these morons who just don't give a darn about anything but themselves. I wish they'd use each other for target practice. Pete, I've even seen places where petroglyphs and pictographs have been used for target practice!

    You photos are fantastic! What a beautiful place that is. In the next to last photo (the one with your jeep in it) that formation looks like a huge long faced, long haired guy on his haunches, resting with one arm and hand stretched down to the ground. Maybe a Viking Football player. Or maybe it's just my overactive imagination. If time (and my knee) allows, I just might see this place next week. I thank you for that!

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    1. ....it would be odd that shooting would be allowed in a wilderness area. People are pretty darn brazen.

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  24. Too bad for the moron invasion in to a pristine beautiful area. They're everywhere unfortunately.

    Love the photos, stunning to see all their beauty. Love your granddaughter sleeping in the jeep. She's quite the explorer. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  25. What a fortunate granddaughter, to be exposed to all this beauty and to be taught young about honoring it. I hate to say it, but the jerks are everywhere. Some people just would never respond to education or anything that assumes they have a conscience.

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  26. Again fantastic photographs of rock formations that are stunning. It is such a shame that ignorant people can violate such a pristine area. Can they not see the beauty of the place and that their actions are causing irreparable damage? They are the ones the rules should be for. Those like your self take nothing away from a place you go to other than photographs.

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  27. Beautiful area and your photos are amazing! It's too bad people have to be so destructive.

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  28. Great oics. Too bad about the "litter".

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  29. As with Part I, these pictures are terrific.

    Here in Montana, we also see the refuse from shooting practice, but it does tend to be in concentrated locations and not in areas as beautiful as Cleghorn. Vehicle access is a significant contributing factor to whether a wilderness area remains so. Of course, the ATV'rs and snowmobilers never think they have enough land ...

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  30. Wow, it's a beautiful area with the fantastic rock formations and expansive desert views. It really is a shame that people want to deface everything and ruin it for others. I think signage, enforcement, public awareness campaigns and closing off drive in traffic would definitely help.

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  31. I enjoyed the warm colors of the photos. They are just so unlike here. Grandiose photos! Thank you

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  32. ...such a gorgeous, stark area with a beautiful sky. What a cutie to share the day with!

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  33. Spare Parts, clever shot of “Window Rock”. Inconsiderate littering. Thank for sharing.

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  34. Wow, the sky in the first photo is beyond gorgeous! We have a lot of idiots wrecking what used to be pristine nature up here, too. I think the only answer is to close wilderness areas to vehicle traffic. That's a darling photo of your little granddaughter!

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  35. Marvellous pictures of extraordinary rock formations! But I’m sorry to learn that people do not respect the nature and damage these beautiful rocks for shooting practice!

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  36. I hate guns and every day it is getting harder and harder not to hate anyone who enjoys shooting them. There is no excuse for what you show there.

    But even that behavior can't detract from the natural beauty.... just fantastic views, incredible skies.... There's really something so amazing about looking through a natural arch -- magical..... Maybe that is what your little sleepy-head is dreaming about!!

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  37. Sad. I can only imagine Pat Tillett finding a petroglyph that had been shot at on one of his excursions. Or some other horror. I hope you didn't find that!

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    1. Exactly what I was thinking as I was exploring this area, Sharon! I was communicating with Pat last week about this spot, and he said he may check it out sometime this week. If there's anyone who can find petroglyphs in this area, it's Pat!! Thx for your comment.

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    2. I thank you both for your confidence in me! Unfortunately, we got such a late start leaving Needles and didn't have time to stop. In fact, we even went home via a different route that was quite a bit faster.

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  38. I'm very impressed by these rocks ! wonderful landscapes !

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  39. lol, the "window rock" is a bear scratching it´s throat :)

    Great place except for the litter. Why can´t people bring home what they used?

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  40. As always, I have really enjoyed joining you on your trek into the desert. I'm starved of the bright light and colours that you capture in your photos. Litter louts are a problem everywhere and they infuriate me. I don't understand why those people who cart stuff into an area of beauty don't then cart it back out. In the woods around me I find discarded bottles and food wrappers. We sometimes take a bag and tidy other people's rubbish up, but it's very annoying.
    You've got a great companion in your granddaughter. That's a lovely photo of her to treasure..

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  41. Thank you for capturing and sharing these beautiful rocks and arches with the snow covered easterners. Brightens my day.

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  42. Different shapes of rocks look so interesting. The Little Explorer probably dreamed about new challenges...

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  43. Actually the roads may be legal. Oftentimes the wilderness boundary is set back from the roads (commonly called "cherry stem roads by the agencies).

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