Question about Moab (Sand Flats?)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    New question here. Question about Moab (Sand Flats?)

    Hey everybody,

    I used to be a regular rafting guide in UT and Western CO (San Juan, Westwater Canyon, etc). A couple of times, we would camp at Sand Flats in Moab and enjoy the best 3.2 beer in the country on the sandstone fins.

    Well, I remember driving up the hill to the sand flats rec area. You would pass a bunch of frat boy campgrounds before you came to this little slot in the wall that was about 20 yds long and about 10 feet wide. There was also a considerable 4x4 move to get a vehicle through there, but my buddy's Vanagon made it through with little trouble.

    Beyond that slot, there would be a ton less campers, and you could actually enjoy the peace and quiet of the high desert.

    Now, 3 years ago, my wife and I returned after an absence of about 10 years. That little natural slot canyon that filtered all the frats from getting back into the good campgrounds had been widened and paved.

    When did that happen? Does anybody have any before and after pics?

    Brian

  2. #2
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    About Five Years Ago

    That's what happens when you put a freaking toolbooth in. Money becomes available, and there seems to be a reason to spend it.

    After what NPS did to Arches, I am opposed BLM, NFS, NPS or any other agency related to land use getting any more than the minimum amount for crowd control.

    Actually, Sand Flats is administered by Grand County. They have become very Gestapo-like lately. Did you know it is now illegal to stray more than ten feet from the dashes on the Slickrock trail? They busted a guide a few weeks ago for showing a client an alternate line. The line was totally on slickrock. I'm not kidding.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch
    Hey everybody,

    I used to be a regular rafting guide in UT and Western CO (San Juan, Westwater Canyon, etc). A couple of times, we would camp at Sand Flats in Moab and enjoy the best 3.2 beer in the country on the sandstone fins.

    Well, I remember driving up the hill to the sand flats rec area. You would pass a bunch of frat boy campgrounds before you came to this little slot in the wall that was about 20 yds long and about 10 feet wide. There was also a considerable 4x4 move to get a vehicle through there, but my buddy's Vanagon made it through with little trouble.

    Beyond that slot, there would be a ton less campers, and you could actually enjoy the peace and quiet of the high desert.

    Now, 3 years ago, my wife and I returned after an absence of about 10 years. That little natural slot canyon that filtered all the frats from getting back into the good campgrounds had been widened and paved.

    When did that happen? Does anybody have any before and after pics?

    Brian

  3. #3
    Dr. Pepper drinker
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    my $.02

    It's unfortunate that so many changes had to be made on Sand Flats but I think it was almost a necessity. That one piece of land became the biggest mountain biking/ATV/4x4 tourist trap on the face of the earth and the influx of visitors was really taking its toll on the fragile ecosystem in the area. It was great back when you could just drive back there and set up camp wherever, but with the growing crowds, things were getting out of control. Basically, every inch of the area was open to camping and all it takes is one day of camping to ruin an ecosystem that takes hundreds of years to recover. Although the 'camping in established sites only' thing takes a little out of the experience, it's hopefully saving or allowing recovery time for an area of land that was getting WAY overused. As far as the tollbooth goes, I've got no problem with it, they could charge $20 a day and I really don't think it would deter many of the visitors. If we want the area to be somewhat maintained there has to be some cost, I'm pretty sure it's not a moneymaking scheme. If nothing else, it may keep some of the less responsible users back in town at the Super 8.

    Not really sure what brought about the paving of that section between the fins but I know that it was getting washed out pretty frequently. Probably led to big problems with erosion and I'm sure there were plenty of requests from shuttle companies and visitors to make access to the Porc trailhead easier as well. Sadly, it was probably also a lawsuit waiting to happen for the land managers by some idiot who couldn't take responsiblity for wedging their Jeep between the two walls. All in all, I'd love to see things back the way they were but realistically, I think they've done the right things to try and balance an enjoyable experience with responsible use. I hadn't heard of the ticketing of the guide but that is pretty lame. I know they've had rules about following the lines forever but it's BS to just pick a random day to start enforcing them.

  4. #4
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    I agree with all the previous comments. I would just like to add that I usually ride Porcupine Rim as a loop beginning either in town or at the slickrock trailhead. I was pretty damn happy to start cruising out Sand Flats Road in soon to be 100 degree heat only to discover that the loose, gravely washboard bumps had been replaced by smooth, fast-rolling pavement all the way to the start of the singletrack! I try to avoid pavement, but, in this case it worked for me.

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