The Desert Tortoise Council’s second Symposium Field Trip will be hosted by Cameron Rognan and Mike Schijf and will take place on Wednesday February 22nd at 2p.m.
They offer a scenic mid-afternoon to early evening hike through a narrow rocky canyon where the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve recently expanded. This area is a recreation hotspot and offers excellent hiking, mountain biking, and world-renowned bouldering opportunities. While mountain biking or bouldering could be advertised as an optional activity either before or after the field trip, this field trip is a 3-mile roundtrip loop hike through 2 different canyons.
Approximately halfway through the hike, participants will visit a scenic viewpoint to observe a distinctly different habitat type below the ridge. Tortoises are common in both the rocky canyons where the hike occurs and in the badland soils below the ridge (observable from the viewpoint). The badland soils have a thick biological crust and support the endangered dwarf-bear poppy.
While tortoises are generally not active in Utah in late February, participants will encounter various tortoise shelters, including the deep crevices they utilize. Some of the tortoise shelters are quite impressive with dozens to hundreds of scats at the mouths of their entrances.