Not all proposed wilderness areas are always pristine. Some have waning vestiges of an early day. In Dinosaur National Monument, for instance, there long have been some falling down structures in an area along the Green River that has been recommended for wilderness designation. It took a while, but crews from the monument were able to remove all the facilities from the setting.
According to Dinosaur officials, the structures were located in the Jones Hole area of the monument, about 4 miles from the nearest road but only about a quarter-mile from the Green River. The condition of the 1960s structures had declined over the years, and the monument’s management team determined that the appropriate course of action would be to demolish the structures to re-establish the wilderness character of the area rather than to make extensive and expensive repairs to the structures.
Using only hand tools, staff demolished the buildings and cut all the pieces into short lengths. The pieces were then floated by raft on the Green River to a pick-up point outside the Recommended Wilderness area. Fourteen monument staff from the Ranger, Maintenance, and Resource Management Divisions worked on the project during the course of last summer. Thirty-four trips, many using multiple rafts, were needed to remove the structures.
As recognition of their work, the staff received an Intermountain Region Wilderness Stewardship Award for removing the deteriorated structures from recommended wilderness. The award recognized that “the project stood out as a great example of 1) applying the minimum tool in the true sense and 2) teamwork and the interdisciplinary nature of the project… The project demonstrated Dinosaur National Monument staff’s vision of applying wilderness management practices in the recommended wilderness.”