September 24, 2022
There is a network of motorized trails within the Soldier Meadows Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) that provide visitors with access to their public lands and prevent resource damage. These motorized trails are low standard vehicle routes that are maintained infrequently. What you are looking at is considered “braiding” or widening, where motorists have created parallel routes to avoid seasonally flooded sections of the route. These additional routes can damage protected archaeological sites and sensitive plant habitat. Temporary vehicle barriers were installed in 2022 to prevent future expansion of disturbance and to protect sensitive resources within the Soldier Meadows ACEC. This photo station was established to measure the recovery of the unauthorized disturbance and once the vegetation has grown back into the vehicle ruts, the vehicle barriers will be removed.
About Soldier Meadows Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC)
In 1982, 307 acres were designated as the Soldier Meadows Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) to protect many sensitive resources within this area, including habitat for the Desert Dace (a federally protected fish species only found in the Soldier Meadows area), and archeological sites eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Soldier Meadows ACEC was expanded in 2004 to encompass 2,077 acres, which present day encompasses a complex of hot springs that are popular recreational sites for visitors.
Located in northwest Nevada is the vast Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area (NCA), established by Congress in 2000 and administered by the Bureau of Land Management. Not only does the NCA contain fascinating cultural, archaeological, and paleontological traces of the past, but it also offers a rugged brand of recreation activities for today’s adventurers. What these million-plus acres lack in developed amenities, they offer in unique and challenging backcountry and wilderness opportunities. Visitors are encouraged to respect the land and other visitors by practicing Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly principles.