Burnt Hollow and the Sevier Plateau, UT

These patterns on the landscape in the bottom of the frame are found near the boyhood cabin of Butch Cassidy near Circleville, Utah. These were created by an antiquated (but still practiced in Utah) activity called “chaining,” in which a heavy ships’ anchor chain is dragged between two bulldozers, uprooting and knocking over ancient Piñon/Juniper forests to open up the ground for seeding in exotic grasses, (usually Crested Wheatgrass, a Russian import) for the benefit of grazing livestock. The practice, while beneficial to ranchers and ungulate wildlife like Mule Deer and Elk, is devastating to surface archaeological sites in the path of the dozers and chain.The patterns form squares due to somewhat arbitrary political boundaries among land managers, in this case the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. The bottom center square is one square mile – 640 acres. Some areas in depressions and drainages are left “untreated” by chaining because they are too steep for the dozers to navigate.

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© Tim Peterson, all rights reserved worldwide

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