BLM offers Sand Wash Basin tours with Yampa Valley OHV

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— Saturday saw outdoors enthusiasts from across the Western Slope make the trip to learn about one of Moffat County’s most-loved destinations.

The Bureau of Land Management Snake River Field Office and the Yampa Valley OHV Trailriders teamed up to host the Spring Fever Fun Day at Sand Wash Basin. It included a ride around the area with a guided tour featuring interesting landmarks and some of the issues Sand Wash faces.

“It’s a way to introduce people to Sand Wash Basin,” said Gina Robison, outdoor recreation manager for the BLM. “We had tours available for (all-terrain vehicles), motorcyles and four-wheel-drive vehicles. The BLM guided the four-wheel-drive folks, and we talked about some of the history of this place. Yampa Valley OHV took the ATV and motorcycle groups on tours.”

It was a first-time collaboration between the two groups and a major success despite unfriendly weather, Robison said. Tour participants saw landmarks such as the bison trap, a spot in Sand Wash Basin that was used by Native Americans to bottleneck and trap bison, making them easier to kill.

They also saw plenty of what Sand Wash is best known for: wild horses.

“We saw a ton of horses. It was just amazing,” Robison said. “Even as a BLM employee, I’ve never seen so many.”

The horses are a hot-button issue in Sand Wash, as BLM is trying to encourage people to enjoy viewing them from afar while respecting the fact that they are wild animals, as well.

Most encouraging to Robison was the crowd that came to enjoy the day. The group included not only Moffat County residents who already know what Sand Wash has to offer, but groups from Routt, Rio Blanco and Mesa counties, as well. For example, Mesa County Commissioner John Justman and his wife made the trip to learn about Sand Wash Basin.

“I’m really pleased with how it went,” Robison said. “Barring the weather, we had about 40 people out here, and it turned out to be a great event.”

Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.

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