BLM Commemorates National Trails Day with Public Auto Tour of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail

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BLM Press Release

Price, UT—

To commemorate National Trails Day, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Price Field Office will lead a public auto tour of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail through Utah’s San Rafael Swell on Saturday, June 2, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The BLM invites members of the public to take a guided auto tour and follow in the footsteps of the westward bound pioneers of 1846. Come spend the day safely enjoying an engaging experience along the longest waterless stretch of any National Historic Trail in the country.

Experienced BLM guides and knowledgeable historians from the Old Spanish Trail Association will lead participants across the vast desert, bringing history to life. The first stop will be the Museum of the San Rafael in Castle Dale, Utah, and then continuing on to experience primitive roads, isolated springs, imposing mountains, arid desert, and retreating mirages. Numerous stops will allow participants to leave their vehicle and stand on the Old Spanish Historic Trail blazed in 1846.

In the summer of 1846, pioneer emigrants were in route to California. They were convinced by Lansford Hastings to take a cut-off route across Utah’s West Desert in an effort to shave 400 miles off the regular emigrant route. Little did they know that this route required cutting a trail through the Wasatch Mountains and embarking on a treacherous 90-mile waterless crossing of the Great Salt Lake Desert. Extreme hardship, monumental exertion, and calamity ensued. Draft animals collapsed and died, wagons abandoned, and desperate emigrants stranded in the desert north of the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Sign up is limited to the first 15 cars; a well-maintained and provisioned four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended. The tour will meet at the Museum of the San Rafael in Castle Dale, Utah at 9:15 am and leave at 10 a.m. For more details and to sign up for the tour, contact Ben Kraja at the BLM Price Field Office no later than May 30; phone: (435) 636-3642 or email: akraja@blm.gov.

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