Plate 347X. Burr Top 1948 - 1954 - 2003 The Burr Top Photo Plot Transect (a.k.a. Roger Peak II) on the Aquarius Plateau was established in 1943 and reread in 1948, 1954, and 1979. The transect contains eight plots and is 1460 feet in length. The transect was situated to sample a “small parklike area surrounded by a dense stand of Engelmann spruce and [sub]alpine fir.” The area was heavily grazed by domestic sheep and range conditions were described as poor when the transect was established. After remeasuring the transect in 1954, I.H. Johnson noted that the vegetation trend was “downward…[and] with evidence of active soil erosion on each of the eight plots, the only logical conclusion that can be made is that [the] soil trend is downward [as well].” Sheep use was subsequently eliminated and in 1979 Dr. Jim Bowns, range ecologist at Southern Utah University, found that “plant cover and species diversity have increased considerably since the transect was established. It is apparent that this range has improved, especially since 1954. The trend has definitely been up and the present condition is good. This site is near its productive potential.” Dr. Bowns noted, however, that conifers had invaded much of the original meadow, and if left unchecked, would dramatically alter the site (unpublished narrative reports in the range files on the Escalante Ranger District, Dixie National Forest, Escalante, UT). Plate 347x is viewed northeast from the end of the Photo Plot Transect back towards its starting point - - see Plate 346x. Spruce has increased markedly, while aspen has declined. Note the stock trail in the 1948 and 1953 images. Today an ATV trail has been established just off the photo to the left (north). As conifers have increased, forage production has declined (Kay 2003). The remaining meadow was heavily used by elk in 2003, a species absent in 1943. A few cattle had also grazed the meadow in 2003.
U.S. Forest Service photographs (unnumbered) taken by Walter P. Cottam on August 3, 1948; and I.H. Johnson on August 23, 1954; retake by Charles E. Kay on August 26, 2003 - - Photo No. 5257-18. Original photographs, negatives, and narrative reports in the range files on the Escalante Ranger District, Dixie National Forest, Escalante, UT.
Conifer, Aspen, Dry Meadow
South West: Section 17, Range 3 East, Township 32 South; UTM of transect starting point 447100 E, 4208300 N; elevation 10,240 ft.