Plate 381X. Roger Peak 1943 - 1948 - 1953 - 2003 The Roger Peak Photo Plot Transect was established in 1943 and reread in 1948, 1953, 1974, and 1979. The transect is situated along the Hell’s Backbone Road on the southside of Boulder Mountain. By road, the transect is located three miles east of Pine Creek and three-tenths of a mile west of the old gravel pit turn-off. When the transect was established, the area was very heavily grazed by domestic sheep and erosion was common. “Bitterbrush and oakbrush are the [most] common shrubs [on] the transect. Both have been heavily browsed and about 20 percent of the [bitterbrush] and 10 percent of the oak is dead. There are a few patches of tall oakbrush…but the majority…[is] 2-3 feet tall and [is] kept browsed off. Grass is not plentiful on this transect.” Both soil and vegetation trends were described as downward in 1953. After remeasuring the transect in 1974, Dan Baird noted that “the most striking change has been the increase in size and numbers of ponderosa pine.” In 1979, Dr. Jim Bowns, range ecologist at Southern Utah University, reported that “the trend…is definitely up and the condition is good or perhaps even excellent…This is primarily a bitterbrush range, the plant exhibiting exceptional leader growth and therefore good vigor…cattle have [used] this area this year, but utilization has been very light” - - domestic sheep use was discontinued sometime in the 1960s (unpublished reports in the range files on the Escalante Ranger District, Dixie National Forest, Escalante, UT). Plate 381x is viewed southwest from the first plot (D-148) on the Photo Plot Transect. The person in the initial image is standing on the transect centerline. Note how open the range was in 1943 and how ponderosa pine and juniper have increased. If the area had not been logged and thinned during the 1980s, the site would now be a closed pine forest with very little understory. The foreground has been disturbed by logging activities, but the large boulders in the mid-ground are still in their original position. The tall oakbrush seen in the early images is now mostly dead, having been overtopped by ponderosa pine. The shrubs are mostly bitterbrush, which has increased except where is has been shaded-out by invading conifers. Grasses also appear to have increased. Livestock had not used this area in 2003 nor was there any old livestock sign. Deer and elk sign, however, was abundant and many bitterbrush plants were browsed.
U.S. Forest Service photographs (unnumbered) taken by Ray J. Davis on August 2, 1943; Walter P. Cottam on July 29, 1948; and I.H. Johnson on September 2, 1953; retake by Charles E. Kay on August 30, 2003 - - Photo No. 5274-7. Original photographs, negatives, and narrative reports held in the range files on the Escalante Ranger District, Dixie National Forest, Escalante, UT.
Mountain Brush, Oakbrush, Conifer, Juniper
South West: Section 1, Range 2 East, Township 33 South; UTM of transect starting point 445200 E, 4201300 N; elevation 8,860 ft.