191 SM M Presentation by D7OzTt


									                                          PO Box 398 Rock Springs, WY 82902 307-362-3771
                                          rschamber@sweetwaterhsa.com www.rockspringschamber.com

     Mile Marker Guide to Flaming Gorge Route 191 to Utah
*Mile Markers (MM) are located on the posts on the right side of the road containing green
numbers; those numbers are the mile in which you are located on the road.

1. Exit 99-The Journey Begins- This is the beginning of your journey, as you cross the bridge
over the railroad tracks, you are crossing a major historic transportation corridor. During the time
of the settlers, the Overland Trail was a popular route towards the Wild West. In the 1860’s, the
Transcontinental Railroad was built though this area allowing travel from the east to west in a
matter of days rather than months. “The Big Boy,” the largest ever steam engine was built in the
1940’s and was used to transport supplies to the coast during World War II. In 1919, the U.S.
Army’s first Transcontinental Motor Convoy went along the Lincoln Highway, which can still be
seen near WY 191 South. President Dwight D. Eisenhower instituted the Federal-Aid Highway
Act of 1956, which allowed for the construction of 41,000 miles of highway system in the US,
part of which is I-80 (and additional areas along the Lincoln Highway). These highway systems
were designed to aid in military defense in the event of airport/military installations being
attacked; the highways are wide and long enough for planes to land safely.

2. MM-504-Can you hear me now?- To your right, you will see a peak with local
communication towers at the top; this is Wilkin’s Peak. These communication towers allow the
local radio stations to broadcast in Sweetwater County. Wilkin’s Peak can be accessed by Little
Firehole Road (gravel) which also takes you to the shooting and archery ranges.

3. MM-506-507-Home, Home on the Range- Notice the “OPEN RANGE” sign to your right
hand side, this area is considered to be open range, where domestic herds of cattle and sheep are
allowed to graze without being fenced in. This also means that local wild life is able to graze
without fences so please watch for domestic and wild life animals along roadsides. The idea of
Open Range dates back to the Transcontinental Railroad when the government wanted continuity
from one cost to the other, so they started the railroad. Along the way, the government ran out of
money, so, as an incentive the Fed’s gave investors every other section (each measuring 1 sq.
mile) for 20 miles north and 20 miles south of the railroad. This created problems for those on the
range trying to raise their livestock, thus no fences were erected and open range prevailed to this

day. (By the way, you are in what is called the “Checkerboard” where alternating sections of
private and public land are dispersed in a checkerboard pattern).

4. MM-511-Art Gallery of Time- This is the Little Firehole Overlook, please enjoy the
interpretive sign titled “Art Gallery of Time.” This area contains the head waters of the Colorado
River and has the initial carvings of the Grand Canyon System. These waters empty into the
Pacific Ocean through Mexico into the Gulf of California. This is also a great view of the former
Lake Gosiute, which covered parts of Southwest Wyoming, Northeast Utah and Northwest
Colorado 30-50 million years ago. Many fish fossils were formed as Lake Gosiute shrank and
eventually dried up. Many small fish fossils known as Knightia are found in this area.

5. MM-512.5-Air Traffic Control to Flight 512- On your left is another turnout; from here you
can see another peak with communication towers on the top. This is Aspen Mountain, and the
towers are an FAA Communication Repeater Station that allows communication for aircrafts
flying at 30,000 ft. with air traffic control. This area is known as the Rock Springs way station
and is one of the busiest repeater stations in the US.

6. MM-513-Canyons, and Spires, and Chimneys, Oh My!- This is the Big Firehole Turnout
(10 miles to the water, paved). It is recommended that you stay on blacktop unless equipped with
4-wheel drive & high clearance vehicle (DO NOT take County Road 475 it is steep and usually
impassible). Big Firehole Road is the northern most access to Flaming Gorge:
        -Big Firehole contains-Restrooms, fish cleaning stations, boat launch, picnic table,
campground, beach and interpretive signage for rock and lake information at the dock area.
        -Rocks in this area are generally sedimentary sandstone that has been shaped by wind and
water erosion. Chimney Rock, protruding from the surroundings, is a great example of the layers
of rock formed 30-50 million years ago. The tan colored rock is sandstone and the black is
volcanic ash from the Boar’s Tusk, Lusite Hills and Northwest Coastline volcanic action.
        -Keep your eyes open for Mule Deer, they love this area’s landscape for food and

7. MM-513-Where the Deer and the Antelope Play-This plateau area is great for viewing
antelope, desert elk, mule deer and often wild horses. Did you know that the antelope or
pronghorn is not related to any other species in the world and is the 2nd fastest land animal
(behind the cheetah). An antelope can run 60+ miles per hour, has eyesight that spans 360
degrees around them and is the equivalent of 8x magnification binoculars. There are also more
antelope in Wyoming then there are people!

8. MM-518-Please Excuse Our Flatulence (haha)- To your left is the William’s Gas natural gas
compression station. Wyoming is the #2 producer of natural gas in the US, behind Alaska. You
have probably noticed a strip of land along the side of the road that looks groomed (back and
forth) throughout the drive; this is a natural gas pipeline that runs from the gas fields in the north
to Clay Basin (you will be there shortly) and on into Utah. Natural gas is an odorless, colorless
gas that has the cleanest carbon emissions of all fossil fuels.

9. MM-520-On Your Marks, Get Set, GO!- At this location you will also see several angled
fences along the roadside. These are strategically placed bleachers for antelope races! Just
kidding, these are snow fences and are designed to minimize the amount of snow that drifts onto
the highway during the winter months. It is fairly common to have -40 degrees Fahrenheit and
70+ mph winds that make this road impassable for short amounts of time in the winter.

10. MM-522-Fire is your friend!- This area burned in 2000 and again in 2002, as you can see,
the right side of the highway has little sagebrush. The fires burned all natural vegetation and
grasses replaced the sparse sagebrush. This area is wonderful habitat and provides a nutritious
food source for many species of wildlife. YUM!

11. MM-525-Who’s got the Golden Ticket?- Scenic Area-The interpretive sign explains the
area and the need for National Recreation Area passes to recreate and invasive species stickers if
you are launching a watercraft in and around the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
designated by Congress and enforce by the US Forest Service. National Park Passes are accepted
in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area including the Golden Eagle Pass and the Golden
Age Pass which are available at federal forest service offices.

12. MM-527-Descent into the Maxon Ranch- The ridge (from the turnout) to the left is called
Little Mountain and served as a source of wood for several historical ranch/homestead lands in
this fertile valley including the Maxon Ranch, Current Creek, Logan, Brenigers and Springs
Creek Ranches. Little Mountain is also classified as a premier intact wildlife habitat area in
Southwest Wyoming and serves as a much needed winter range habitat for wildlife which helps
them survive in the harsh Wyoming environment.

13. MM-531-Checkmate!- You are now traveling outside of the Checkerboard Area!

14. MM532.5-Moo!- This is the Maxon Ranch, established in the 1860’s; it remains an operating
cattle ranch today.

15. MM-535-537-Birds of Prey- This is the Clay Basin to your left (several turnouts available).
From these turnouts you can see approximately 60 miles into Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. This
area has the highest concentration of Raptors (Hawks, Falcons, Eagles, and Vultures) in the lower
48 states. It is also one of the best places to view raptors (see Birds of Flaming Gorge Country
brochure) due to the ability for the birds to nest high and spot prey easily in the valley below. Use
your binoculars and watch as the raptors ride the thermals close to the edges of the cliffs.

        -MM-538-Hunting & Gathering- To your right you can see Little Mountain, to the left
are Meller Mountain and Pine Mountain. Little Mountain contains an abundance of Native
American artifacts left mostly by the Shoshone & Arapahoe tribes of the area. Of the artifacts,
there are teepee rings, fire pits and often times arrowheads. This was a prosperous place for
Native Americans to hunt and gather food for their travels. Please leave all artifacts where they
are found, it is illegal to remove these items.
        -On the sides of the roads you may notice several Aspen trees that look as though they
are dead. These trees are girdled, meaning that the elk have eaten, and rubbed their antlers on, the
bark, removing it from the trees.
16. MM-541-Don’t Strike a Match!- In the distance you will see a few small buildings-these
buildings are used to monitor the Natural gas that is stored in Clay Basin. At any given point
there is more than 4 billion cubic feet of gas stored in the porous rock beneath the hard cap rock.
People live at the Questar Clay Basin Compression Station year round. This compression station
is needed to move gas through underground pipelines to Salt Lake City (mostly). In order to keep
the gas moving down pipe, there must be 1 billion cubic feet of pressure going into the storage

17. MM-541.5-542-Powell’s Namesake- This is the first place along the way that you will be
able to see the water in Lake Flaming Gorge, which is in what is called Lucerne Valley (on the
West side of the lake). Behind the lake you should see a deep red rock running through a canyon,
this is the start of the Sheep Creek Canyon area. This red rocked area is what gave John Wesley
Powell (the first explorer to float the Green River all the way to the Gulf of California) the idea to
name this the Flaming Gorge. Above that you have a beautiful view of the Uinta Mountains of
Utah, one of two ranges in the United States that run east to west instead north to south. This east
to west direction eventually created the Gates of Ladore where the water eroded the mountains
away to create a deep and exciting canyon.

18. MM-544-Camper’s Hideaway- The road to your right leads to the back of Little Mountain
where there are several great spots for camping.

19. MM-547-Only Time Will Tell- This is a brake check turn out (designed to help diminish the
number of run-away vehicles due to the steep decline). From this area you can see the Uinta
Mountains and also Diamond Mountain to the immediate left (another place where there are
several Indian artifacts).
        -You will notice on the sides of the road that there are several squatty, short trees, these
are Cedar trees. The reason that they are so small is because of the wind and lack of water due to
the high desert environment. Lots of these trees are as old as 200 years. These trees were just
sprouting when Lewis & Clark began their expedition of the West.
        -You will also notice an abundance of Sagebrush (the short shrub), that is a vital source
of nesting for birds (particularly the Sage Grouse), food for large game and habitat for small
game. Sage Brush grows as individual plants because it emits a pheromone that prevents other
Sage Brush from growing too close due to the environmental hardships.

20. MM-549-Hey Dude!- As you get closer to the Wyoming/Utah State line; there is an increase
in private lands around you, including Spring Creek Ranch and Minnie’s Gap. Spring Creek
Ranch is a dude ranch that provides lodging and meals throughout the year. Minnie’s Gap in the
Goslin Mountains was once a national habitat for Big Horn Sheep and is known for petroglyphs,
prayer wheels and Indian remains.
        -To your left you will find the road to Brown’s Park and the John Jarvie Ranch (see BLM
brochure “Open a new door” and “John Jarvie Historic Property” brochure). This road is
Sweetwater County Road 70 and is both black top and gravel (well maintained) and leads 20
miles to Brown’s Park/Jarvie Ranch and eventually to the Gates of Ladore and what was once the
hideout for Butch Cassidy. John Jarvie settled in Brown’s park in 1880 and opened a general
store that flourished into a lucrative ranching and retail operation; in 1909 Jarvie was robbed and
murdered by transient workers from Rock Springs. The murderers, who were never captured,
disposed of Jarvie in a boat and let it float down the river where it was later found near the Gates
of Ladore. Brown’s Park was also a temporary home to outlaws such as Butch Cassidy, the
Sundance Kid of the Wild Bunch, Matt Warner, Isom Dar and Ann Bassett, Queen of the Rustlers
(See page 49 in “A High Desert Survival Guide, How to Survive the Adventures of Sweetwater
County, 55 Pages of the Ultimate Adventure in Wyoming’s High Desert Country).
21.Wild & Free- As you continue into Utah you will see the road for Mustang Ridge, a popular
camping area for locals and visitors alike. However, along the highway, you will notice several
areas where fire has taken place. All of these areas burned during the same fire, however, notice
that some areas were spared; this is considered to be a Mosaic Fire because of the “hit & miss”
characteristics due to the wind conditions during the fire. Some of these burnt areas are
considered sterile ground and will take years to regrow grasses and trees like the surrounding

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