“To an untrained eye, it doesn’t look much different from the surrounding scenery. But this area within one of Utah’s national parks is so important to scientists that the National Park Service closed it off to the public in 1993.”
Really cool natural arena in Canyonlands covering 200 acres, with 62 acres of grassland guarded all around by an almost perfect circle of cliffs that has never been grazed by cattle. The reason this tiny area has remained bovine free and is off significance to scientific research is that perfect Wormhole pictured above that cows can’t get through. The soil is unbroken by hoofs and heavily encrusted with crypto-biotic organisms, thriving with native plants.
Researchers deliberately walk past the turnoff in the trail to fake out anyone who might try to follow the tracks. Then, they doubled back walking on dead vegetation and rocks to avoid footprints. At some trail junctions, they literally cover their tracks by brushing sand over them to wipe them out. Sneaky.
The shroud of secrecy will continue indefinitely, protecting this very small piece of one of nature’s vast masterworks. Amazing.