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Moe's Valley Access Information

Submitted By: grk10vq on Mar 2, 2011


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help maintain access, a message from Todd Goss:

Each year more people in the climbing community discover the great winter bouldering of Moe’s Valley in St. George Utah. This area is fast becoming a premiere winter destination for an ever growing number of road trippers, weekenders, and climbers interested in trading deep snow drifts for warm desert stone. What most visitors (and admittedly many locals) do not know is that Moe’s Valley is owned by a state trust organization known as SITLA.

The State Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) was created when the Utah territory was granted statehood. SITLA was given millions of acres of federal land around the state and tasked with using those lands to generate revenue for the public school system. SITLA does this through oil and gas leasing, mineral and resource extraction or land sales for development.

Most locals in this part of the state just assume that if it doesn't have houses on it then it must be owned by the BLM. We made just that assumption when the potential of Moe’s valley was being re-discovered in early 2001. Upon the realization that the entire basin could become a housing development, we formed the Southern Utah Climbers Coalition (yes it spells SUCC) as a means of representing the interests of the local community, and opened a dialog with SITLA.

4 years, and many meetings later Moe’s valley and the Bloomington mesa will be annexed into the city of st. George and maintained as open space for the many forms of recreation that take place out there. With mountain biking on the Zen Trail, sport climbing on the Zen wall, myriad hiking trails as well as some of the best bouldering around, this formation offers outdoor enthusiasts a diverse and convenient venue for the pursuit of our various passions.

The process of approaching a landowner, developing a relationship, and explaining the value that an area or activity has to a community, and then working through solutions that are good for all of the interested parties has been extremely instructive and rewarding. SITLA actually hired a mediator to work through some of the issues and give an even handed point of view. This kind of process could very well be a template to other areas with similar issues.

I am not taking the time to write this just to pat ourselves on the back, but to explain how we have come to our present point, and to sound a note of concern.

As the popularity of Moe’s has increased, so has the number of people camping out at the parking area, driving up the wash to the Sentinel, or around the saddle to the TP boulders and upper basin. There is a fire pit at every major concentration of boulders, litter around the boulders, and tire tracks just about any where you could possibly drive a pickup, SUV or ATV. We are suggesting to the climbing/bouldering community that this is an unacceptable and unnecessary impact to an area that we have worked hard to protect. The hike from the end of the road to the furthest boulder can’t be more than 15 minutes. Of course when you have to bring in firewood that is a long way, so why not, like- not have a fire. The fire rings create the impression that camping at the base of the boulders is acceptable, it isn't. It is worth remembering that these kinds of behaviors were undoubtedly among some of the reasons for the closing of Hueco tanks, and the Black Velvet camping in Red Rocks. It makes our community look bad in the eyes of the landowners, land managers and other users of the area.

We are beginning the process of working with the BLM to identify appropriate areas that are close enough to Moe’s valley and appropriate for the kind of camping that someone on a road trip would do (fire pit, dogs, cathole ect…) In the meantime, if everyone who visits Moe’s would take some of this advice to heart and pass the word it would help our cause, and improve our image with people who’s opinion of our community standards really does matter.

Todd Goss
St. George Utah


Comments on Moe's Valley Access Information Add Comment
By Klimbien
From: StGeorge Orem Littlton Vegas
Mar 3, 2011

Two Thumbs Up for Moes - Lets all pull together, pick up some trash, and help manage these resources. Don't be afraid to "SPEAK OUT" when you see others whose actions may be jeopardizing the area - we can avoid being confrontational - just be informative.

By Roots
From: Tustin, CA
Mar 3, 2011

Todd and SUCC -

Thanks for taking the time to inform us and to be working with BLM. I'll be passing through St. George in a few months on my way to cooler climbing temps a little more north. But I'll stop by Moe's to help pick up some trash, etc. Please keep us posted.

By Marius vanderMerwe
From: Saint George, UT
Mar 3, 2011

Thanks for speaking up Todd. Moe's is a great asset to our climbing community and it is sad to see how it gets abused and trashed. Perhaps because it is often the "cool dudes" who do this, they are not being confronted, and even those who truly love the place often look the other way.

Doing the right thing is not that hard: walk the few extra minutes to your climb, clean up after your dog (in a desert poo takes a long time to decompose), do not make a fire (bring your stove if you absolutely have to brew something) and try to avoid stepping on sensitive desert vegetation.

By scottso
From: St. George, Utah
Mar 15, 2011

Good work Todd/SUCC

Is Green Valley Gap included in the open space area?

I was just at Zen wall yesterday and the weather was perfect (once the clouds came out!)

-Scott

By dlsask
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 22, 2011

I have just come back from a visit to Moe's and I had an amazing time. My buddies and I expected to stay for a couple of days and ended up putting in a full week.

I was, however, shocked to witness folks stoking fires around the Monkey Boy boulder, as well as a large group of people who drove their truck all the way up to the Sentinel boulder and set up camp for several days. This behavior will surely affect access in the future, not to mention it's more than a little discourteous to other climbers. So, keep up the good work in the SUCC, and keep the access open. It's a great place to climb and hang-out.

By grk10vq
Administrator
May 5, 2011

The BLM has suggested camping off the Curly Hollow Road area in Bloomington. This is about 6 miles away from Moes,(way closer than Prophesy Wall) just west of town. Some of you may know the Bearclaw Poppy Mtn. bike trail, it ends at Navaho drive in Bloomington. If you get there continue on the gravel road, northwest, until you come to wide open desert that is appropriate for dispersed camping. Camping is permitted up to 14 days there too.