20 Years Protecting Tortoises

Protecting (1)

In the early 1990’s, a committee was formed in Washington County, UT with a mission to create a plan to protect the endangered Mojave desert tortoise, threatened by rapid development and habitat loss here in southwestern Utah.  The committee included members of the Washington County Commission, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, the Washington County School District, environmental and equestrian groups, local land developers and government officials from around Southern Utah, Salt Lake City and even from Washington, DC.

Their combined efforts resulted in plenty of media attention – some positive, some not so much – but also a lot of gaffaws and chortles from the community and many disgruntled and unbelievably vile letters to the editor of the local newspaper.  “Why spend all this time and money to protect the descendants of turtles my grandparents brought home to St. George in the trunk of their car?” queried more than a few.  “They’re not anymore native to this area than some of our new residents,” said others. Ultimately, the Washington County Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) approved in 1996, created the Red Cliff Desert Reserve setting aside more than 62,000 acres of scenic wildlife and protection for the Mojave Desert tortoise and other rare plants and animals, at the merging of three ecosystems:  the Mojave desert, the Great Basin and the Colorado Plateau.

Two decades later, the reserve contains – not homes, condominiums and golf courses – but, some of Washington County’s most spectacular scenery, the most northern healthy populations of the desert tortoise, Gila monster, sidewinder rattlesnake, and chuckwalla – as well as other reptiles, critters and plants, some which occur no where else in the world.

The Reserve, approximately 20 miles wide and 6 miles deep, spans the beautiful red rock country along both sides of the I-15 freeway in the north central portion of Washington County, north of Ivins, Santa Clara, St. George, Washington City; south of Leeds and west of Hurricane and LaVerkin. Accessible to hikers, bikers and horseback riders, the Reserve has many access points and trails leading to amazing recreational opportunities … and it has been many years, since anyone driving through our red rock country has done anything but smile at the beauty which has now been preserved for many future generations to enjoy.

Speaking of enjoyment, you can be certain to enjoy your beautiful home-away-from-home at St. George Resort Rentals or Five Seasons Vacation condominiums.  Register today online for a beautiful, comfortable and affordable vacation resort rental at stgeorgeresortrentals.com  or laspalmasresortcondos.com.   You’re going to like us … a lot!

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