A glorious weekend in the San Rafael Swell

It was a glorious sunny weekend in the San Rafael Swell as about 85 wilderness supporters gathered from Sept. 21-23 for this year’s SUWA Roundup.

The tradition stretches back to 1986, when the first Roundup – a mini-conference of sorts – was hosted by Ken Sleight (the inspiration for Ed Abbey’s character “Seldom Seen Smith”) at Pack Creek Ranch near Moab.  The Roundup “campout” as we know it today was born in 1992 and has been held at Hidden Splendor for the past 18 years.

As we reunited with old friends this year, we were pleased to see many new faces as well.  Attendees came from points north, south, east and west, including: Oregon, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Washington, California, Arizona, Nevada, Maryland, Ohio, Missouri, Montana, and all across Utah – from Roosevelt to Saint George.

To our surprise, one member actually flew to the Roundup from Tucson via a tiny 4-seater STOL aircraft.  Hidden Splendor was the site of an active uranium mine from the 1950s to 1960s and the old dirt airstrip used to transport supplies is still used by backcountry pilots today.  Interestingly, another Roundup attendee was actually among the workers who delivered supplies to the mine back in its heyday (this was her first return to the site since).

After a day of hiking and canyoneering in the Muddy Creek proposed wilderness, everyone gathered under the main tent Saturday night for a delicious potluck dinner including such treats as beef stew, homegrown tomatoes and a tub of chocolate ice cream!

Every year we meet interesting, passionate, committed wilderness supporters at the SUWA Roundup and this year was no exception.  We thank them for making the long journey to Hidden Splendor, for participating in our grassroots strategy discussion on Sunday, and for speaking out year after year for the protection of Utah’s magnificent wild places.  We look forward to meeting even more of our amazing members and activists at next year’s Roundup!

Here are a few photos . . .