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The Red Desert: Among Dead Volcanoes and Living Dunes Presenters

Dr. Ken Driese

Through the Eyes of Map Makers: A Cartographic Perspective

We think of maps as true and objective but in fact, like art and science, they are interpretations of “place.” In this presentation by the Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center, we explore the Red Desert from the perspective of map makers, both historical and modern, each with their own vision of place. WGISC Resources

Rod Garnett

Place and Sound

Music as “humanly organized sound”. The sounds produced by humans reflect their natural and social environment. This session will explore assumptions and realities of humans and their music in the Red Desert and Laramie Wyoming and other places around the world. Musician Rod Garnett will present musical instruments and photos and perform a variety of music.

Robert L. Kelly

Who First Saw the Red Desert?

Who were the first people to see the Red Desert, and what might they have thought of it?
Joy Owen

Uniqueness within a varied, high desert landscape

From sand dune water pools to ferruginous hawk nests atop dead volcanoes, life exists and relies upon this unique and varied landscape harbored within Wyoming's Red Desert. This vast open space has the power to overwhelm, but the desert has a way of pulling you in to explore its beauty.
Melinda Harm Benson

Law on the Landscape:  How Land Use Designations Shape the Meaning of Place

This presentation will explore the Red Desert from a law and policy perspective, specifically addressing controversies over how we categorize lands and how those land use designations influence our relationship to them.
Dr. Jeffrey A. Lockwood

Islands of Life: The Wonders of Insect Diversity in the Red Desert

To many people, the Red Desert appears to be a monotonous landscape. But at the scale of insects this place is a quiltwork of habitats, with unique communities forming a marvelous patchwork that rivals the most diverse ecosystems on earth.
Frieda Knobloch

Stomping Grounds

People’s memories, histories, and artifacts trail through the Red Desert in remarkable density. The area around Boar’s Tusk is no exception. Touched, remembered, even haunted, Red Desert landscapes and landmarks embrace a rich if sometimes troubled human presence.

B. Ronald Frost

The Geologic History Recorded in the Red Desert Landscape

The Red Desert is nestled between the basement uplifts of the Wyoming Rockies and the Green River basin. Although it lacks the spectacular scenery of the nearby mountains, the Red Desert, none the less claims some geologic wonders. It hosts the Great Divide Basin, which is the only place in North America where the continental divide hosts an area of internal drainage. The Leucite Hills in the western Red Desert is a 1- 2 million year old volcanic field that contains the most potassic lavas on Earth. The Red Desert is also home to the Kilpecker Dune Field, one of the largest dune fields in North America. The volcanic rocks of the Leucite Hill and the Kilpecker Dunes carry a record that lets geologists reconstruct how the landscape in the Red Desert has evolved during the past million years.
Marc A. Moffett

A Plea for Deserts

There is good reason to think that the value of natural objects (e.g., rivers, ecosystems, rock formations) depends on their causal-historical continuity over time. To the extent that we disrupt that continuity, we de-value those objects in a way that no amount of human artifice can recover. In Wyoming, we have two sorts of environments which still display a significant degree of causal-historical continuity: those, like Yellowstone, that everyone could tell deserved preservation and those, like the Red Desert, that no one could tame. The vast middle ground has been largely lost. But we are slowly encroaching on our most wild and untamable lands and without the same sort of foresight that preserved their more exalted counterparts they will be gone as well. This loss, I believe, would be greater than we can easily comprehend. After all, we too are natural objects. And so part of our own value depends on our continuity with the land from which we arose. In a not entirely metaphorical sense we are part of the land. As we degrade the land, so we degrade humanity.
Gary Beauvais

Terrible vigilance – Red Desert wildlife and the imperative of space

The harshness of the Red Desert is obvious, and often intimidating. The region’s wildlife clearly illustrate how the desert’s other great quality – sheer, vast, open space – balances that harshness.
H.L. Hix

An Open Letter 

An epistolary meditation on the role of empathy in a responsible relationship of humans to the Red Desert, and the possibility of enlarging the necessary empathy.
Bryce R. Reece

Thriving Where Others Fail and Fall - The Long-Standing Importance of the Red Desert to Wyoming’s Sheep Industry

The Red Desert has long been an area of great importance for the sheep industry of Wyoming. Sheep are uniquely adapted for the climate of Wyoming, being able to not only survive, but thrive, in environments where other animals, and man himself, struggle. While extremes of temperature (from those seen in the Red Desert of -30° to -40° below zero, up to 110° in the summer) negatively affect other species to varying levels, the bane of sheep production is extremely wet or moist climates. Knowing this, the earliest settlers to Wyoming recognized that the Red Desert region would provide nearly ideal habitat and an environment that would allow tremendous production of lamb and wool from an area others would classify as “barren” or even “God-forsaken”.
Linda Lillegraven

Red Desert Glimpses

A presentation as commentary on a new work of art by the same name, which consists of a series 8 or 9 small paintings. The paintings will depict a range of fragmentary impressions of the area -- intended to reflect the way the memory calls up multiple images of a place one has visited.
Russel Tanner, Kyak Maroo

Stories from the Old People: Anthropological Perspectives on Rock Art in the Red Desert

A presentation showing many of the Native American petroglyph and pictograph sites in the Red Desert region, and discussion of how these artistic renditions may inform us about how hunting and gathering cultures adapted to not only survive, but to thrive in this seemingly inhospitable environment.
William A. Reiners

Boar’s Tusk: A Locus of Flux

Boar’s Tusk presides over a sandy plain, a majestic monument to quiet stability over deep time; a place of escape from the endless line of I-80 trucks to the south, from the hurly-burly gas and oil extraction to the west, and the east, and from the coal mining to the south. Here is a place of restful, enduring peace. Or is it? Perhaps this is just perspective of an occasional visitor captured on a day trip during fine weather. Observations and clues for phenomena taking place at time-scales different from those of normal human perception illuminate a dynamic past and present, belying the seeming permanence of the Boar’s Tusk area. Wild fluctuations in weather, broad changes in climate, extensive alterations by geological processes, and fast-moving ecological conditions pervade this area. In fact, maybe Boar’s Tusk itself would better be viewed as a kind of clock in Wyoming’s Grand Central Station, witnessing, and participating in the “passing through” of physical and biological entities over time. And, like Grand Central Station, the area itself is constantly undergoing remodeling through natural processes, changes that disturb the sense of place for the long term passenger.
Erik Molvar

Special Values of the northwestern Red Desert: From Wildlife to Wilderness

A photographic tour of the northwestern Red Desert will highlight the outstanding ecological values and rare species of this area, as well as potential wilderness units and threats to these values. Potential conservation options, including National Conservation Area status, will be discussed.

Margaret Wilson

In and out of balance – a matter of scale

Margaret will present a video installation and performance of choreography inspired by her impressions of the Red Desert.
Charles Ferguson

Grand Teton to Grand Canyon, Latest Miocene through Pliocene course of the Green River in the central Rocky Mountain, USA

Rapid incision of the Grand Canyon approximately 5 million years ago was probably fueled by a sudden introduction of water from the Red Desert where, at approximately the same time, significant tectonic and magmatic events in the Jackson Hole region diverted headwater drainages of the Snake River into the Green.
Sharon Long

Red Desert: Archaic Period Deatch

Description and analysis of Archaic Period skeletal remains found in the Red Desert.
John Mionczynski

Wanderings in the Desert

My years, in the 1960s, spent living off the land in the Red Desert.

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Phone: (307) 766-6622


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