Visitation on the Tableland
|Trail counters are an effective way of monitoring human use in areas of concern. Since publication, the Happy and Sad Boulders have seen an increase in climbing activity, therefore, the BLM was interested in estimating exactly how many people use these areas.|
|The trail counter was placed along the trail to the Happy Boulders in November of 1998. This chart shows the total number of visitors to the Happy Boulders since the implementation of the trail counter. Recently, use at the Happy Boulders exceeded 40,000 visitors.|
There seems to be two high visitor use seasons here on the Tableland. The first heavy use comes between Thanksgiving and New Years when vacation time is available. Climbers and boulderers flock to the Happy and Sad Boulders from all over the world, mainly due to the mild climate, beautiful environment, and diversity in rock composition. From early November to mid-January one can find 30 plus cars parked below the trail leading to the boulders. In 2002, the number of visitors to the Happy Boulders decreased compared to last years (2001) numbers.
The second peak comes at spring break when college students come to explore the Tableland. The heavy season of use occurs from mid-March to early April. In 2002, the number of visitors continued to increase compared to the last 3 years exceeding over 25,000 users in approximately a one month span.
The three figures above reveal the concern that BLM managers face with trying to accommodate for such crowds. The BLM responded to the human numbers concern by providing toilets, developing a winter camping area at the Pleasant Valley Pit, and working with locals on designating trails and clean-up days. Please practice "Leave No Trace", remember the area is designated as semi-primitive, and respect the regulations and rules that have been applied to the Tableland.