Dean M. Chriss
America's Primordial Desert. Final Days

America's Primordial Desert, Final Days

(Click image to enlarge)

This photograph was captured in America's desert southwest at sunset on a spring evening. When my wife and I discovered this place we were awestruck by what we saw. Years later the place is increasingly visited by people keen to drive ATCs over challenging terrain, thus destroying it for everyone else. Off road motorized travel is illegal in the area shown here, but the BLM puts no effort into enforcement and most ATC riders do not care what they ruin. In fact I removed tire tracks from this photograph that did not exist when I visited just four months earlier. This may well be the last photograph I can capture in the pristine beauty and quiet solitude that has existed in this place for the last several million years.

Geological forces sculpted the earth's landscapes over a period of 4,500,000,000 years. The first primitive humans began sculpting stone tools 2,500,000 years ago. People gained the ability to significantly alter the earth's surface in the 1700s and in the next 300 years altered 75 percent of the world's land area for human use. The rate at which this happens is constantly increasing, which means a person born today will live to see the world's last pristine landscapes disappear.

On December 24, 2019 I replaced the image previously shown on this page with one captured a day earlier. It represents my best effort to show the essence of this amazing place.