Wyoming's scenic Red Desert garners attention
Bill Myers of Boulder, Colo., mountain bikes near the Adobe Town rim in this Sept. 2008 file photo. The Bureau of Land Management and the Wyoming Outdoor Council have teamed to sponsor the first 'Ride the Red Desert' bike tour on Aug. 28, capping a high-profile month in the scenic, remote area of southwest Wyoming. (Ken Driese/Star-Tribune correspondent)

GREEN RIVER -- Whether it's from overseas or on bicycles, southwest Wyoming's scenic and remote Red Desert is receiving a lot of attention this month.

Public television film crews from station NHK World in Japan recently finished shooting an hourlong documentary focusing on the landscapes and wildlife in the Red Desert, which lies about 30 miles north of Rock Springs in Sweetwater County.

Next week, federal and conservation officials will sponsor the "Ride the Red Desert" bike tour in a first-ever cooperative attempt to connect families to the outdoors.

The Japanese film crews were guided and aided by the Laramie-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance for the production, which is being produced and directed by Japanese filmmaker Akira Matsubayashi.

The documentary aims to help raise the international profile of the Red Desert area, which sits in the country's least-populated state, Biodiversity officials said in a media release.

Minami Tamura, the Ottowa, Can.-based coordinator of the production, said the director was originally interested in producing a film about the behavioral side of the greater sage grouse.

But while Matsubayashi was filming the 30-minute documentary, he decided to expand the production and include a longer piece on the Red Desert as well, Tamura said.

The crew started filming in March around the Eden Valley and Farson area.

Their initial piece on sage grouse for NHK World's "Nature's Wonderland" program aired in Japan on Aug. 1.

The production team toured the southern end of the Red Desert first, including the Adobe Town area, the Powder Rim area and atop Kinney Rim.

The team wrapped up last week in the Jack Morrow Hills area of the northwest Red Desert, capturing footage of the Boar's Tusk, Killpecker dunes and the Honeycomb Buttes, among other sites.

Bike tour

Bureau of Land Management officials said the bike tour scheduled for Aug. 28 is intended to combine the agency's stewardship and outdoor ethics in its "Take it Outside:

Connect With Your Public Lands" initiative with the Wyoming Outdoor Council's semi-annual bike tour of the Red Desert.

"The BLM has a unique opportunity to connect families to the outdoors (and) this event will help provide an opportunity for outdoor recreation and education," said BLM recreation planner Noelle Glines-Bovio

The ride will traverse a 14-mile loop on a two-track trail along the Powder Rim area. Officials said both experienced and amateur mountain bikers are encouraged to participate.

Contact southwest Wyoming bureau reporter Jeff Gearino at (307) 875-5359 or gearino@tribcsp.com

Tour the Red Desert

The Bureau of Land Management's Rawlins field office and the Wyoming Outdoor Council are sponsoring a "Ride the Red Desert" bike tour in southwest Wyoming on Aug. 28.

Riders are asked to make reservations no later than Monday. More information can be found on the BLM's website at www.blm.gov or the WOC website at www.wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org.

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