Desert Travel 101: Don't Bust the Crust!

Sedona, AZ: Desert Travel 101: Don't bust the crust! When traveling off trail in a desert environment in the American southwest you will likely encounter Cryptobiotic soil, or "desert glue". DO NOT Step on it! 

Here's why: This fragile living biological soil takes decades to form, yet can be killed with one footprint. If crushed it can contribute to spring runoff beginning as much as 50 days sooner than usual. Cryptobiotic soil also holds the desert floor in place reducing erosion, fixes nitrogen to plants and has the ability to intercept and store water.
 
It can be identified by it's knobby, black crust. It looks like colonies of little dark colored towers on the desert floor. It will make a crunch sound if you step on it.
 
So when traveling in the desert walk softly, choose a path of durable surfaces and remember that you're not the only living creature on your adventure. 
 
Helping keep our wild spaces wild, 
 

Jenna and Sam - Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Team West

Leave No Trace’s Jenna Hanger and Sam Ovett are part of the 2016  Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud Partners of this program include Subaru of America, Deuter, Eagle's Nest Outfitters, Smartwool and REI.