Cryptobiotic Crust

If you are planning to visit Moab this year you need to be aware of Cryptobiotic Crust. I pulled this definition right out of some BLM information. “Cryptobiotic crust is a living crust of bacteria, algae, lichen, mosses and fungi that covers much of the soil surface in this area. It is almost invisible in its early stages. As it matures, it develops a bumpy, blackish surface. The crust is essential to desert life. It holds sand together, retains water, and makes nutrients needed for larger plants to grow. It takes 50-100 years for the crust to fully function: yet tire tracks and footsteps can crush it instantaneously. Bike and vehicle tire tracks are especially damaging because they form ruts. When it rains water flows in these ruts causing severe erosion. Walk, drive, or bike only on open roads or trails. When walking cross-country walk on slickrock or in dry washes. Avoid trampling cryptobiotic crust.

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