dugway

A striking example of a dugway exists on the south end of Cedar Mesa in southern Utah: Moki Dugway—a dirt road that drops over two thousand feet in two miles without a switchback, looking something like a furrow slanting down the sidewall of an open pit mine. A dugway can be a road cut across the slope of a hill (if it’s bulldozed it’s often called a cat road, for Caterpillar tractor) or one excavated to run below the surface of the land. It can also refer to a place on the steep bank of a stream graded down by human means to let cattle and other traffic enter or leave the water. Wallace Stegner describes such a place in Marking the Sparrow’s Fall, when one character “peered and squinted for the sight of the dugway that would lead them out of the channel and up the cutbank and across a little flat to the final security, so close now and so much more desperately hard to reach with every step.” The Dugway Range in Utah is known for its beautiful geodes. More infamous is the Dugway Proving Ground, located in the desert of western Utah—a controversial U.S. Army site because of its tests of chemical and biological warfare agents.

Kim Barnes