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Arizona Strip

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Arizona Strip

Coordinates: 36 50 N 113 0 W

Approximate area: 7,878 sq mi (20,404 sq km)

Last week I made my first visit to the Beehive State, or Utah as most of us know it, for some hiking, camping, and a bit of exploration via hybrid car. On Sunday, as I headed back to the airport, I decided to take a short detour to a region that the Bureau of Land Management includes “among the most remote and rugged public land in the lower 48 states.” Just over Arizona’s northern border, this two million acre swathe of sandstone mesas and ponderosa forest was covered in enough lush grass around the turn of the last century to support tens of thousands of cattle. Extensive logging and overgrazing reduced much of the land to desert scrub so while ranching persists here on the Arizona Strip, the number of animals isn’t nearly what it used to be. In fact, as I drove through the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation east of Fredonia, I saw little evidence of the human history that has unfolded here save for telephone poles, barbed wire fences, and rarely, a modest house


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Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.

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