Is there a new highway planned to bisect the pristine El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve? It appears that it is at least an idea from photos acquired by Wild Sonora. These maps seem to show a 4-lane separated highway cut-off from Route 2 through the sand dunes just west of Pinacate down to the Route 3 coastal highway. The length from maps appears to be about 50 km and cuts right down the east/west center of the reserve.
Pinacate Biosphere Reserve
Southern California based off-roaders are organizing a "TRUE off-road" rally race across some of the most intact and undamaged land in North America. The exact route has not been released to the public or participants to prevent scouting. Most likely it will occur to the west or southwest of the El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve and potentially within the Alto Golfo de California Biosphere Reserve in western Sonora.
This area is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and part of numerous protected areas on both sides of the border together making one of the largest protected areas in North America. Beyond these designations it is incredibly beautiful and biologically rich. More than 540 species of vascular plants, 44 mammals, more than 200 birds and over 40 reptiles inhabit the seemingly inhospitable desert*. Noteworthy species include the Sonoran Pronghorn, an endemic subspecies restricted to the south-western Arizona and north-western Sonora and threatened by extinction.
This was a long weekend trip to the west side of the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve. We encountered no other humans. The trip went to Sykes Crater, MacDougal Crater, and Tinaja de los Papagos, among other areas. It was a somewhat dry spring.
I'd been wanting to go to the Tinaja de los Papagos for years. I expected a beautiful desert oasis that has harbored and sustained
humans and wildlife for millennia in a sea of black rock, desert, and heat.