Utah's Military Reservations and Energy Withdrawls
Military reservations and installations serve an important function as training grounds for our armed forces and testing grounds for weapons and equipment. The Department of Defense and the Department of Energy are a major part of the economy of the Beehive State, maintaining bombing ranges, test ranges, launch sites, development areas, energy reserves, and storage facilities.
The US Army Dugway Proving Ground, covering 798,855 acres, is a major range and testing facility, and the primary chemical and biological defense testing center under the Reliance Program. Testers here determine the reliability and survivability of all types of military equipment in a chemical or biological environment.
Hill Air Force Base, a withdrawl of 6698 acres, is the nation`s primary maintenance and logistics center for ICBMs such as the Minuteman and Peacekeeper missiles, as well as other aircraft and munitions. The facility also specializes in landing gear repairs, and photographic and reconnaissance equipment maintenance and installation. Hill AFB has one of the busiest single runways in the Air Force with over 85,000 aircraft operations annually.
The Utah Test and Training Range is a vast military area in northern Utah, the nation`s largest combined restricted land and closed "special use" airspace area. It consists of over 19,000 square miles of restricted airspace with 2,675 miles of ground space. On the ground, numerous target areas, radar and video facilities support over 22,000 training sorties and 1,000 test sorties annually. Missions are coordinated through Hill AFB, 40 miles away by air.
In 1943 Wendover Airbase was one of the largest military reserves in the world. 23,000 military personnel were based in 668 buildings and trained on 3.5 million acres of the surrounding desert. Much of the airbase was unused by the 1950`s, and the Air Force officially moved out in the late 1970`s.
Deseret Chemical Depot has been storing chemical weapons since 1942. The depot, located 20 miles south of Tooele, encompasses 19,400 acres.
Tooele Army Depot, covering 25,172 acres, was established in 1942. Since 1962 the depot has been assigned maintenance mission responsibilities for topographic equipment, troop support items, construction equipment, power generators, and various wheeled vehicles.
Department of Energy Sites
Envirocare Nuclear Waste Site is the only commercial facility in the nation which can accept mixed radioactive and hazardous wastes. Naval Oil Shale Reserve No. 2, in northeastern Utah, is estimated to contain almost 4 billion barrels of shale oil in place.
The GAPA Launch Site and the Green River Launch Complex are two disused military withdrawls. The former is an abandoned military launch site, consisting of a weathered bunker and a launch pad in Utah`s west desert, adjacent to the unrelated Grassy Mountain Hazardous Waste dump.
The other area is the Green River Launch Complex, a 3,650 acre site in the bare hills north of Moab. This site was established in 1961 as a launch point for test missiles bound for the Army`s 4,000 square-mile White Sands Missile Range, in New Mexico. The site has been in "caretaker status" since the last launch in 1974, and has fallen into disrepair.
For more information on military reservations in Utah, contact the PLIC.