Deseret Morning News graphic
Alien hunters and nerve agent contamination may be prompting Dugway Proving Ground to seek to expand its size.
Officials at the Army base are closed-mouthed about why they want to acquire a huge swath of adjacent land, mostly under control of the Bureau of Land Management. They have not even spelled out how much they want.
But they confirmed that the gigantic military reservation filed documents seeking approval for expansion studies.
The amount of land under discussion ranges from 55 square miles to 145 square miles and if the nearby Dugway Mountains are included, that increases by 25 square miles.
One motive for acquiring land may be to keep Dugway's expected anti-terrorism training secret at a time when the base is coming under telephoto scrutiny by alien hunters.
Security hassles could grow as vexing for Dugway as they have been for many years at the military base at Groom Lake, Nev.
Groom Lake, also called Area 51, is 90 miles north of Las Vegas. It is famous in UFO lore as supposedly housing a crashed flying saucer. UFO fanatics have brought it under intense surveillance.
Top-secret military aircraft were developed at Groom Lake, including the U-2 and Blackbird spy planes as well as the Stealth fighter. The fact that no crashed saucers have been documented there hasn't deterred alien hunters from staking out the base with high-powered gear.
A few years ago, a rumor circulated that secret activities at Groom Lake had been transferred to Dugway. Now alien hunting is taking place just outside the Utah base.
One hunter-oriented Internet site is headed "Dugway Proving Ground The New Groom Lake?" Located at www.abovetopsecret.com/pages/dugway.html, it displays an overhead view of Dugway facilities. "It is by far the most secretive facility in Utah as well as the most controversial," the caption reads.
Where was the picture taken? One vantage point would be from an aircraft, but airspace above Dugway is restricted. Another possibility is the view was snapped from a nearby mountaintop off base.
Among notes about mysterious vapor trails, increased military activity and unmarked black helicopters, the Internet site states:
"It has also been revealed that an unusual facility within Dugway may house experimental craft, possibly of alien origin. . . . (In the past) convoy trucks had been seen entering the hangar with their cargo covered by tarpaulins. One truck was seen which was carrying something oval or circular in shape and being about 30 feet wide. The truck was accompanied by five men. Could this have been a flying disc-shaped craft? Three concentric fences were later built around the hangar."
Dave Rosenfeld, president of Utah UFO Hunters, has an Internet page devoted to tracking strange goings-on at Dugway, including "alien presence." The page is at www.aliendave.com/UUFOH_DugwayProvingGrounds.html.
"Numerous UFOs have been seen and reported in the area in and around Dugway," Rosenfeld, who goes by the nickname "Alien Dave," said in e-mail to the Deseret Morning News. Most of the disks, black triangles, orange spheres, flying wings and manta ray-shaped objects must be secret military aircraft, he thinks.
But Rosenfeld added that military aircraft can't account for "all the unknowns seen in the area. It might be that our star visitors are keeping an eye on Dugway too!"
He considers Dugway "the new area 51. And probably the new military spaceport."
Responding to a question, he wrote, "Yes, we have been watching Dugway and the UTTR (the Air Force's Utah Test and Training Range), we have seen some very interesting things out there."
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