BLM wilderness study area in Wyoming

bullbugle307

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As others have said, there is no Congressionally designated or "capital W" wilderness on BLM lands in Wyoming, which is a real shame. I haven't been to all or even most of the WSA's in the state (I think there's 45 or so), but the one's I have been to in the Red Desert and in SE Wyoming are pretty solid spots for people who are willing to work for it. Some of the WSA's in the Red Desert are tens of thousands of acres in size, and rarely visited by anyone. If I'm ever lucky enough to draw a 100 elk tag, I dream of hunting elk in the steep canyons of the Honeycomb Buttes as they drop off of Continental Peak and turn into a maze of hoodoo's and multi colored sediments. You could go for days and hunt elk that are largely left alone for the fact that there are a ton of other places in 100 where you could kill a solid 300 plus that would be a much easier pack out. I don't even feel bad throwing that out on the internet, if someone is lucky enough to draw that tag and has what it takes to hunt that country, I hope they do, and I hope they enjoy the hell out of it and want to advocate to keep it just how it is, Wild!

On the topic of WSA's in Wyoming I haven't heard much about the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative for a while. That whole process can largely go to hell (in my not so humble opinion), and the WSA's can stay exactly how they are, at the very least, until we have more folks that are friendly to wilderness in the political arena. It was always my strong opinion that WPLI was a process that was meant to do one thing, and that's release a significant number of WSA's in Wyoming. I'm sure that some of the County Comissioners involved had good intentions in regards to generating public involvement and possibly getting some WSA's recommended for designation, but I don't think that really why the WPLI was started and I can't imagine that those recommendations would have ever gotten the same level of care at the legislative level as the recommendations for release. Which, to come full circle, is a shame. We have a lot of acres of WSA's not just in Wyoming, but throughout the West. Imagine the potential for additional wilderness protection if Congress were to act to start designating some of these WSA's in the way that Congress designated wilderness on Forest Service lands in the 80's. One can also imagine what would happen if a mass of these WSA's were to be released. I know there would be a lot of happy people that would want to put roads into those area's so they would be more accessible to motorized travel, but to those that love to hunt and recreate in vast open places where people can't drive, the landscape becomes just like the vast majority of all the other lands, a mess of roads, sometimes balanced in their impact but oftentimes at densities that seem ridiculous to me.

What WSA's on BLM tend to lack is the picturesque mountain landscapes that dominate many of our other Congressionally designated wilderness lands. In some ways I can understand how those landscapes were an easier sell for Wilderness designation. But what many of the BLM WSA's, or even "Lands with Wilderness Characteristics" are so damn important for is in their value as wildlife habitat, and as prime places to hunt. A lot of the Congressionally designated wilderness lands in Wyoming are summer or transitional range, and a lot of the WSA's are more in the winter range category. Despite the fact that Congress has slowed way down on Wilderness designations in the past few decades, I am hopeful that in time we will eventually begin to protect more of the BLM areas that are beneficial to wildlife and to backcountry hunters across the West. Once a place is developed, you can't really bring it back. And they're not making any more of the stuff.
 

Close The Gap

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As others have said, there is no Congressionally designated or "capital W" wilderness on BLM lands in Wyoming, which is a real shame. I haven't been to all or even most of the WSA's in the state (I think there's 45 or so), but the one's I have been to in the Red Desert and in SE Wyoming are pretty solid spots for people who are willing to work for it. Some of the WSA's in the Red Desert are tens of thousands of acres in size, and rarely visited by anyone. If I'm ever lucky enough to draw a 100 elk tag, I dream of hunting elk in the steep canyons of the Honeycomb Buttes as they drop off of Continental Peak and turn into a maze of hoodoo's and multi colored sediments. You could go for days and hunt elk that are largely left alone for the fact that there are a ton of other places in 100 where you could kill a solid 300 plus that would be a much easier pack out. I don't even feel bad throwing that out on the internet, if someone is lucky enough to draw that tag and has what it takes to hunt that country, I hope they do, and I hope they enjoy the hell out of it and want to advocate to keep it just how it is, Wild!

On the topic of WSA's in Wyoming I haven't heard much about the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative for a while. That whole process can largely go to hell (in my not so humble opinion), and the WSA's can stay exactly how they are, at the very least, until we have more folks that are friendly to wilderness in the political arena. It was always my strong opinion that WPLI was a process that was meant to do one thing, and that's release a significant number of WSA's in Wyoming. I'm sure that some of the County Comissioners involved had good intentions in regards to generating public involvement and possibly getting some WSA's recommended for designation, but I don't think that really why the WPLI was started and I can't imagine that those recommendations would have ever gotten the same level of care at the legislative level as the recommendations for release. Which, to come full circle, is a shame. We have a lot of acres of WSA's not just in Wyoming, but throughout the West. Imagine the potential for additional wilderness protection if Congress were to act to start designating some of these WSA's in the way that Congress designated wilderness on Forest Service lands in the 80's. One can also imagine what would happen if a mass of these WSA's were to be released. I know there would be a lot of happy people that would want to put roads into those area's so they would be more accessible to motorized travel, but to those that love to hunt and recreate in vast open places where people can't drive, the landscape becomes just like the vast majority of all the other lands, a mess of roads, sometimes balanced in their impact but oftentimes at densities that seem ridiculous to me.

What WSA's on BLM tend to lack is the picturesque mountain landscapes that dominate many of our other Congressionally designated wilderness lands. In some ways I can understand how those landscapes were an easier sell for Wilderness designation. But what many of the BLM WSA's, or even "Lands with Wilderness Characteristics" are so damn important for is in their value as wildlife habitat, and as prime places to hunt. A lot of the Congressionally designated wilderness lands in Wyoming are summer or transitional range, and a lot of the WSA's are more in the winter range category. Despite the fact that Congress has slowed way down on Wilderness designations in the past few decades, I am hopeful that in time we will eventually begin to protect more of the BLM areas that are beneficial to wildlife and to backcountry hunters across the West. Once a place is developed, you can't really bring it back. And they're not making any more of the stuff.
I agree, 100%! Designate it “Wilderness” and don’t touch it! Such lands should be walk/hike only, forever!! Many times those acres hold fabulous game animals. Those types of acres need additional protection. More “Wilderness” acres would help to get rid of the road/lazy idiot hunters as well. I’ve battled those losers since the mid-70s, and not only in Wyoming! Preserve the “Wilderness” acres for those who are actual hunters!! This is very similar to “conservation easements” on private land.
 

Close The Gap

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Only a fool or Wyoming resident, would want WSA's designated wilderness.
Thank you for the wonderful response. We depend on individuals with limited brain capacity to assist in bringing attention to the necessity of more Wilderness acres in Wyoming. Please, tell your “little friends” to comment and include the words “Wilderness acres Wyoming.” The more attention the subject matter receives, the more chance of additional Wilderness acres in Wyoming. And, with those additional Wilderness acres in Wyoming, comes the added benefit of fewer and fewer simpleton “wanna-be” hunters in Wyoming! Again, thank you for the fabulous response in regard to Wilderness acres in Wyoming! We appreciate your support.
 

BrentD

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Do BLM Wilderness Study Areas exist in other states? I've never really noticed them until a couple of years ago.
 

Close The Gap

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Do BLM Wilderness Study Areas exist in other states? I've never really noticed them until a couple of years ago.
I don’t know the answer to that question. The past 20 years or so, I’ve been focusing on Wyoming and Idaho. However, a little research should reveal the answer. I would certainly hope so though; we need to protect as many acres as possible. This country now has a major population and that population is littered with careless people. Wilderness translates into better game, more game, quality game, bigger game, and it means actual/true hunting. Wyoming is one state that is at least attempting to preserve undisturbed areas as undisturbed. There may be no chance of it in Colorado; that states gets hammered with hunters; too many. Thank you for the comment/question.
 

cur dog

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Thank you for the wonderful response. We depend on individuals with limited brain capacity to assist in bringing attention to the necessity of more Wilderness acres in Wyoming. Please, tell your “little friends” to comment and include the words “Wilderness acres Wyoming.” The more attention the subject matter receives, the more chance of additional Wilderness acres in Wyoming. And, with those additional Wilderness acres in Wyoming, comes the added benefit of fewer and fewer simpleton “wanna-be” hunters in Wyoming! Again, thank you for the fabulous response in regard to Wilderness acres in Wyoming! We appreciate your support.
Hmm, sounds like I struck a nerve. So, which one are you? A fool, or a Wyoming resident?
Its real simple to understand. I think most folks around here get it.
Over 99% of the hunters in America are locked out of, almost 3 million acres of wilderness in Wyoming.
Why on earth would a hunter from outside of Wyoming think it was a good idea to designate more wilderness in that state?
I personally love wilderness areas. I hate the constant drone of atv's, side by sides and dirt bikes. Even in an over the counter unit in Colorado, I can often find solitude in the wilderness areas.
 
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bullbugle307

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You take a ridiculously simplistic approach here. If I could wave my magic wand I'd have all the WSAs in Wyoming designated and I'd allow non residents to hunt Wilderness in Wyoming without a guide. I'd bet a lot of other wilderness advocates who are hunters would feel the same way.

As per the WSA question... Yes, there are a lot of WSAs outside Wyoming. And to be honest, if I knew WSAs couldn't be released I wouldn't care if they studied them for eternity. WSAs have to be managed in such a way that doesn't ever jeopardize their ability to be designated. It's much more strict than many designated Wilderness's we already have. Full blown Wilderness designation has a lot of room for compromise in the enabling language. You can have roads, airstrips, etc... in a Wilderness if it's agreed upon in the designation. This isn't true of WSAs.
 

Sytes

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All for WSA's so long as they are objectively evaluated for the public hands use... No, not the boots only public use.
As backcountry cycles become more and more prevalent, the opportunities available to "Study" the ability for multi use designations, interactions, erosion (when compared with pack animals, etc), effective means to minimize the various multi use opportunities related to wildlife, etc.

A great setting to bring people together to identify how to move forward with "Public Hands" use of our lands.
 
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