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Wilderness Study Areas

The Bureau of Land Management manages more than 545 Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) containing nearly 12.7 million acres located in the Western States and Alaska. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 directed the Bureau to inventory and study its roadless areas for wilderness characteristics. To be designated as a Wilderness Study Area, an area had to have the following characteristics:

  • Size - roadless areas of at least 5,000 acres of public lands or of a manageable size;
  • Naturalness - generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces
    of nature;
  • Opportunities - provides outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and
    unconfined types of recreation.

In addition, Wilderness Study Areas often have special qualities such as ecological, geological, educational, historical, scientific and scenic values.

The congressionally directed inventory and study of BLM's roadless areas received extensive public input and participation. By November 1980, the BLM had completed field inventories and designated about 25 million acres of WSAs. Since 1980, Congress has reviewed some of these areas and has designated some as wilderness and released others for non-wilderness uses. Until Congress makes a final determination on a WSA, the BLM manages these areas to preserve their suitability for designation as wilderness.


TROUBLESOME WILDERNESS STUDY AREA

Approximately 8,158 acres of public land are contained within the WSA.  A private inholding of 625 acres is located in the interior of the unit.  The surrounding lands are National Forest to the north and east and predominantly private to the south and west.  The Troublesome WSA represents a rugged, mountainous terrain varying in elevation from 8,000 to 10,800 feet.  Most of the WSA is forested with spruce, fir, aspen, and dead and dying lodgpole pines with riparian habitat along many steams.  The WSA provideds outstanding opportunities for solitude due to the follwing factors: sufficient size, topographic cariation, and forest and riparian vegetation.  Also, the WSA provided outstanding opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation are present due to: 1) variety of game and nongame wildlife, 2) opportunities for hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, cross-county skiing and snow shoeing, 3) availability of stream and riparian habitat for fishing and wildlife viewing, 4) variety of geologic features for viewing and non-technical climbing, and 5) opportunities for scenic veiwing from higher elevations.

Access into the Troublesome WSA

Access into the Troublesome WSA from public land is by hiking or horseback only. Please contact the BLM Kremmling Field Office (970) 724-3000 or the Sulphur Ranger District (970) 887-4100 for current maps.

The most direct route from Kremmling:

 Go west on Hwy 40 towards Steamboat Springs for approximately 28 miles, turn right (east) on Hwy 14 towards Walden.  Continue on Hwy 14 for approximately 7 miles and turn right onto County Road 53.  Go approximately 3 miles on CR 53 till you get to a 'Y' in the road.  Continue to the left on Forest Service Road #103.  Follow FS Road #103 for approximately 8 miles until you see FS Road #103 2A on the left. This road is not maintained for passenger cars and can become impassable with precipitation.  This road dead ends at about 3 miles.  From here access is by foot or horse only. Please use a current BLM or Forest Service map for directions to get into the Troublesome WSA from this point.  There is private property in this area, make sure you know where you are and you stay off of private property unless you ask permission from the owner.

Access point #2 through public lands:

See directions above.  When you turn onto FS Road #103 travel only approximately 4 miles until  there is a 'Y' in the road.  This turn will be onto FS Road #700/#104.  This road is not maintained for passenger cars and can become impassable with precipitation.  Continue on FS Road #104 at the next 'Y' in the road and go about 8 miles on #104 until it dead ends.  From here access is by foot or horse only.  Please use a current BLM or Forest Service map for directons to get into the Troublesome WSA from this point.  There is private property in this area, make sure you know where you are and you stay off the private property unless you ask permission from the owner.

There are access points from private property but you must ask permission from the property owners to cross into public lands.  Please respect private property.


Map of Troublesome WSA


PLATTE RIVER CONTIGUOUS WILDERNESS STUDY AREA 

 

Approximately 30 acres of public land are contained within the WSA.  This includes portions of the rim and Northgate Canyon of the North Platte River which is adjacent to the 23,000 acre Platte River Wilderness Area, managed by the US Forest Service.  The Platte River Contiguous WSA represents a rugged, mountainous terrain varying in elevation from 7,760 to 8,340 feet.  The WSA has rock outcroppings, boulders, and crags on the rim; slide areas including north facing slopes with dense stands of Douglas-fir trees within the river canyon, sparse stands of Aspen and sagebrush on gentler slopes west of the canyon rim, and scattered Juniper and Limber Pine on the canyon rim.  The WSA provides outstanding opportunities for solitude due to the following factors: topographic including 400 to 600 feet deep river canyon, vast remote region of northwest Colorado with little development, and adjacent to 23,000 acre Platte River Wilderness Area.  Also, the WSA provided outstanding opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation are present due to: 1) contiguous 23,000 acre Platte River Wilderness area provides outstanding opportunities for whitewater floatboating in Class III-IV rapids, hiking, backpacking, fishing, hunting, and observing wildlife, 2) provides opportunities for a variety of nonmotorized recreational activities, 3) within a 2 hour drive of Fort Collins, Rocky Mountain National Park, and several major ski areas.  Within 3 hours drive of Denver metropolitan area.

Access to Platte River Contiguous WSA:

From adjacent Routt National Forest via the North Platte River.


Map of Platte River Contiguous WSA