Lands with Wilderness Characteristics

Non-WSA Lands with Wilderness Characteristics

Resource Overview
In accordance with the FLPMA, through the land use planning process, the BLM is required to consider all available information in order to determine the mix of resource use and protection that best serves the multiple-use and sustained-yield mandate. Under the FLPMA, the BLM has numerous authorities requiring the agency to maintain inventories of all public lands and their resources, including wilderness characteristics, and to consider such information during the land use planning process. Consistent with Section 201 of the FLPMA, which requires the Secretary of the Interior to “prepare and maintain on a continuing basis an inventory of all public lands and their resource and other values,” and the BLM Land Use Planning Handbook, the LSFO has identified and begun an assessment of BLM-managed lands with wilderness characteristics outside of existing WSAs. BLM Manual 6310 - Conducting Wilderness Characteristics Inventory on BLM Lands, provides the guidance from which LSFO performs the wilderness characteristic inventory process.
 
The wilderness characteristics inventory and assessment process is designed to answer the following question:
 
  • Do any portions of the LSFO meet the overall criteria for wilderness character?

The assessment reflects current conditions and is used to update wilderness inventories as well as identify other areas within LSFO that may potentially contain wilderness characteristics. The process entails the identification of Wilderness Inventory Units, an inventory of roads and wilderness character, and a determination of whether or not the area meets the overall criteria for wilderness character (naturalness, outstanding opportunities for solitude, and primitive and unconfined types of recreation). Units found to possess such character are being evaluated during the land use planning process in order to address future management. The following factors are documented:
 
Size:

Determine if the size criteria will be satisfied for areas by meeting one of the following situations and circumstances:

1) Roadless areas with over 5,000 acres of contiguous BLM lands. State or private lands are not included in making this acreage determination.

2) Roadless areas of less than 5,000 acres of contiguous BLM lands where any one of the following apply:

a) They are contiguous with lands which have been formally determined to have wilderness or potential wilderness values, or any Federal lands managed for the protection of wilderness characteristics. Such lands include:
(1) designated Wilderness,
(2) BLM Wilderness Study Areas,
(3) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service areas Proposed for Wilderness Designation,
(4) U.S. Forest Service (FS) Wilderness Study Areas or areas of Recommended Wilderness, and
(5) National Park Service (NPS) areas Recommended or Proposed for Designation.
They do not include NPS areas merely considered "Eligible for Wilderness Study," nor do they include FS Roadless Areas unless they are also designated as "Recommended Wilderness" through a Forest Plan Revision.

b) It is demonstrated that the area is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition.

c) Any roadless island of the public lands.
Naturalness:
 
Lands and resources exhibit a high degree of naturalness when affected primarily by the forces of nature and where the imprint of human activity is substantially unnoticeable. An area’s naturalness may be influenced by the presence or absence of roads and trails, fences or other developments; the nature and extent of landscape modifications; the presence of native vegetation communities; and the connectivity of habitats. Wildlife populations and habitat are recognized as important aspects of naturalness and would be actively managed. Assessing an area for naturalness includes examining the area for attributes such as the presence or absence of roads and trails, fences, and other infrastructure; the nature and extent of landscape modifications; the presence of native vegetation communities; and the connectivity of habitats.
 
Outstanding Opportunities for Solitude and Primitive and Unconfined Types of Recreation:
Visitors may have outstanding opportunities for solitude, or primitive and unconfined types of recreation, when the sights, sounds, and evidence of other people are rare or infrequent, where visitors can be isolated, alone or secluded from others, where the use of an area is through non-motorized, non-mechanical means, and where no or minimal recreation facilities are encountered.
 
Supplemental Values:
These include ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.
 
Activities that could affect lands with wilderness characteristics are those that would impair naturalness and outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive and unconfined types of recreation. Examples include construction of new roads or structures and an increase in recreational use that affects solitude and primitive recreation opportunities. Actions that would have an effect on wildlife habitat and native vegetation communities would also adversely affect lands with wilderness characteristics.

Methods of Analysis

The LSFO completed an initial review of its lands within the field office to determine which, if any, areas possess wilderness characteristics. This review included only BLM lands and did not include existing WSAs. Lands exclusively within existing WSAs were not analyzed; however, lands with potential wilderness characteristics outside or adjacent to WSAs were assessed. Existing designated WSAs would continue to be managed to protect those wilderness characteristics under the BLM’s interim management policy until Congress designates them as wilderness or releases them for other uses.

Areas evaluated for wilderness character consisted of roadless areas greater than 5,000 acres or roadless areas less than 5,000 acres adjacent to a WSA. These areas will be evaluated for the presence of naturalness and outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive and unconfined types of recreation.

In the winter of 2012, the LSFO began the process of identifying and inventorying potential lands with wilderness characteristics within its administrative boundaries. The first step in this process was to conduct a GIS analysis to identify 5,000 acre roadless parcels. The seven WSAs in the Planning Area were removed from this analysis as they are managed under the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS). The identification of the 5,000 acre parcels was accomplished by running a query using all highways, county roads and maintained BLM roads within LSFO as polygon boundaries. All the polygons created by road boundaries were then queried to identify those that were a minimum of 5,000 acres or greater. Those polygons greater than 5,000 acres in size were identified for refined analysis.

This process resulted in the identification of 98 individual polygons, totaling 802,107 acres.  Of those polygons, 37 (150,077 acres) are adjacent to existing WSAs.  The remaining 61 polygons, totaling 652,030 acres, are those potentially containing lands with wilderness characteristics and will be further examined by a refined analysis process.

The refined analysis was accomplished by visually comparing the remaining individual polygons with aerial imagery, as well as oil and gas, pipeline, powerline, transportation and road layers to determine if they met other minimum standards for lands with wilderness characteristics. They were also examined as to whether or not they could be modified (reduced in size) and still meet the minimum standard. This process was conducted by LSFO staff with extensive on-the-ground local knowledge of the resource area to aid in verifying the suitability of individual polygons to be considered as lands with wilderness characteristics.

The refined analysis resulted in reducing the area to 91 individual polygons, totaling 732,037.41 acres.  Of those polygons, 36 (149,445.84 acres) are adjacent to existing WSAs.  The remaining 55 polygons, totaling 582,591.57 acres, potentially contain land with wilderness characteristics and will be reviewed by an intensive, on-the-ground field inventory.

All polygon boundaries depicted below are subject to change pending our on-the-ground inventory.

 

Maintaining the Inventory

Section 201 of FLPMA requires the BLM to maintain on a continuing basis an inventory of all public lands and their resources and other values, which includes wilderness characteristics.  It also provides that the preparation and maintenance of the inventory shall not, of itself, change or prevent change of the management or use of public lands.  Regardless of past inventory, the BLM must maintain and update as necessary, its inventory of wilderness resources on public lands.  In some circumstances conditions relating to wilderness characteristics may have changed over time, and an area that was once determined to lack wilderness characteristics may now possess them.  The BLM will determine when it is necessary to update its wilderness characteristics inventory.  Under the following circumstances, the BLM will consider whether to update a wilderness characteristics inventory or conduct a wilderness characteristics inventory for the first time:

1. The public or the BLM identifies wilderness characteristics as an issue during the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process .   

2. The BLM is undertaking a land use planning process.

3. The BLM has new information concerning resource conditions, including wilderness characteristics information submitted by the public that meets the BLM’s minimum standard described in the Wilderness Characteristics Inventory Process section of this policy.

4. A project that may impact wilderness characteristics is undergoing NEPA analysis.

5. The BLM acquires additional lands.

There also may be other circumstances in which BLM will find it appropriate to update its wilderness characteristics inventory.

The LSFO will continue to maintain the inventory based upon the above criteria, although this process may be delayed due to manpower concerns, weather limitations, or priority driven projects.


Click here to view the Unit 001 Wild Mountain information Click here to view the Unit 002 Vermillion Creek information Click here to view the Unit 003 Hiawatha information Click here to view the Unit 004 Hells Canyon information Click here to view the Unit 005 Racetrack Flat information Click here to view the Unit 006 Eagle Rock Draw information Click here to view the Unit 007 Limestone Ridge information Click here to view the Unit 008 Vermillion information Click here to view the Unit 009 Douglas Draw information Click here to view the Unit 010 Conway Draw information Click here to view the Unit 011 Weller Draw information Click here to view the Unit 012 Dry Creek information Click here to view the Unit 013 South Vermillion Bluffs information Click here to view the Unit 014 Sand Wash information Click here to view the Unit 015 East Dry Creek information Click here to view the Unit 016 Vermillion Bluffs information Click here to view the Unit 017 Beaver Slide Draw information Click here to view the Unit 018 North Fork Sand Wash information Click here to view the Unit 019 Coffeepot Spring information Click here to view the Unit 020 Dougout Draw information Click here to view the Unit 021 Reservoir Draw information Click here to view the Unit 022 Spence Gulch information Click here to view the Unit 023 Upper Little Snake information Click here to view the Unit 024 Yellow Cat Wash information Click here to view the Unit 025 Sheepherder Springs Draw information Click here to view the Unit 026 Two Bar Draw information Click here to view the Unit 027 East Boone Draw information Click here to view the Unit 028 Sevenmile Ridge information Click here to view the Unit 029 West Sevenmile information Click here to view the Unit 030 Sevenmile Draw information Click here to view the Unit 031 Lower Little Snake information Click here to view the Unit 032 Shaffers Draw information Click here to view the Unit 033 Deep Canyon information Click here to view the Unit 034 Simsberry Draw information Click here to view the Unit 035 Bald Mountain Basin information Click here to view the Unit 036 Sand Creek information Click here to view the Unit 037 Calico Draw information Click here to view the Unit 038 Twelvemile Mesa information Click here to view the Unit 039 Lone Tree Gulch information Click here to view the Unit 040 Pinyon Ridge information Click here to view the Unit 041 Crooked Wash information Click here to view the Unit 042 Danforth information Click here to view the Unit 043 Juniper Mountain information Click here to view the Unit 044 Axial Basin information Click here to view the Unit 045 Little Yampa Canyon information Click here to view the Unit 046 Anthill Draw information Click here to view the Unit 047 Cherokee Draw information Click here to view the Unit 048 Big Hole information Click here to view the Unit 049 Greasewood Gulch information Click here to view the Unit 050 Dry Gulch information Click here to view the Unit 051 Thornburgh Gulch information Click here to view the Unit 052 Pole Gulch information Click here to view the Unit 053 Timberlake Creek information Click here to view the Unit 054 Serviceberry information Click here to view the Unit 055 Fly Creek information

Click here to view a larger LWC Potential map


Unit
Number

Unit Name

Currently
Managed
for LWC

Meets
LWC Criteria

Exluded
from LWC

Unit
Total

1

Wild Mountain

 4,280.71

0.00

0.00 

4,280.71

2

Vermillion Creek

 0.00

 20,283.58

4,008.72 

24,292.30

3

Hiawatha

 0.00

8,978.02

 411.58

9,389.60

4

Hells Canyon

 0.00

9,903.44

 17.48

9,920.92

5

Racetrack Flat

 0.00

 5,530.01

 0.00

5,530.01

6

Eagle Rock Draw

 0.00

 8,125.64

 1,633.45

9,759.09

7

Limestone Ridge

0.00

6,441.86

0.00

6,441.86

8

Vermillion

52,902.11

0.00

0.00

52,902.11

9

Douglas Draw

 0.00

 6,360.11

 0.90

6,361.01

10

Conway Draw

 0.00

 0.00

 6,974.38

6,974.38

11

Weller Draw

 0.00

 12,891.88

 2,296.06

15,187.94

12

Dry Creek

 26,695.43

 0.00

 0.00

26,695.43

13

South Vermillion Bluffs

 0.00

 5,173.48

 0.00

5,173.48

14

Sand Wash

 0.00

 8,668.92

 0.00

8,668.92

15

East Dry Creek

 0.00

 7,435.47

 0.00

7,435.47

16

Vermillion Bluffs

 15,658.18

 0.00

 0.00

15,658.18

17

Beaver Slide Draw

0.00 

 5,005.12

 5.99

5,011.11

18

North Fork Sand Wash

 0.00

 11,609.76

 0.00

11,609.76

19

Coffeepot Spring

 0.00

 12,731.65

 5.46

12,737.11

20

Dougout Draw

 0.00

 10,991.72

 0.00

10,991.72

21

Reservoir Draw

 0.00

 5,834.13

 1,039.47

6,873.60

22

Spence Gulch

0.00

 5,358.61

 0.00

5,358.61

23

Upper Little Snake

 0.00

 11,459.08

 0.00

11,459.08

24

Yellow Cat Wash

 0.00

 32,068.47

 3,812.90

35,881.37

25

Sheepherder Springs Draw

 0.00

 6,751.68

 0.00

6,751.68

26

Two Bar Draw

 0.00

 0.00

 8,664.72

8,664.72

27

East Boone Draw

 0.00

 7,072.61

 0.00

7,072.61

28

Sevenmile Ridge

 0.00

 9,768.47

 0.00

9,768.47

29

West Sevenmile

 0.00

 6,326.24

 0.00

6,326.24

30

Sevenmile Draw

 0.00

 6,926.83

 15.45

6,942.28

31

Lower Little Snake

 0.00

 7,335.96

 2,212.57

9,548.53

32

Shaffers Draw

 0.00

5,971.54

 0.00

5,971.54

33

Deep Canyon

 0.00

10,974.55

 3,178.46

14,153.01

34

Simsberry Draw

 0.00

6,346.56

 0.00

6,346.56

35

Bald Mountain Basin

 0.00

 0.00

 5,409.02

5,409.02

36

Sand Creek

 0.00

0.00

 7,475.83

7,475.83

37

Calico Draw

 0.00

 6,610.60

 0.00

6,610.60

38

Twelvemile Mesa

 0.00

10,238.88 

 0.00

10,238.88

39

Lone Tree Gulch

 0.00

 5,383.19

 2,006.27

7,389.46

40

Pinyon Ridge

 0.00

 0.00

 7,433.27

7,433.27

41

Crooked Wash

 0.00

13,391.12

 2,598.88

15,990.00

42

Danforth

 0.00

10,387.58

 1,221.93

11,609.51

43

Juniper Mountain

 0.00

0.00

 7,972.62

7,972.62

44

Axial Basin

 0.00

 9,458.76

 340.01

9,798.77

45

Little Yampa Canyon

 0.00

14,824.23

 1,130.26

15,954.49

46

Anthill Draw

 0.00

 7,606.95

 3,487.25

11,094.20

47

Cherokee Draw

 0.00

 9,639.74

 2,529.77

12,169.51

48

Big Hole

0.00

5,543.47

6.57

5,550.04

49

Greasewood Gulch

0.00

8,129.98

101.07

8,231.05

50

Dry Gulch

0.00

0.00

7,458.91

7,458.91

51

Thornburgh Gulch

0.00

0.00

6,798.02

6,798.02

52

Pole Gulch

0.00

0.00

7,254.72

7,254.72

53

Timberlake Creek

0.00

0.00

15,230.61

15,230.61

54

Serviceberry

0.00

6,806.38

281.93

7,088.31

55

Fly Creek

0.00

9,161.49

1,653.73

10,815.22

  

99,536.43 

379,507.76

114,668.26

593,712.45


Click here to view the West Cold Springs WSA Adjacent information Click here to view the Diamond Breaks WSA Adjacent information Click here to view the Ant Hills/Chew Winter Camp/Peterson Draw/Vale of Tears WSA Adjacent information Click here to view the Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent information

Click here to view a larger Lands Adjacent to Existing WSAs map


Number

Name

Acres

1

West Cold Springs WSA Adjacent

413.77

2

West Cold Springs WSA Adjacent

1,576.31

3

West Cold Springs WSA Adjacent

177.96

4

West Cold Springs WSA Adjacent

79.83

5

West Cold Springs WSA Adjacent

2,990.31

6

West Cold Springs WSA Adjacent

807.66

7

West Cold Springs WSA Adjacent

41,512.16

8

Diamond Breaks WSA Adjacent

1,397.89

9

Diamond Breaks WSA Adjacent

5,760.11

10

Diamond Breaks WSA Adjacent

39.99

11

Diamond Breaks WSA Adjacent

159.90

12

Diamond Breaks WSA Adjacent

360.75

13

Diamond Breaks WSA Adjacent

159.64

14

Diamond Breaks WSA Adjacent

4.70

15

Dinosaur North WSA Adjacent

26,991.29

16

Ant Hills WSA Adjacent

837.30

17

Peterson Draw WSA Adjacent

2,512.81

18

Peterson Draw WSA Adjacent

59.47

19

Peterson Draw WSA Adjacent

122.51

20

Douglas Mountain/WSA Adjacent

46,841.10

21

Vale of Tears WSA Adjacent

117.29

22

Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent

85.43

23

Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent

7.22

24

Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent

55.10

25

Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent

351.20

26

Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent

35.33

27

Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent

140.30

28

Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent

18.61

29

Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent

33.31

30

Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent

578.00

31

Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent

9.27

32

Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent

2,564.46

33

Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent

4,001.60

34

Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent

40.44

35

Cross Mountain WSA Adjacent

1,870.57

36

Peck Mesa/WSA Adjacent

6,732.25

  149,445.84


Managed for Lands with Wilderness Characteristics

Click here to view the entire map


Number

Name

Acres

1

Irish Canyon (actually managed as an ACEC)

 11,919.64

2

Dinosaur North Additions

 45,528.88

3

Cold Springs Mountain

 30,438.25

4

Vermillion Basin

 77,920.05


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