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Owyhee Wilderness and Wild & Scenic River Management 


 
panorama of Little Jacks Creek Wilderness




The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act (OPLMA) (P.L. 111-11, Title I - Subtitle F) designated 517,000 acres of public lands in Owyhee County in southwestern Idaho as Wilderness and 325 miles of waterways as Wild and Scenic rivers.

The BLM is finalizing a Wilderness and Wild & Scenic River Management Plan (WMP) for these areas. 

The Plan identifies actions and land use guidelines designed to provide for the use and enjoyment of these special public lands today and into the future, while preserving wilderness character, and protecting the unique values recognized in the OPLMA designation and enhancing wild and scenic river values.  


hiker in the Bruneau Canyon


The Plan is designed to protect the unique values recognized in the Omnibus Act's designation in the context of the BLM’s multiple-use mission.

Selected Highlights 

Hunting, fishing and trapping (with proper license) are authorized, as long as associated access is non-motorized and non-mechanized.

There will be no restrictions on the number of groups allowed to float each river daily (group-size limit of 15 persons).  

Groups and individuals embarking on float trips must complete a BLM self-issue permit, available at river launch sites or online.

Boaters, including kayakers, must carry and use a water-tight portable toilet, and empty it into an EPA-approved dump station after their trip.

Riverside campfires must be contined in a metal fire pan or on a raised fire blanket, and only dead and down woody material may be used for firewood.  All campers – river or upland – must pack-in/pack-out all food, trash, burned material, etc. 

Camping tents, “pop-up” hunting blinds, and other temporary shelters may be used while the owner is in the Wilderness but must be removed when the owner leaves the Wilderness.

Several existing trails are designated for both pedestrian and equestrian use.


All proposed activities that would involve soil or vegetation disturbance or the use of motorized/mechanized vehicles or equipment must be evaluated to determine whether and to what extent the proposal could be authorized to minimize impacts to wilderness character and wild and scenic river values.

The BLM will issue Special Recreation Permits to the following entities – including commercial enterprises – as long as 1) they provide services deemed necessary for realizing specified purposes of the wilderness areas, 2) they are wilderness-dependent, and 3) they do not degrade wilderness character:

licensed outfitters and guides 
entities whose mission includes promoting wilderness ethics, Tread Lightly!, Leave No Trace, or 
     environmental education 
entities whose primary purpose is to support individuals with disabilities


 

 

 Maps | Wilderness Fact Sheet


A separate travel management plan in being developed for routes in Owyhee County outside of designated Wilderness.

An exchange of lands that would allow the BLM to acquire State land within Wilderness boundaries is under consideration which would allow both the United States (BLM) and the State of Idaho (Department of Lands) to manage and enhance their respective ownerships more efficiently.


 

Bruneau River, southern Idaho