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Wilderness Study Areas

Negro Bill  Canyon WSAThe following Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) are managed by the Moab Field Office.


National Conservation Lands


Desolation Canyon WSA Floy Canyon WSA Coal Canyon WSA Spruce Canyon WSA Flume Canyon WSA Westwater Canyon WSA Lost Spring Canyon WSA Negro Bill Canyon WSA Mill Creek Canyon WSA Behind the Rocks WSA Maps of Moab Field Office Wilderness Study Areas

Three WSAs are located near the city of Moab: Negro Bill Canyon, Mill Creek Canyon and Behind the Rocks WSAs. Lost Spring Canyon WSA is adjacent to the northeastern boundary of Arches National Park. These WSAs range from 4,000 to 6,500 feet in elevation. Vegetation is sparse in most areas with much of the landscape characterized by open areas of rock. Exceptions include riparian zones along streams within the Mill Creek and Negro Bill WSAs. The best time to visit these areas is during the spring and fall months as summer daytime temperatures normally hover in the high nineties and often exceed 100 degrees.  

Five of the WSAs are located in the upland mountain region known as the Bookcliffs. The Bookcliffs rise to 9,600 feet and are characterized by steep V-shaped canyons. Upper elevation ridges are crowned by large stands of Douglas-fir and aspen. Lower elevation ridges are normally rough, rocky, dry and so steep that travel is confined to the canyon bottoms. The Bookcliffs are known for their large populations of black bear, mountain lion and elk. The WSAs in the Bookcliffs include Desolation Canyon WSA, Floy Canyon WSA, Coal Canyon WSA, Spruce Canyon WSA and Flume Canyon WSA. The Westwater Canyon WSA makes up part of the northern end of the Uncompaghre Plateau. This WSA reaches to 6,000 feet in elevation and is dominated by pinyon-juniper woodland and the deep canyons carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Recreation use of WSAs is limited to non-motorized and non-mechanized activities. Motorized vehicles and mountain bikes are allowed only on routes marked for their use.