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Fact Sheet

Price Wilderness Characteristics

Land Use Planning and Wilderness Characteristics
Due to recent judicial decisions and internal review of Resource Management Plan (RMP) revision efforts, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is addressing how non-wilderness study area (WSA) lands with wilderness characteristics are considered during the land use planning process. A Supplemental Draft RMP/EIS for the Price Field Office Resource Management Plan is being prepared to address these issues. The original Price Field Office Draft RMP and EIS, prepared to guide management of these lands, was released for public review on July 16, 2004. 

 
This approach to land use planning will ensure that adequate consideration is given to wilderness charac¬teristics during the RMP process by including at least one alternative that is analyzed for managing these needs. This alternative outlines protective management prescriptions that may be used to manage non-WSA lands with wilderness characteristics. The goal of this project is to ensure that adequate consideration is given to wilderness characteristics, an adequate range of alternatives is considered for these lands, and an adequate analysis is prepared from which to base future land use decisions. This analysis will be used in future oil and gas leasing decisions.

 

Wilderness Study Area Determinations

 

Under this revised approach, the BLM will not establish new WSAs, since the BLM does not have legal au¬thority to take this type of action. The BLM may, however, inventory lands for wilderness characteristics and consider management to maintain this resource throughout the land use planning process. This decision will strengthe BLM’s land use planning process and increase the range of alternatives used to make sound planning decisions.

 

Scope of the Project

The Price Field Office planning area encompasses public lands managed by the BLM in Carbon and Emery Counties, Utah. This includes approximately 2.5 million acres of BLM-administered surface lands and 2.8 million acres of federal mineral estate underlying federal, State, and private lands.

 

There are multiple areas within the Price Field Office (totaling 937,440 acres), outside of existing WSAs, which have wilderness characteristics.  The BLM’s land use planning handbook (Manual Handbook H-1601-1) pro¬vides guidance for consideration of non-WSA lands with wilderness characteristics in land use planning.  The hand¬book provides that the BLM may consider these lands and resource values in planning, and prescribe measures to manage for their wilderness characteristics.  These characteristics include the appearance of naturalness, outstand¬ing opportunities for solitude, and outstanding opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation.