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.