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January 14, 2008

Contact: 
   Josh Skorcz
   307-367-5375

Pinedale BLM to Implement Mesa Seasonal Vehicle Closure 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Pinedale is preparing to close all BLM-administered public lands to motorized vehicle use on the Mesa south of Pinedale from Jan. 15 through April 30, 2008. The closure is effective for all motorized travel unless authorized by the Pinedale Field Manager. Examples of motorized vehicles include snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, cars, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. The closure is necessary to protect wintering big game and provide secure winter habitats.

Highways and county roads are not affected. Employees of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, law enforcement agencies, the BLM and previously approved wildlife researchers will continue vehicular use, however, when performing official duties. Also, operators of existing oil and gas facilities may perform maintenance and pumping, as approved. Travel also is authorized to the various winter well-drilling locations from the south access only. Use of these areas by non-motorized means is still allowed. Violations of the closure will be referred to the appropriate agency.

This seasonal closure is to reduce impacts to wintering wildlife and has been coordinated with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Impacts to wintering wildlife are compounded by significant human activity, such as day and night wildlife observation, still and video photography, snowmobiling, and antler gathering. Increased disturbance caused by motor vehicles could add to the stress on wintering big-game and result in a greater chance of animals not surviving the winter. Recent development of the Pinedale Anticline gas field has reduced the amount of winter habitat available for use and can compound the impacts from motorized vehicle use.

Proper winter range etiquette is encouraged if you access winter range by non-motorized means. For more information or for maps of the area, visit the BLM Pinedale Field Office at 1625 West Pine St., Pinedale, WY 82941; or call the Pinedale BLM office at 307-367-5300.

-BLM-