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February 12, 2008

Contact: Wally Mierzejewski
(307) 828-4508

Kemmerer BLM Office Closes Winter Range Areas
To Protect Big Game Populations

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Kemmerer Field Office reminds all public land users that all BLM-administered public lands in the Raymond Mountain Wilderness Study Area, and in the Slate Creek, Rock Creek, and Bridger Creek Big Game Winter Ranges are closed to all motorized vehicle travel (e.g., snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), pickups, and sport utility vehicles) effective from January 1 through April 30, 2008.

This action is taken to protect crucial wintering ranges for elk, moose, antelope, and mule deer. This annual closure has been in effect since 2002 and was made in consultation with Federal and local agencies and the public. No motorized travel into this area will be allowed unless permission is granted by the BLM Kemmerer Field Office. Highways and County Roads are not affected.

When performing official duties, employees of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, the Lincoln and Uinta County Sheriff’s Offices, and the BLM are exempt from this order. Operators of existing oil and gas facilities may perform maintenance and pumping, as approved in their permits. Livestock operators may perform permitted activities. Utility companies may conduct emergency maintenance following notification to the Field Office. Other users of public lands may be granted an exception to this closure by submitting a written application to the Kemmerer Field Office for review and approval. Use of these areas by non-motorized means (i.e., walking, horseback, mountain biking) is still allowed.

This seasonal closure is necessary to protect wintering deer, moose, elk and antelope, which are currently suffering from severe winter conditions. These impacts to wintering wildlife are currently compounded by significant human activity, such as day-and-night wildlife observation, photography /videography, snowmobiling, and antler-gathering. These types of activities during difficult winter periods can increase the number of animal winter mortalities.

The following BLM-administered lands are included in this emergency seasonal closure:

  • The Raymond Mountain Wilderness Study Area located approximately 15 miles north of Cokeville.
  • The Slate Creek area on all BLM-administered lands south of Fontenelle Creek, west and north of Highway 189, and east of the crest of Slate Creek Ridge.
  • The Rock Creek area on all BLM-administered lands south of County Road 204 (Pine Creek Road), west of the crest of Dempsey Ridge, west of Fossil Butte National Monument, north and east of Highway 30.
  • The Bridger Creek area on all BLM-administered lands south of Highway 30; west of Fossil Ridge; west of the Bear River Divide; north of the Uinta-Lincoln County line; and east of the Utah-Wyoming border and southeast of Highway 89.

For more information or for maps of the areas closed to motor vehicles, contact Wally Mierzejewski, Outdoor Recreation Planner for the BLM Kemmerer Field Office, at 312 Highway 189 North, Kemmerer, or call the BLM Kemmerer Field Office at 307-828-4500.

- BLM -