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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
Lander Field Office
 
Release Date: 05/12/10
Contacts: Sarah Beckwith    
  307-347-5207    

BLM and NOLS Team-up for Monitoring Project


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lander Field Office (LFO) and students and instructors from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) recently spent a day monitoring Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) in the Granite Mountains, east of Jeffrey City, Wyo.

NOLS Field Instructor Christian Gauderer assists students Varley Hopkinson, Maegan Fitzgerald and Zach Parelman as they monitor wilderness characteristics in the Split Rock Wilderness Study Area.

NOLS Field Instructor Christian Gauderer assists students Varley Hopkinson, Maegan Fitzgerald & Zach Parelman as they monitor wilderness characteristics in the Split Rock WSA.

Students from the NOLS Outdoor Educator Semester hike in the Split Rock Wilderness Study Area.

Students from the NOLS Outdoor Educator Semester hike in the Split Rock WSA.

The morning began with a safety and orientation talk, after which BLM Recreation Technician Brandon Thielke discussed various wilderness characteristics and values the group would be documenting, including evidence of development, naturalness, viewsheds, and opportunities for solitude. Armed with worksheets, maps and GPS units, the students and instructors hiked into the Split Rock and Miller Springs WSAs. By day's end, the group had monitored approximately 15 miles within and near the boundaries of the WSAs and logged a combined total of 84 hours of service.

"Monitoring like this helps us ensure that WSAs are not being degraded, and that they continue to offer people opportunities to have wilderness experiences," said Thielke. "The NOLS course was a huge asset to the ongoing monitoring effort." In preparation for the project, Thielke visited the students in a classroom setting in mid-April and spoke with them about multiple use land management, wilderness and WSAs.

WSAs, which were identified by the BLM in 1991, are managed to preserve their wilderness values until Congress either designates them as wilderness or releases them for non-wilderness management. The LFO manages eight WSAs.

The students are participants in a 94-day Outdoor Educator Semester offered by NOLS. The semester is geared towards aspiring and practicing professional educators and students studying outdoor education. Students were in the midst of the rock climbing section of the semester, learning and teaching various climbing techniques, when a windy day provided the ideal opportunity to stay on the ground and monitors the WSAs.

"Many of our students are not from the West," said NOLS Field Instructor Christian Gauderer, "and Federal land management is not a big issue in their lives. These courses give them an idea about what land management is all about."

After hiking for a few hours in the Split Rock WSA, Maegan Fitzgerald of Texas concluded that the day gave her "a real perspective of the full range of what's going on on our public lands - from the ground up."

For more information, please contact Brandon Thielke at 307-332-8400 or visit http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Lander/wsa.html. To learn more about NOLS, visit http://www.nols.edu/.



The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.
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Lander Field Office   1335 Main      Lander, WY 82520-0589  

Last updated: 05-12-2010