North Fork of the Powder River WSA Location: Johnson County
Nearest Towns: Buffalo (30 miles)
BLM Acreage: 10,089 acres
Recommended for Wilderness: 0 acres
Access Points & Directions:
There is no direct public access to the North Fork Wilderness Study Area (WSA). Access is controlled by adjacent private landowners and landowner permission is required to cross any private lands.
Allowable Uses & Restrictions:
Motorized travel is expressly prohibited. Additionally, the WSA is closed to mineral entry, including gold panning. Hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, camping and other non-motorized recreational activities are permitted within the North Fork WSA. If you have questions related to a specific activity, please contact the Buffalo Field Office at 307-684-1100.
Primitive & Unconfined Recreation:
The WSA offers outstanding opportunities for the user to experience primitive recreation because visitors can participate in hiking, backpacking, fishing, hunting and sightseeing. Recreational use of the major canyons will be limited for the most part to canyon bottoms. Access points into those canyons are limited; the canyons are very steep and rocky.
The North Fork of the Powder River WSA encompasses 10,089 acres of public land with no state or private inholdings. The area is moderately steep, forested terrain, with pine and fir being the principle tree species. Pass Creek and the North Fork of the Powder River are rugged, scenic canyons running through the area. Falcons, hawks and eagles migrate through the area and elk winter in the North Fork Canyon.
The North Fork of the Powder River WSA is predominantly natural, with several minor human imprints that are associated with range improvement facilities. The WSA is moderately forested on steeper slopes and grass covered on the gentler slopes. The area is dissected by four canyons, two major and two minor, all of which offer spectacular untouched natural scenery.
Bald eagles and peregrine falcons, both classified as endangered species, migrate through the area; however, none are known to nest in the area.
Most of the human imprints are associated with grazing management facilities - fences, reservoirs, windmill and water troughs. Several short vehicle routes that enter the WSA are associated with grazing management; the effects of these on naturalness are minor. Improvements are scattered throughout the WSA, not concentrated in any one area. Most of them have been in place for many years, and they generally blend well into the natural setting.
The North Fork of the Powder River WSA contains outstanding opportunities for solitude. The WSA is very rugged, predominantly forested and bisected by several major canyons that provide numerous opportunities to avoid the sights and sounds of other visitors. Freedom of movement in and out of the major canyons is limited by the steep topography.
The entire North Fork WSA provides critical winter range for elk. The Wyoming Game and Fish Dept. has rated the North Fork of the Powder River Class II (fishery of statewide importance) and Pass Creek Class III (fishery of regional importance).