Alkali Creek WSA
Location: Big Horn County
Nearest Town: Hyattville (7 miles)
BLM Acreage: 10,100 acres
Recommended for Wilderness: 8,187 acres
Access Points & Directions:
The WSA boundaries follow the Alkali Road/ Red Gulch Back Country Byway on the east and north, and a two-track trail along the western boundary. The southern boundary follows state and private property lines and Alkali Road.
Allowable Uses & Restrictions:
Motorized use is limited to designated routes. Motorized use off of designated routes is strictly prohibited. Please abide by all posted regulations.
Primitive & Unconfined Recreation:
The Alkali Creek WSA contains outstanding opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation. The land in the WSA in relatively unencumbered by human-made features; one could expect to use the area without constantly encountering reminders of human presence. The size of the unit may be somewhat confining for some recreational pursuits; however, the rugged character of the landscape, the topographic and vegetative diversity of the area, and the lack of human-made confinements such as fences tend to counter the potential restriction of activity due to size.
In addition, the outstanding scenic vistas of the surrounding mountains and the basin enhance the recreational values.
The Alkali Creek WSA encompasses 10,100 acres of BLM-administered land surrounding an island of private lands totaling 680 acres. There are no private lands in the WSA and access to the private section is provided for through a cherry-stem road. Elevations range from about 4,850 to 7,000 feet. The WSA falls within an elk wintering area, is critical winter range for mule deer, and encompasses at least two sage grouse strutting grounds.
The Alkali Creek WSA is located in the transition zone between the lower west slopes of the Bighorn Mountains and the floor of the Bighorn Basin. Two major land forms are found in the WSA: escarpments, which are deep, steep-sided drainages which gently roll to almost flat areas, and rock outcrops, which are linear in nature and result in distinct layers or shelves. Soil colors range from beige to pinks and reds.
Vegetation is diverse. Juniper, sagebrush, grasses and mountain mahogany are common, and limber pine is found in some drainage in conjunction with the juniper. Drainage bottoms which are more mosaic in character exhibit cottonwoods, skunk bush and grasses.
The Alkali Creek WSA is predominantly natural with a few human imprints, such as fences and vehicle routes. These intrusions are visually insignificant, few in number and sufficiently dispersed so as not to be a major impact of the naturalness of the unit. A road that provides access to an inholding of private lands and the private inholding was excluded from the WSA during the wilderness inventory process because it did not contain wilderness values.
Outstanding opportunities for solitude exist in the WSA. Vegetative and topographic screenings are major features of the area’s character. The stands of juniper and mountain mahogany help limit sight distances and reduce the visibility of activities in the area. Rock outcrops enhance the opportunity for solitude by providing additional screening. The ruggedness of the drainages enhances solitude by reducing ease of travel though the unit. Opportunities for solitude are enhanced by the relative absence of use, or at least evidence of use.
The entire WSA falls within an area where more than 300 elk winter and that is critical winter range for mule deer. The WSA encompasses at least two sage grouse strutting grounds. Golden eagles and other raptors are known to inhabit the unit.
The study unit is known to have archaeological values including pictographs and rock shelters.