Bighorn Tack-On WSA
The Bighorn Tack-On WSA includes public lands in both Montana (2,470 acres) and Wyoming (80 acres). This information encompasses the entire WSA.
|Carbon County, MT|
| ||Big Horn County, WY|
|Nearest Towns: ||Lovell, WY |
|BLM Acreage: |
2,470 acres (MT)
80 acres (WY)
Recommended for Wilderness:
|2,470 acres (MT) |
| ||838 acres (MT outside of WSA) |
| ||80 acres (WY) |
| ||273 acres (WY outside of WSA) |
Primitive & Unconfined Recreation: Two caves in the WSA provide spelunking opportunities. These opportunities could not be considered outstanding, however, because of limited access and, in one situation, a dangerous point of entry. For experienced climbers, the possibility of rock climbing exists on some of the sheer limestone cliff faces and pinnacles.
Hiking and associated photography and sightseeing activities are outstanding. The topographic relief, the unique geologic formations, and the wide expanse of rugged country within view from the ridge tops present a variety of challenges to potential users.
Hunting could not be considered outstanding in relation to opportunities in adjacent areas. Big game species, primarily mule deer, are more frequently found on the National Forest lands to the west. There is some black bear hunting in the Pryor Mountains, but this too occurs most commonly on National Forest lands. Some hunting would occur within the area in association with the more concentrated activity on adjacent lands.
Description: The WSA is a narrow strip of public land in Montana and Wyoming bordering the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. Elevations range 4,040 ft. in the south to 8,100 ft. in the north.
Naturalness: The WSA appears to be in a natural state because of the scattered nature of the constructed features and the topographic and vegetative screening of the surrounding environment.
There are some signs of human presence. The WSA contains a BLM horse trap used for capturing excess wild horses. It is constructed of native materials and is well screened by vegetation and topographic features. The area contains several uranium prospect pits and approximately 1.5 miles of low quality two-track vehicle ways. There is a radio repeater in Section 21 along the north boundary of the WSA.
Solitude: The WSA is approximately nine miles in length and less than a half-mile wide in most areas. Toward the southern end it widens to approximately one mile. This portion of the area consists of the crest of Sykes Ridge and the west-trending slopes just below Sykes Ridge. The crest of the ridge primarily comprises steep, rocky outcroppings.
From Sykes Ridge, wilderness users would be able to detect traffic on the Bad Pass Highway within the Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area. At most points, this highway is approximately one and one-half miles to the east
Outstanding opportunities for solitude in the tack-on itself are limited because of the elevated, open nature of Sykes Ridge, the nearby location of the boundary road, and offsite impacts associated with the Bad Pass Highway. Small timbered areas in the northern portion of the area provide some areas with opportunities for solitude.
Special Features: The scenic quality of the surrounding area is outstanding. The deeply incised Big Horn Canyon is clearly visible to the east and northeast from Sykes Ridge. To the south and southwest, the hillsides and steeply incised canyons of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range (PMWHR) are within view. Colorful marine rock formations lie exposed within the Bighorn Canyon and the PMWHR. Their hues range from blues, greens and grays to the reds of the Chugwater formation. Conifers in the higher elevation National Forest lands to the west and northwest create a predominantly deep green contrast to the more and lowlands of the horse range.
Because the WSA is located within the PMWHR, wild horse viewing opportunities from the WSA’s main ridge line are excellent.
Archaeological sites have been recorded within the study area. Lithic scatters dominate the site types found in the unit, but one vision-quest site has been discovered as well.
The small herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in this area is an important supplemental feature.