Owl Creek WSA
Location: Hot Springs County
Nearest Town: Thermopolis (60 miles)
BLM Acreage: 710 acres
Recommended for Wilderness: 710 acres
Access Points & Directions:
Owl Creek WSA is composed of three separate tracts in Owl Creek. The boundary of Tract A is the Wind River Indian Reservation to the west, the Washakie Wilderness to the north and private land to the east. The boundary of Tract B is formed by the Washakie Wilderness to the north and private land to the west, south and east. Tract C is adjacent to the Washakie Wilderness, which forms the western boundary and Rock Creek, which forms the eastern boundary.
Access to this WSA is difficult because it is landlocked by private land. One can access the Owl Creek WSA from the north by using the Shoshone National Forest trail system.
Allowable Uses & Restrictions:
Owl Creek WSA has been closed to all motorized use. Please abide by all posted regulations.
Primitive and Unconfined Recreation:
The Owl Creek WSA provides outstanding opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation only insofar as it is contiguous with the adjacent Washakie Wilderness area. Visitor use is low (less than 100 visits per year). The area offers a scenic, high-quality experience for those seeking primitive recreation opportunities such as hiking, camping and horse riding. The perennial stream flows of Rock Creek and the South Fork of Owl Creek provide important trout fishing opportunities. Deer, elk, bighorn sheep and moose hunting or viewing is excellent on the irregularity timbered slopes and broad drainage bottoms.
The Owl Creek WSA encompasses 710 acres in three units. All three units are located on the major ridge line that divides Rock Creek and the South Fork of Owl Creek and is adjacent to the 703,981 acre Washakie Wilderness Area. The WSA is characterized by rugged terrain broken by steep draws, excellent vegetative cover and remoteness. The WSA provides important critical habitat for deer, moose, elk, bear and bighorn sheep. The altitude in the WSA ranges from 9,000 to 10,900 feet.
All three units are located on the major ridge line that divides Rock Creek and the South Fork of Owl Creek. The easternmost unit is positioned on the steep northeast-facing flank of the ridge dropping down to the Rock Creek drainage. The slope has a dense stand of conifers with sparsely vegetated alpine species at higher elevations. The western unit is on the southwest flank of the ridge in the drainage of the South Fork of Owl Creek. On this slope, conifers mingle with isolated pockets of aspen and areas of sagebrush vegetation. The central unit lies above timberline astride the ridge crest. Severe weathering has exposed extensive areas of rock outcrop and steep rock slopes sparsely vegetated with alpine species. Elevations in the WSA range from 9,000 feet along the South Fork of Owl Creek to 10,900 feet along the ridge crest.
The Owl Creek WSA contains a primitive jeep trail and a fence along the South Fork of Owl Creek and a fenced riparian enclosure in the Rock Creek drainage bottom. Their impact to the wilderness quality of the area is insignificant.
The Owl Creek WSA provides outstanding opportunities for solitude only insofar as it is a contiguous portion of the adjacent 704,274 acre Washakie Wilderness area. However, rugged terrain broken by steep draws and the excellent vegetative cover and the remoteness of the area provide good opportunities for solitude.
The WSA provides important critical habitat for deer, moose, elk, bears and bighorn sheep. There have been unconfirmed observations of Northern Rocky Mountain wolves and observations of grizzly bears in the vicinity of the WSA.
The WSA is also influenced by Upper Owl Creek Area ACEC management, which protects overlapping and important big game habitats and migration corridors, fisheries habitat, shallow soils, alpine vegetation and rare plants, diverse cultural resources and Native American traditional values, primitive recreational opportunities and high scenic quality.
The geology of the area is largely unexplored and offers excellent opportunities for study of tertiary volcanics in the area. There are two culturally significant sites which are believed to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. These sites are important for study of high altitude aboriginal occupation.