MEDICINE LODGE WILDERNESS STUDY AREA
The WSA consists of spectacular canyon walls towering 1,000 feet above Medicine Lodge Creek. Elevations range between 5,100 and 8,500 feet. Medicine Lodge Canyon rates extremely high in scenic value, which is based on the rich color combinations, vertical cliffs, spires, formations, and the variation in form, pattern, texture and type of vegetation found throughout the area. The supplemental values inherent in the WSA definitely enhance the wilderness values of the WSA. The area includes crucial winter range for elk and deer, while bighorn sheep may use parts of the WSA as summer range. The exposed geologic features in the steep walls of the canyons provide the opportunity to study the geologic history of the area. The Madison Limestone Formation is a storehouse of fossils such as brachiopods, corals, bryozoans and crinoids stems.
The WSA is bounded mainly by the Cold Springs Road on the south, the Black Butte Road on the north and west, and the Bighorn National Forest on the east. Motorized travel is expressly prohibited. Additionally, the WSA is closed to mineral entry, including gold panning.
Access to wild lands inherently requires good navigational skills and four-wheel drive or high-clearance vehicles. Visitors should be prepared for adverse weather and road conditions. The WSAs in the BLM Field Office are primarily accessed by unnamed or unsigned two-track roads that in many cases may be difficult to find without sufficient navigational skills and equipment.
Wilderness Study Areas
WSAs are undeveloped federal lands that retain their primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, and are managed so as not to impair their suitability for preservation as wilderness. Backcountry recreation is a common use along with Leave no Trace Outdoor ethics. Please be advised these areas are restricted and do not allow for the use of motorized and mechanized equipment.