BUFFALO HUMP WILDERNESS STUDY AREA
The Buffalo Hump WSA provides opportunities for experiencing naturalness, solitude, and primitive and unconfined recreation. The dynamic natural area includes undisturbed sagebrush-grassland ecosystem intermingled with active sand dunes. The dunes are remarkable in the way that the pure white sand changes the landscape with every wind storm, building 100-foot drifts and hiding all imprints of man’s visits. Few roads are found in the surrounding area, and the numerous sand hills, overhangs, and freshwater ponds provide solitary areas with few outside sounds. Possible recreational opportunities include hiking, backpacking, camping, bird watching, wildlife photography, horseback riding, and hunting.
This WSA also provides archaeological and wildlife values. These are two archaeological sites: the Finley site and the Eden-Farson site, where a distinctive projectile point gave evidence of one of man’s earliest inhabited sites in North America. The WSA, along with the Sand Dunes WSA, is part of the range of the only herd of desert elk in Wyoming. The area also attracts wild horses, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, raptors, and coyotes. In fact, part of the Buffalo Hump WSA lies within the Greater Sand Dunes Recreation Area of Critical Environmental Concern, which provides wildlife and cultural resource protection and promotes appropriate recreation use.
The WSA is composed of a sand dune area with many sand valleys, blowouts, dunes and hills. The northern and western part of the area contains ponds, grass-covered marshes and playas. The southern and eastern part includes active dunes and meadows and provides the most recreational opportunities. The Sand Dunes WSA sits next to this WSA, only separated by an abandoned railroad bed. 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.