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Powderhorn Primitive Area


Powderhorn WSA/Primitive Area/ISA (Photo by Bob Wick -- Please note that this photo was taken within the Powderhorn Wilderness and the Powderhorn WSA is located within the wilderness.)The Powderhorn WSA is sometimes referred to as the Powderhorn Primitive Area or Instant Study Area (ISA). This WSA is an isolated, patchwork land system characterized by dense forests and deep drainages, and is adjacent to the Powderhorn Wilderness.

Access to the Powderhorn WSA is difficult, as the area is very secluded. There are no trails, trailheads, or developed recreation facilities within the area. The WSA's remoteness provides opportunities for solitude and wildlife viewing. It is bordered by the East Fork Creek on the Eastern edge. The unusual shape and size of this WSA is due to congressional consideration of adjacent lands as proposed wilderness.

Total Area:
6,944 acres
Elevation Range: ~10,000 to ~11,200 feet
BLM Field Office: Gunnison
Designated: 1980 (Wilderness Study Area)

Location: The Powderhorn WSA is located in Gunnison County, approximately 26 miles southwest of Gunnison; seven miles north of Lake City. It borders the northern boundary of the Powderhorn Wilderness.

Flora & Fauna: Vegetation consists mainly of spruce-fir, ponderosa, aspen, alpine grasses, sedges, forbs, and a small willow species. Fauna includes mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and trout.

Recreation: Activities include hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain climbing, and photography. For more information, visit the Recreation page. Please note that though unconfined recreation is encouraged in WSAs, specific types of recreation may be barred from a specific area to prevent degradation of natural conditions.

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Gunnison Field Office  |  (970) 642-4940  |  650 S. 11th St., Gunnison, CO 81230