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Elko District Office
Release Date: 03/25/13
Contacts: Lesli Ellis , 775-753-0386 ,
News Release No. ELDO 2013-035

Elko District BLM releases Route Study in Wilderness Study Areas

ELKO, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management, Elko District, Tuscarora Field Office has concluded a study of current ecological conditions and potential impacts from unauthorized off-highway vehicle use (OHV) in six Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) within the Tuscarora Field Office.

“This study helps us see what is actually happening on the ground in our WSAs,” said Zack Pratt, Outdoor Recreation Planner and project lead. “The data collected will help us better manage travel, minimize trespasses and develop better fire rehabilitation plans within the WSAs.”

The six WSAs studied within the Tuscarora Field Office were Cedar Ridge, Red Spring, Rough Hills, Little Humboldt River, Owyhee Canyon, and South Fork Owyhee Canyon. The project was funded by the National Landscape Conservation System. Pratt led a team of interns from the Great Basin Institute in data collection. The research, conducted during the summer of 2012, also examined OHV impacts on soil and vegetation.

Using baseline data from 1979, the research found that some previously known trespasses had disappeared, some trespasses were new, some had become shorter in length implying they have not been used frequently, and some had become longer implying current use. Understanding how routes are used and how they recover can aid the BLM in managing WSA routes and minimizing trespasses.

In 1964, Congress created the National Wilderness Preservation System to preserve some of America's wild lands in their natural condition. To qualify for Wilderness designation, an area must appear natural with human influence substantially unnoticeable, have outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined recreation, and be at least 5,000 acres. The area may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, scenic, or historic value. The Elko District Office manages 10 Wilderness Study Areas totalling more than 272,000 acres. They are places "untrammeled by man offering outstanding opportunities for solitude and recreation.”

The study is available on the Elko District website or you can contact Zack Pratt at (775) 753-0212 for more information.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Elko District Office   3900 E. Idaho St.,      Elko, NV 89801  

Last updated: 04-20-2015