OREGON BUTTES WILDERNESS STUDY AREA
The Oregon Buttes WSA provides opportunities for experiencing naturalness, solitude, primitive and unconfined recreation, and wilderness. Rising out of the northwestern portion of the Red Desert to an elevation of 8,612 feet, the landmark dominates the surrounding countryside with its’ grandeur and diversity. The area includes a wide variety of vegetation types including limber pine stands, thick aspen stands and wet meadows. Visibility from the butte tops is outstanding, offering miles of scenic vistas including the Wind River Mountains on the north to the Unitah Mountain Range to the southwest.
The WSA is also a major historic landmark for travelers of the Oregon Trail, which is located less than seven miles to the north of the WSA. The Buttes denoted the point where nearly 300,000 emigrants passed over the Continental Divide and into the Pacific watershed between 1843 and 1863. Emigrants viewed the Buttes as the halfway point on their journey. Additionally, the remains of Indian tipi rings can be found in the Oregon Buttes Cultural Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) portion of the WSA.
Being prime raptor habitat, the buttes provide bird watchers with a variety of species and uninterrupted observation. The WSA is also a prime area for scenic and wildlife photography, offering a unique variety of settings and subjects. Other recreation opportunities include hiking, rock climbing, rock hounding, backpacking, hunting, horseback riding and sightseeing. 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.