Protecting Wyoming's Red Desert

Jul 18, 2014

The Rock Springs BLM field office is currently revising its Resource Management Plan, which will impact how a large portion of the Red Desert is managed for the next 20-25 years. Our partners at the Wyoming Wilderness Association are working to ensure that special wild landscapes in the Red Desert are adequately protected during this administrative process so that these landscapes remain intact for future congressional protections.

 

We flew our partners at Wyoming Wilderness Association, media representitives and tribal members over the Oregon Buttes WSA which shelters one of the few remaining high desert ecosystems in the United States. It marks the point where the continental divide splits around the Great Divide Basin, a landmark known to Oregon Trail travelers as the halfway point of their journey. Sage grouse, coyotes, antelope, wild horses, a variety of raptors, and Wyoming's last remaining desert elk herd, the Sands Elk Herd, all make their home in the Oregon Buttes.

 

We saw the Boar's Tusk, an ancient volcano, which is part of the Killpecker Sand Dunes, the largest active dune fields in North America and flew over the Buffalo Hump WSA. This area provides habitat for mule deer, desert elk, pronghorn antelope, raptors, and mountain lions.

 

We also flew over the Honeycomb Buttes, brightly colored badlands that were formed via compaction of sediment deposited on the floor of the ancient Lake Gosiute. Here hikers can discover shells of ancient turtles and fossilized alligator bones.

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