Volume 2, Number 46 - February 13, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
BLM considers four wild and scenic rivers
Public lands along the East Fork River, Scab Creek, Silver Creek and the Green River may end up classified as Wild and Scenic Rivers.
The Pinedale Bureau of Land Management, as part of the process of revising the Pinedale Resource Management Plan, is also considering a recently completed report indicating that public lands along these waterways meet the suitability factors for classification by congress as Wild and Scenic Rivers.
To meet the eligibility criteria, a waterway must be free flowing (but not necessarily containing water year-round) and possess "at least one outstandingly remarkable value."
The report gives the public lands a tentative classification as wild, scenic or recreational, but congress will make the actual classification. Meanwhile, management efforts must focus on protecting the characteristics that make the parcels suitable for the designation.
According to the wild and scenic river review report, "no uses of the reviewed Bureau of Land Management-administered public land surfaces (public lands) will be authorized which could impair any outstandingly remarkable values they may contain, or would otherwise reduce or destroy their potential eligibility classification or suitability for consideration for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System."
The BLM's wild and scenic river review report prescribes the interim management objectives for the four eligible rivers while the agency awaits a final determination by Congress.
The East Fork Unit, which includes the East Fork River and Irish Canyon Creek, begins in Section 4 and ends in Section 9 of T. 31 N., R. 105 W. This area is immediately adjacent to the Bridger-Teton National Forest in the Big Sandy/Boulder country. Included are one public land parcel and 1.75 miles along the East Fork River, and two public land parcels and 1.16 miles along Irish Canyon Creek. According to the report, this is a pristine river that cuts through a rugged canyon with exposed rock faces intermingled with wet meadows. A number of waterfalls and pools are found though the waterway segment that runs through a mixed forest. In addition, this section of Irish Canyon Creek contains the only known population of genetically pure Colorado River cutthroat trout on the west side of the Wind River Range.
The East Fork Unit was granted a tentative wild classification, and interim management practices "will focus on maintaining or enhancing the outstandingly remarkable scenic, fishery and ecological values and maintaining the relatively primitive, pristine, rugged and unaltered character of the area. Any activities that would conflict with this objective are prohibited."
The Green River Unit begins in Section 2, T. 36 N., R. 111 W., and ends in Sections 8 and 9 of T. 35 N., R. 111 W. and includes 8.56 miles of waterway from the Warren Bridge area northward. This river segment is described as a pristine riparian river valley, a destination recreation area, and an area related to historical tie hacking.
Public lands consist of about 80 percent of the lands within this segment, meaning that nearly 20 percent of the lands within the segment are private property. But the BLM report notes that the public lands are manageable by the BLM as a wild and scenic river. Other factors that complement and enhance this manageability, according to the report, include "the review segment is part of a Special Recreation Management Area which stipulates a controlled surface occupancy restriction with 1/4 mile on both sides of the river, which is compatible with a wild and scenic river designation as it restricts incompatible uses occurring on public lands within the review segment as well as on the interspersed parcels of private land."
This unit was granted a tentative classification as scenic with management efforts to focus on maintaining or enhancing the outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational and historic values and the relatively unmodified character of the area in a near-natural setting.
"Any activities that would conflict with this objective are prohibited," the report stated. "Some intrusions on the public lands involved may be allowed if they are not readily evident or are short-lived, and do not adversely affect maintaining the scenic classification."
The Scab Creek Unit includes 2.38 miles along Scab Creek and 1.83 miles along Jenna Creek, all within the Scab Creek Wilderness Study Area (T. 33 N., R. 106 W., Sections 17, 19 and 20). All 4.21 miles have tentatively been classified as wild, for its steep walls, waterfalls and rock bluffs intermixed with open glades and isolated riparian areas. This unit consists of all public lands and is immediately adjacent to the Bridger Wilderness of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The management focus is to maintain the wild, unaltered character of the area.
The Silver Creek Unit includes 1.8 miles along the North Fork of Silver Creek and an unnamed tributary, located in Sections 4 and 5 of T. 32 N., R. 106 W. This parcel includes a steep, rocky canyon with a 100-foot waterfall. It was granted a tentative classification as wild, so the management focus will be on maintaining the relatively primitive, pristine, rugged and unaltered character of the area.
The wild and scenic review report is part of the management situation analysis being used for the Pinedale Resource Management Plan revision. Public comment is currently being accepted on the wild and scenic river review results as part of the scoping process for the Pinedale RMP revision process.
More information on the Pinedale RMP can be found on the Internet at www.pinedalermp.com.
The public scoping period for the RMP ends April 7. Written comments should be received prior to then and can be mailed to Pinedale RMP/EIS, BLM, Pinedale Field Office, P.O. Box 768, Pinedale, Wyo., 82941; e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org; or uploaded directly on the website mentioned above. In addition, public open houses will be held March 3 at the BLM office in Rock Springs, March 10 at the Pinedale Library and March 11 at the Marbleton Fire Hall. All the open houses will be held from 3 to 8 p.m.
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