The BLM Rock Springs Field Office is currently revising its Rock Springs Resource Management Plan. This plan has implications for wildlife and sportsmen for the next 15-20 years, plus the potential to make lasting changes to the landscape, both positive and not. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages 3.6 million acres of public land in the area. This area is commonly used for hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. The Federation’s staff and members regularly communicate with this field office when discussing wildlife and habitat in the area.
This management plan sets the stage for how this landscape will look for nearly the next two decades. Learn more about how the Federation looks to protect the area’s natural and historic values in this episode of This American Land.
Six Priority Habitats
Collectively, groups involved in the RMP are focusing on six unique landscapes for fish and wildlife, which are of considerable importance from both the resource and recreational perspective.
The Big Sandy area is a highly productive biologic landscape. It’s home to the Greater sage-grouse, pronghorn antelope, elk, mule deer, black bear, and moose. The Big Sandy and Sweetwater River also flow through here and are popular fishing waters among anglers. The Prospect Mountains are used regularly for big game and greater sage-grouse hunting and were identified as a potential off-site mitigation area for mule deer. This area is home to one of Wyoming’s most coveted hunting experiences with an additional late-season limited quota mule deer hunting season.
Red Desert to Hoback Basin Mule Deer Migration Corridor
The Red Desert to Hoback mule deer migration corridor is 150-miles in length. As the name describes, the mule deer begin their spring migration from the Red Desert area north of I-80 and just northeast of Rock Springs in the Leucite Hills. The mule deer travel north from the Leucite Hills where three stopover areas exist onward to North Table Mountain and into the Steamboat Mountain area. Mule deer move through the Jack Morrow Hills and Pacific Creek, over the South Pass Historic Landscape and eventually cross highway 28 where they enter the Big Sandy area. The high alpine summer range of this migration provides incredible big game hunting opportunities via horseback and backpacking.
Jack Morrow Hills/Northern Red Desert
The Jack Morrow Hills are abundant in quality wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities. The area consists of about 620,000 acres including popular landscapes such as Steamboat Mountain, the Killpecker Sand Dunes, Boar’s Tusk, and Oregon Buttes. The sporting heritage is strong in this rugged, desert landscape of buttes, mesas, and bluffs. This includes upland bird hunting, mule deer, antelope, and an extremely unique “desert” elk hunt. Additionally, folks can find nature’s largest sandboxes in the country with an off-road vehicle “play area” and vistas that resemble more of the Middle-East than Wyoming.
At 19 miles wide and 26 miles across, Adobe Town is a huge unique landscape with its sandstone spires and pinnacles. Located southeast of Rock Springs in Wyoming’s Greater Red Desert, it is the perfect place for a person to find solitude, big game, archeological and paleontological history. The incredible views from Skull Rim and towering rock formations are worth the visit.
Greater Little Mountain Area
The Greater Little Mountain Area (GLMA) is a unique high desert region regarded by biologists, resource managers, and sportsmen and sportswomen to contain some of the most sensitive fish and wildlife habitat in Wyoming. This habitat also presents tremendous opportunities for hunters and anglers. The GLMA is one of the most sought after hunting areas for mule deer and elk, and its small mountain streams hold abundant Colorado River cutthroat trout. All of this under a backdrop of rolling aspen groves, pine forests, and red-striped badlands. Outdoor recreation opportunities are everywhere here.
Twin Buttes/Devil’s Playground
The Devil’s Playground and Twin Buttes areas are incredibly important in their wildlife habitats, cultural significance, and night sky clarity for viewing stars. This is an area where locals from Rock Springs and Evanston can hunt deer and elk general hunting areas every year. It is also a popular sightseeing visit for people visiting the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.
Wyoming Wildlife Federation has helped to draft management recommendations for the Rock Springs RMP
WWF, along with the Muley Fanatic Foundation, Bowhunters of Wyoming, Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, Wyoming Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and the Western Bear Foundation have drafted a letter addressed to the Rock Springs BLM Field Office, with management recommendations. The letter is meant to show a unified hunting and angling voice regarding specific management protocols that ensure healthy wildlife populations, healthy fisheries, and outdoor access opportunities.
Read the letter
The Issues Addressed
Each Program that Wyoming Wildlife Federation runs affects a variety of different conservation Issues. Click on an Issue to find out more about it.