The BLM Rock Springs Field Office is currently revising its Rock Springs Resource Management Plan, which has implications for wildlife and sportsmen for many years to come. BLM manages more than 3.6 million acres of public land in the area and used for hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and other outdoor activities. WWF staff and our members regularly communicates with this field office and in lieu of the current Resource Management Plan. Our focus is on six unique landscapes for fish and wildlife, which are of considerable importance from a biological and recreational standpoint. Our six priority habitats include (details below):
• Big Sandy
• Red Desert to Hoback Basin mule deer migration corridor
• Jack Morrow Hills
• Adobe Town
• Greater Little Mountain Area
• Flaming Gorge area
The Rock Springs planning area for the Resource Management Plan includes portions of Lincoln, Sweetwater, Uinta, Sublette, and Fremont counties in southwestern Wyoming. This RMP will have long term implications on our wildlife resources and our outdoor heritage.
Rock Springs RMP
Wyoming Wildlife Federation is tracking the revision of the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan (RS RMP). We, along with nine other sportsmen organizations, want management prescriptions that highlight multiple-use on a landscape scale, conservation of biologically important areas, and opportunities for hunting, angling, and wildlife watching. Not every acre can accommodate every use (recreation, wildlife, mineral extraction, grazing, etc.) but the multiple-use tool does work across a swath of land.
The Big Sandy area is a highly productive biologic landscape, home to the Greater sage-grouse (GSG), pronghorn antelope, elk, mule deer, black bear and moose. The Big Sandy and Sweetwater River also reside here and are popular among anglers. The Prospect Mountains are utilized regularly for big game and greater sage-grouse hunting and were identified as a potential off-site mitigation area for big game, specifically mule deer, during the Pinedale Anticline and Jonah field natural gas development.
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 north east 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 of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and the Steamboat Mountain Special Management Area (SMA). Mule deer move through the Jack Morrow Hills and Pacific Creek, over the South Pass Historic Landscape ACEC and eventually crosses highway 28 where they enter the Big Sandy area.
The Jack Morrow Hills (JMH) Coordinated Activity Plan (CAP) was completed in 2006. The BLM has informed the public that this management plan will be folded into the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan.
The JMH is valuable in wildlife quality 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.
Adobe Town is a unique landscape with its sandstone spires and pinnacles. Adobe Town is managed as a Wilderness Study Area (WSA), split between that has acreage within both the Rock Springs and Rawlins BLM field offices, located southeast of Rock Springs in Wyoming’s Greater Red Desert.
The 82,000 acre WSA is the perfect place for a person to find solitude, big game, archeological and paleontological resources.
Devil’s Playground/Cedar Mountain
Devil’s Playground and Twin Buttes (23,481 acres) are managed as wilderness study areas and were recommended for wilderness designation in 1991. They are characterized by highly eroded badlands with scattered stands of aspen, juniper, and sagebrush/grassland mosaics.
In addition to the Pine Springs site, the southeast flanks of Black Mountain are covered by one of the most extensive tipi ring sites in southwestern Wyoming. Rockhounding is a popular activity as the buttes offer clasts of red quartzite, gray cherts, agates, jaspers, and attractive flints as well as outcrops of Tiger Chert.
Cedar Mountain is a popular with mule deer and pronghorn hunters and provides crucial winter habitat for mule deer along the eastern flanks. Rockhounding is popular here, with the possibility for semi-precious gemstones like pyrope garnet, emeral green chromium diopside, and diamonds as well as attractive chalcedony, agates, jaspers, jas-agates, cherts, and zebra flints.
For generations the Greater Little Mountain area of Wyoming has served as a hunting, fishing and recreational paradise for sportsmen. While relatively unknown to many, this area is truly one of the West’s hidden gems. The landscape is about 522,000 acres in size.
- February 2018: Draft RMP revision/Draft EIS
- 2019: Final RMP revision/Final EIS
- 2019/2020: Record of Decision