BOISE, Idaho – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today published the management plan for the six wilderness areas and 16 wild and scenic River segments in Owyhee County, Idaho, that were designated by the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (OPLMA). The plan forms the framework for managing approximately 517,000 acres of wilderness and about 325 miles of wild and scenic rivers.
The Plan identifies actions and land use guidelines designed to provide for public access and use of these special public lands today and into the future while preserving wilderness character, protecting the unique values recognized in the OPLMA designation, and enhancing wild and scenic river values.
“This plan is founded on years of local collaborative effort,” said Tim Murphy, Acting BLM Idaho State Director. “It preserves the treasures of the Owyhee Canyonlands while charting a course for future stewardship of the area.”
The areas affected by the Plan are the Big Jacks Creek, Little Jacks Creek, Bruneau-Jarbidge Rivers, North Fork Owyhee, Owyhee River, and Pole Creek wilderness areas and wild and scenic river segments within them.
Hunting, fishing and trapping managed under State and Federal regulations are authorized, as long as associated access is non-motorized and non-mechanized.
There will be no restrictions on the number of groups allowed to float each river daily, and the historic wild and scenic river group-size limit of 15 persons is retained. Groups and individuals embarking on single or multi-day float trips must complete a BLM self-issue permit, available at river launch sites, or from the BLM website.
Boaters, including kayakers, must carry and use a water-tight portable toilet, and deposit waste in an EPA-approved dump station at the end of their trip.
Wild and scenic river campers must contain campfires in a metal fire pan or on a raised fire blanket, and only dead and down woody material may be used for firewood. All campers – river or upland – must pack-in/pack-out all food, trash, burned material, etc.
Camping tents, “pop-up” hunting blinds, and other temporary shelters may be used while the owner remains in the wilderness but must be removed when the owner leaves the wilderness.
All proposed activities involving soil or vegetation disturbance or the use of motorized or mechanized vehicles or equipment must be evaluated to determine whether and to what extent the proposal could be authorized in a way that minimizes impacts to wilderness character and wild and scenic river values.
Limited use of motorized and mechanized vehicles and equipment may be authorized to maintain existing improvements (e.g., fences, springs, water troughs) or to continue activities associated with valid existing rights.
The Plan lists and designates several existing trails for both pedestrian and equestrian use.
Supplemental feed for riding and pack stock must be certified noxious weed-free. Goats are prohibited as pack stock, and domestic sheep grazing is prohibited to reduce the potential for contact with and disease transmission to California bighorn sheep.
Parties with an interest in this planning process will have 30 days from today to appeal the decision. An electronic version of the Plan may be found online at http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/prog/nepa_register/Owyhee-wilderness-WSR_plan.html.
A notice of appeal must be filed in the office of the authorized officer at
BLM Boise District Office
3948 Development Avenue
Boise, ID 83705
If a statement of reasons for the appeal is not included with the notice, one must be filed within 30 days after the notice of appeal is filed with the authorized officer.
Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA)
Office of Hearings and Appeals
U.S. Department of the Interior
801 North Quincy St., Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22203