“This Wilderness Management Plan is founded on years of local collaborative effort,” said BLM Boise District Manager Jim Fincher. “It provides for future stewardship and preservation of the treasures of the Owyhee Canyonlands.”
The areas affected by the WMP are the Big Jacks Creek, Little Jacks Creek, Bruneau-Jarbidge Rivers, North Fork Owyhee, Owyhee River, and Pole Creek wilderness areas and the 16 wild and scenic river segments that flow through them. These canyonlands are now included in the more than 110 million acres of the National Wilderness Preservation System.
BLM Wilderness Project Lead John Sullivan said, “The Plan provides for public access and use of these special public lands today and into the future while preserving wilderness character, protecting and enhancing the unique values recognized in the designation.”
Parties with an interest in this planning process have 30 days to appeal the decision beginning on the date the Notice of Availability is published in the Federal Register. An electronic version of the WMP is available online at http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/prog/nepa_register/Owyhee-wilderness-WSR_plan.html.
Hunting, fishing and trapping managed under state and federal regulations are authorized, provided that 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 Environmental Protection Agency-approved dump station at the end of their trip.
Wild and scenic river campers must contain campfires in a metal fire pan or a fire blanket raised off the ground, 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. Individuals wanting to locate a temporary blind in wilderness prior to their hunt must obtain a free permit for that purpose from the BLM Boise District Office, Twin Falls District Office or Owyhee Field Office.
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 identifies 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.
If a notice of appeal is filed within the 30 days of the Federal Register publication date, it 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. The statement of reasons for the appeal must be filed with:
Interior Board of Land Appeals
Office of Hearings and Appeals
U.S. Department of the Interior
801 North Quincy St., Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22203