The Bureau of Land Management released it draft management plan for the Owyhee Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers.
The plan for six wilderness areas totaling 518,000 acres and 16 Wild and Scenic River segments totaling 325 miles is the agency’s proposal for putting into place the center piece of the Owyhee Initiative. The initiative was designed to protect wilderness and ranchers in Owyhee County and ended up with legislation that included a science review plan, opportunities for ranchers to sell ranches and make land trades along with the wilderness and Wild River designations.
Local ranchers; county representatives, environmental groups, outfitters, the Shoshone-Paiute Tribe and others working on the ideas that became law in 2009.
But the wilderness proposals were unique because many of the areas spelled out ways that ranchers would be allowed to continue fences, motorized use and other activities they needed to continue operating. This “working wilderness” is designed to allow ranching to continue on the landscape where it has been for more than a century.
“I look forward to implementing a plan that embraces the visions of such a collaborative effort,” said BLM Boise District Manager Jim Fincher.
You can read the wilderness plan on line. Comments will be accepted through April 30.