PINEDALE, Wyo - (PRESS RELEASE) The Bureau of Land Management Pinedale Field Office is notifying the public that motorized vehicle travel on BLM-administered big game winter ranges in the Ryegrass, Bench Corral, Deer Hills, Calpet, Miller Mountain and Mesa areas will be restricted from Jan. 1 through April 30, 2018.
This annual closure is in keeping with the Department’s goal of shared conservation stewardship and has been in effect since 2008. The closure is necessary to protect elk, moose, pronghorn and mule deer from disruptive human activities during the difficult winter months, which can increase the mortality rate for these animals.
Motorized vehicles including but not limited to: snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, pickups and sport utility vehicles are prohibited in these closed areas.
Highways, county and active oil and gas roads are not affected unless posted otherwise. Motorized vehicle use on public land the remainder of the year is always limited to existing roads and two-track trails.
Non-motorized travel such as walking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing or mountain biking is still allowed.
The following areas are included in this seasonal closure:
•The Ryegrass, Bench Corral, Deer Hills, Calpet and Miller Mountain winter ranges including lands north of Fontenelle Creek, east of the U.S. Forest Service Boundary, west of U.S. Highway 189 and south of Horse Creek.
•The Mesa winter range including lands east of County Road 110/East Green River Road, north of County Road 136/Paradise Valley Road, west of the New Fork River and south of U.S. Highway 191.
Exceptions to this closure include:
•The Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office and the BLM when performing official duties;
•Operators of existing oil and gas facilities performing maintenance and pumping, as approved in their permits;
•Livestock operators conducting permitted activities;
•Utility companies conducting emergency maintenance after notifying the BLM;
•Other users who have been granted an exception by submitting a written application to the BLM for review and approval.
Signs will be posted at key locations entering the closed areas.