Friday, August 03, 2012

Journey to the Center of the Wild: Quantifying Wilderness Quality in Central Nevada

By Shaaron Netherton, Executive Director
Photos by the Inventory Crew

Five hardy souls are spending their summer out exploring some of Nevada’s best kept wild secret places looking for BLM areas with wilderness character. The wilderness inventory crew will be providing timely and quality data about lands that have wilderness character to the Battle Mountain and Carson City BLM Districts. Both of these districts are in the process of creating new land use plans that will guide how these public lands are managed into the future. The Battle Mountain District encompasses about four counties in central Nevada (Lander, Eureka, Nye and Esmeralda). The Carson City District includes several counties as well (southern Washoe, Douglas, Carson City, Mineral and Lyon). The BLM is required by law to keep up-to-date inventories on all of the resources they manage including wilderness.

Funding for this effort is coming from a grant and is being coordinated in partnership with Friends of Nevada Wilderness and the Nevada Wilderness Project. The data is being collected using the BLM’s Wilderness Inventory Manual 6310. This includes providing individual route evaluations, photo logs, and details about each of the wilderness characteristics: size, naturalness, outstanding opportunities for solitude and/or primitive and unconfined recreation.

At the end of the season, the data collected by the crew will be turned into formal reports that will be given to the BLM along with briefing presentations to the BLM district’s management team and planners. The bottom line of this effort is to help identify lands with special wilderness character and protect them for recreationists and wildlife and for future generations to enjoy unspoiled Nevada’s beauty and solitude.

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