Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin is almost completely surrounded by mountains. The jagged Absaroka and Beartooth ranges are to the west, the tall, rounded Bighorns are to the east and northeast, the Pryor Mountains to the north, and the Owl Creek and Bridger ranges form its southern border.
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The basin is celebrated for its world-class wildlife, rich history and geology, undulating plains, clean rivers and streams, colorful badlands, and stark, Western beauty.
The basin’s western edge is home to some of the most vital and thriving wildlife habitats in the world, and is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
The federal government owns and manages more than half of its surface land, and nearly three-quarters of its mineral estate.
The Bureau of Land Management is currently in the process of developing a new resource management plan for the Bighorn Basin, the overarching document that will guide land use decision-making for the agency for at least 15 to 20 years.
The updated plan will govern the management of about 3.2 million acres of BLM land and approximately 4.2 million acres of federal mineral estate.
This will be the first time a single plan will be written for the entire basin. In the past land management in the area has been guided by smaller plans, each covering just a section of the landscape.
Because of the magnitude and importance of this updated, single plan, the Outdoor Council has created a team to engage in the revision process as government officials move from the drafting stage to the final document.
The Council is currently engaging with locals and decision-makers in an effort to ensure that the new plan for the Bighorn Basin values cultural and historical resources, big game winter ranges, wide-open spaces, hiking, fishing, hunting and camping opportunities, at least as much as it does energy development and other industrial activities.
We believe a balanced approach to land management requires as much.
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