Rick Dunn describes the historical geology and native habitat of the 15 Mile Basin during a group hike through the badlands earlier this month. The Wyoming Outdoor Council helped organize and lead the outing. Photo by Jamie Wolf.

Billings Gazette Reports: Conservationists Eye 15 Mile Basin for Protection

By MARTIN KIDSTON Gazette Wyoming Bureau?

Story excerpt:

15 MILE BASIN, Wyo. — Rick Dunne placed his hand against the mudstone cap and explained the massive forces that shaped the landscape.

The thrust of tectonic plates, volcanic super eruptions and eons of deposition and erosion worked to bury, smooth and carve this wild place over millions of years.15 Mile Basin map and information

[. . .]

Dunne, a Worland farmer with interests in geology and botany and a member of the Wyoming Crop Improvement Association, names the Wyoming big sage and the Gardner saltbrush. The bunch grass and Sandberg bluegrass help contribute to one of the healthiest native ranges he has seen in years.

“This is the best of the best,” Dunne says, sweeping a hand across the horizon. “It’s been a good year, and this is a good community. But I’m afraid we’re in the twilight of this native habitat.”

[. . .]

“It’s one of the last large, unleased areas of the basin, where we can go out and enjoy open spaces and wildlife,” said Jamie Wolf of the Wyoming Outdoor Council while addressing a group of 20 hikers early Saturday on National Trails Day.

“We should try and keep it the way it is. We want to maintain its value as an open landscape for recreation, for its historical and cultural resources, and its wildlife habitat.”

Read the full story here.

Related links:

The Future of the Bighorn Basin

The Wyoming Outdoor Council’s 2011 Events Brochure

Tools and Information to Help You Participate in the Bighorn Basin Management Plan

West Edge