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Full text of "Schell Resource Area : wilderness technical report"

BLM LIBRARY 




88005499 



, 



QH 
76.5 

.N3 
L37 

1983 



SCHELL RESOURCE AREA 



WILDERNESS 



TECHNICAL REPORT 



■#" l^ 1 ;: 



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0- 



SCHELL RESOURCE AREA 

WILDERNESS 
TECHNICAL REPORT 

10 JULY 1982 

REVISED 25 FEBRUARY 1983 



Bureau of Land Management 
Ely District Office 



Bureau of Land Management 

Library 

Bldg 50, Denver Federal Center 

Denver, GO 80225 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page No 

tlTcXclL C | # | | | | | | | I I | | | | | | | # | | | I | | | | | f | | | | | | | | f 4 I V | f | | -L 

"> Oil r\Ilci _LVoXo« ••••ova •••••••••••••••••• ••••••••*••••*• J- / 

1 1 T_ # o" XT d IT L O II ^ IN V "~" vj ^t U" - x07Jfit(tt««i*itt(*tt(«tt(t(*(i(« !■? 

Far South Egans (NV-040-172) 29 

Fortification Range (NV-040-177) ... . . ». . . . . . . ....... . 38 

Table Mountain (NV-040-197) 45 

White Rock Range (NV-040-202) ....................... . 53 

Parsnip Peak (NV-040-206) • 60 

Worthington Mountains (NV-040-242) .................. . 69 

Weepah Spring (NV-040-246) 78 

rUD J.1C U OInin6 UL|||||MIIM*tMIIIM*(OM(t(Ottt»tlt(M O D 

LIST OF TABLES 

1 - Proximity to Population Centers 5 

2 - Ecosystems by WSA 8 

3 - Ecosystem/Landform Representation. 9 

4 - Mineral Potential Classifications................ 13 

5 - Estimated Recreation Visits 22 

LIST OF MAPS 

Mineral Potential - Mt. Graf ton. .... . ............... . 28 

Mineral Potential - Far South Egans ....••••••••. 37 

Mineral Potential - Fortification Range 44 

Mineral Potential - Table Mountain 52 

Mineral Potential - White Rock Range..o,„ a , .., » B „ 59 

Mineral Potential - Parsnip Peak........... 65 

Mineral Potential - Worthington Mountains 77 

Mineral Potential - Weepah Spring.......... 85 



PREFACE 



In considering the criteria and quality standards listed in the Wilderness 
Study Policy , several points are applicable to all wilderness study areas. 
To avoid repetition, these are discussed in the preface. 

I. WILDERNESS CHARACTERICS 

Mandatory Characteristics 

Several opportunities for recreation are present in all wilderness 
study areas. These are: 

1) Hiking/backpacking 

2) Sightseeing 

3) Nature study 

4) Bird watching 

5) Photography 

6) Camping 

7) Picnicking 

8) Rockhounding 

9) Vegetative collecting 

10) Hunting 

a. Game hunting 

b. Varmit hunting 

11) Trapping 

12) Rock scrambling, climbing 

13) Horseback riding 

14) Predator calling 

Unless these are of better than average quality, or unless they con- 
tribute to an outstanding diversity of opportunities, no specific 
mention is made of them in the individual study area discussions. 

Multiple Resource Benefits 

In all study areas, several other resource benefits would result from 
wilderness designation. All of these are a consequence of preserving 
the areas in their natural condition. These are: 

1) Watershed and Water Quality - Development of water sources would 
be severely limited by the Wilderness Management Policy , as would 
developments (other than mining) that would impact the watershed. 

2) Air Quality - All designated wilderness will maintain Class 2 air 
quality classification. 



3) Wildlife - 

(a) A controlled burn policy for wilderness area would enhance 
wildlife habitat by providing a diversity of vegetative 
successional stages. 

(b) Since Animal Damage Control programs are limited to removing 
only offending individuals, non-target animals such as the 
kit fox will not be killed. 

(c) Preserving the areas in their present natural state results 
in the preservation of habitats for most species. Seedings 
that would create monotypical habitat will be disallowed. 
Maintenance of the natural environment will also result in 
keeping disturbances of sight and sound to a minimum. 

(d) The use of pesticides, herbicides, and other poisons and 
pollutants will normally be prohibited. This will prevent 
adverse biological consequences that are often caused by 
introduction of these substances into the food chain. 

(e) Riparian areas are significant in east-central Nevada be- 
cause of their scarcity, and because of the abundance of 
wildlife and vegetation they support. If stream piping is 
prevented, crucial nesting habitat will be preserved re- 
sulting in slight population increases in species dependent 
on riparian habitat, such as Saw-Whet Owls, Cooper's Hawk, 
Goshawk, Great Horn Owl and Screech Owl. Stream protection 
will also allow muskrat, ringtail, and weasel populations 
to stabilize or increase slightly. 

4) Recreation and Visual Resources - 

(a) Designation would help protect the scenic quality of the areas 
because of the restrictive Wilderness Management Policy. 

(b) Designation would give legislative protection for important 
sites within the areas, such as caves, ponderosa pine forests, 
and raptor nesting areas. 

(c) Designation would help maintain areas in a natural condition, 
thereby preserving opportunities for backcountry recreation. 

(d) If pinyon- juniper areas are allowed to burn, the ungulate 
populations would increase, benefitting hunting and viewing 
opportunities. The increase would result from the burning 
of pinyon- juniper cover, and the resulting growth of pre- 
climax vegetation types, such as bitterbrush and serviceberry, 
that are desirable wildlife forage. 



5) Cultural Resources - Wilderness designation will offer protection 
for archaeological resources - both known and potential - by limit- 
ing access. Wilderness users can, if properly educated, contribute 
information by reporting site locations where a survey has not taken 
place. 

6) Forestry - Since the Wilderness Management Policy prohibits 
the cutting of trees (except in special circumstances), un- 
common species such as white fir and ponderosa pine will be 
protected by wilderness designation. 

7) Threatened and Endangered Species - No sensitive plant species 
have been located in any of the study areas, but based upon 
their identification in adjacent or nearby ranges, such plants 
almost certainly do exist in the areas. Designation will bring 
with it protection for these plants from development and resource 
production activities. 

Diversity 

Only one designated wilderness area exists in Nevada, and only one exists 
in Utah. Within a 300 mile radius of Ely, by far the heaviest concen- 
tration of wilderness areas is in California. This would indicate that, 
using geographic distribution alone as a criterion, more wilderness 
should be designed in Nevada, especially eastern Nevada. 

Other factors must be considered, though. One of these is the number of 
Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSA's) with a population of 
100,000 or more within 5 hours driving time of the study areas. Reno 
is not within 5 hours driving time of any Schell Resource Area study 
area, nor is Salt Lake City. Las Vegas is within 5 hours of all Schell 
study areas except Granite Spring. It is the only SMSA within the desig- 
nated range of any study area. 

A large number (300+) of roadless areas under wilderness consideration 
are within 250 air miles of Las Vegas, but only 14 designated wilder- 
ness areas lie within this range, and only 4 of these are within a 
day's driving time of Las Vegas. 



Use from Las Vegas residents will probably not increase greatly in any 
designated wilderness in the Schell Resource Area, (see table i ) 

Another factor in considering diversity is the representation of eco- 
systems in the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS). All of 
the study areas in the Schell Resource Area lie in the Intermountain 
Sagebrush Province, and all are of four major types: juniper-pinyon 
woodland, Great Basin sagebrush, mixed conifer forest, and western 
ponderosa forest. Of these, the best-represented in the wilderness 



system is the mixed conifer forest, with 573,424 acres under desig- 
nation. The least-represented is the Great Basin Sagebrush ecosystem, 
and six Schell study areas each have more than 10,000 acres of this 
type. (See Tables 2 and 3). This indicates that designation of 
any of these is desirable for balancing the ecosystem representation 
in the NWPS. 

Juniper-pinyon woodland is also an under-represented ecosystem (43,168 
acres in the NWPS) . All of the Schell study areas are partially com- 
posed of this type (Schell R.A. total: 210,598 acres), and for this 
reason their designation would contribute to the ecosystem variety in 
the NWPS. 

Two study area in the Schell Reourse Area (Weepah Spring and the Far 
South Egans) are partially composed of western ponderosa forest eco- 
systems. This type is under-represented in the NWPS, but is well 
represented in Administratively Endorsed areas. 

Generally, designation of any Schell study areas as wilderness will 
contribute to the diversity of ecosystems in the NWPS. 

CONCLUSION 

Application of the diversity criterion to the Schell WSA's yields mixed 
results. Designation of these area is desirable based upon consider- 
ations of geographic distribution and ecosystem representation, but is 
not warranted by the number os SMSA'a within a day's driving time. 

II. MANAGEABILITY 

There are no generally applicable points under this criterion. 

III. ENERGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES 

Parts of 4 study areas have been identified by USGS as suitable for 
sodium leasing: Fortification Range, Far South Egans, Mount Grafton, 
and the White Rock Range. 

Because of the great availability of alternate sites, this is a very 
slight conflict. The same is true of common saleable materials such 
as sand and gravel. 

A USGS/BM mineral survey will be conducted for all study areas recom- 
mended as suitable. 

Information on minerals and energy was collected from the following sources: 
Schell Resource Area Unit Resource Analysis (URA 3); Mineral Resource 
Inventory (MRI) ; Fugro-MX Study; Geology, Energy and Minerals (GEM) reports; 
and public comments. 



Unit 


Total 


Number 


Acres 


NV-040-169 


73,216 


NV-040-172 


53,224 


NV-040-177 


41,615 


NV-040-197 


35,958 


NV-040-202 


23,625 


NV-040-206 


88,175 


NV-040-242 


47,633 


NV-040-246 


61,137 



Proximity to Population Centers 

TABLE 1-A 



All listed WiiAs are within a 



Population Centers within 
One D ay's Travel Tim e of WS A's 



Names of Cities and States 



Las Vegas, Nevada * 



5 hour drive of Las Vegas 



Statutory Wilderness Within One Day's Travel 
Time of Identified Population Center* 



Bl/4 



State 



No. 



none 



Acreage 



Other Agency 



State 



AZ 
CA 



No. 



Acreage 



47,762 
79,921 



TABLE 1-B 



Unit 
Number 



NV-040-169 

NV-040-172 
NV-040-177 
NV-040-197 
NV-040-202 
NV-040-242 
NV-040-246 
NV-040-206 



Total 
Acres 



73,216 
53,224 
41,615 
35,958 
23,625 
88,175 
47,633 
61,137 



*A11 listed Wsks are within a 



Population Centers within 
One Day's Travel Tim e of WSA'a 



Wilderness Areas Endorsed by the President Within 
One Day's Travel Time of Identified Population Centers 



BUI 



Names of Cities and States 



Las Vegas, Nevada 



State 



KOo 



none 



5 hour drive of Las Vegas 



Acreage 



Otner Agency 



State 



AZ 
CA 
NV 
UT 



No . 



Acreage 



2,510 

1,948,700 

1,878,445 

241,696 



TABLE 1-C 



c. 




Population Centers within 


Other Study Areas Within One Day's Travel 


Unit 
Number 


Total 
Acres 


One Day's Travel Time of WSA's 


Time of Identified Population Centers 


Names of Cities and States 


BIX 


Other Agency 


SJtatS.— 


No. 


Acreage 


Stats 


No . 


Acreage 


NV-040-169 


73,216 


Las Vegas, Nevada * 


AZ 


47 


1,074,392 


CA 


3 


223,900 


NV-040-172 


53,224 




CA 


108 


4,907,144 


NV 


14 


252,585 


NV-040-177 


41,615 




NV 


44 


2,233,036 








NV-040-197 


35,958 




UT 


11 


136,417 








NV-040-202 


23,625 
















NV-040-206 


88,175 
















NV-040-242 


47,633 
















NV-040-246 


61,137 
















1 

i 

i 

* All listed % 


SAs are within 


a 5 hour drive from Las Vegas 














** Of these una 


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6 M acres are suitable and 7 areas, 6, 


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TABLE 3-A 
Ecosystem/Land form Representation 



A. Scosystew/Landforw 



No. 



3130-21 

3130-32 

3130-34 

M2610-5 
3130-10 



* Johi 



Name 



Juniper/Pinyon 
Woodland 

Great Basin 
Sagebrush 

Salt Brush- 
Greasewood 

Mixed Conifer 

Western Ponderos 
Forest 



Muir. Domeland 



BLM Areas 



No. Areas 



NOI 



NOtE 



NOf 



N0>E 



NOf 



nd Golden Taout triple 



Exist ing Representa ti ons in Statutory Wilderness 



Ot her Agency Areas 



Agency 



NONE 

NOPE 

NONE 
NONE 



USFS 



No. 



counted 



Acreage 



BLM Areas - Other States 
State No. Acreage 



58,347 



NONE 

NON 5 

NON 
NON 

non:; 



Other Agency Areas 



State 



CA 

CA 

CA 
CA 

OR 



No o 



2* 

2* 

12* 



Acreage 



43,168 

7,020 

19,554 
573,424 

27,709 



TABLE 3-B 



















-> =■ - - - 


. , , 


----- --- — -^ - 




- ■ 


B. Ecos 
No* 


>ye ten/La ndf om 


rnrrrnf . nr)lti „„« i» HiiH»rne Ra Endorsed by President - Pending Before Congresa _ 

DLM Ai~" ■■■""" nthrr Am-nrv Ar™«* P»J« *'— « - other State. Other .Agency Areas J 


3130-10 


Western Ponderos 
Forest 


Ho. Areas 

a 

NONE 


Acreage 


Agency 

USFS 
FWS 


Ha » 

3 
1 


Acreage 

304,445 
67,900 


State 


No. 

NONE 


Acreage 


State* 

OR 

WA 


' Ho. 

3 
1 


Acreage 

16,414 
2,143 


3130-21 


Juniper/Pinyon 
Woodland 


NONE 




USFS 
NPS 

FWS 


1 

1 
1 


60,000 

35,000 

383,800 




NONE 




CA 
UT 


4 
1 


52,640 
17,530 


3130-32 


Great Basin 
Sagebrush 


NONE 




USFS 
FWS 


1 
1 


20,000 
611,180 




NONE 




CA 


4 


6,830 


3130-34 
(086 


Saltbrush- 
Greasewood 


NONE 




FWS 


1 


740 




NONE 




OR 


1 


30,000 


only) 


























M2610-5 


Mixed Conifer 
Forest 


NONE 




____..„ 


NONE 






JNONE 




CA 


18 


520,366 



TABLE 3 - C 



C. Ecoay at em/La ndf orm 






Potential Sources of Repr 


esentations 






No. 


Name 


3130-21 


Juniper/Pinyon 


BUI 


WSA'a 




Other Agency WSA'a 


District 


No. 


Acreage 


Agency 


Region, Park, Refuge 


No. 


Acreage 


■ " ■ ■ - i - - - - - — 








■ ■ - 




i ■ 




Woodland 


Elko, Nevada 


3 


166,525 


USFS 


5-California 


11 


433,384 






Winnemucca, Nevada 


2 


14,079 


USFS 


4-Intermountain (NV) 


7 


105,828 






Carson City, Nevada 


7 


353,958 














Ely, Nevada 


12 


285,944 














Las Vegas, Nevada 


9 


281,141 














Battle Mountain, Nev 


10 


482,960 














Bakersfield, Calif. 


7 


82,962 














CDCA, California 


12 


243,502* 














Salt Lake City, Utah 


3 


64,573 














Cedar City, Utah 


3 


24,118 














Richfield, Utah 


6 


150,535 










3130-21 


Great Basin 


















Sagebrush 


Elko, Nevada 
Winnemucca, Nevada 


3 
3 


23,556 
27,260 


USFS 


5-California 
(includes part of White 
Mountains) 


12 


140,430 






Carson City, Nevada 


5 


149,665 


USFS 


4-Intermountain 


2 


7,409 






Ely, Nevada 


11 


215,797 














Las Vegas, Nevada 


5 


315,425 














Battle Mountain, Nev 


2 


152,660 














Bakersfield, Calif. 


26 


226,274 














Coca, California 


6 


25,858* 














Richfield, Utah 


2 


30,524 










3130-34 


Saltbrush- 










- 








Greasewood 


Winnemucca, Nevada 


4 


147,342 


USFS 


5- California 


2 


2,876 






Carson City, Nevada 
Ely, Nevada 

Burns, Oregon 
Vale, Oregon 
Lakeview, Oregon 

Richfield, Utah 
Cedar City, Utah 


3 
1 

13 
5 
1 

9 
1 


79,055 
11,700 

403,035 

130,500 

15,520 

209,700 
7,300 


USFS 


4- Intermountain (NV) 


3 


48,710 






Boise, Idaho 


3 


75,549 











* Only about 37°s suitable 



C. Ecoaystem/Landform 



No. 



M2610-5 



3130-10 



Name 



Mixed Conifer 
Forest 



TABLE 3 



BLM WSA'fl 



District 



Ely, Nevada 
Bakersfield, Calif. 
Medford, Oregon 



Western Ponderosc Ely, Nevada 



_ 



Forest 



Richfield, Utah 



No. 



9 
2 
1 

1 
1 



Potential Sources of Representations 




Acreage 



138,182 
3,890 

5,640 

4,575 
6,891 



*3?J!F-]L 



USFS 
USFS 



USFS 
USFS 
USFS 



Other Agency WSA'» 



Region, Parte. Refuge 



4- Intermountain (NV) 

5- California 



4- Intermountain (NV) 

5- California 

6- Pacific Northwest 

(OR) 



No. 



1 

69 



Acreage 



4,600 
393,143 



182,966 
30,449 
20,000 



Mineral potentials were given different classification titles in the various 
reports. In the Schell Wilderness EIS the categories were consolidated into 
High, Good and Speculative potentials. The following table shows how other 
classifications relate to the potentials used in the EIS. 



TABLE 4 



MINERAL POTENTIAL CLASSIFICATIONS 
USED IN THE EIS 



OTHER MINERAL POTENTIALS 
DISCUSSED IN THIS REPORT 



HIGH 



GOOD 



SUBECONOMIC 

PARAMARGINAL 

SUBMARGINAL 



HYPOTHETICAL 



SPECULATIVE 



SPECULATIVE 



IV. D^ACJI^O^TjiER_RES^UE_CES 

A. Recreation will experience several negative impacts in all areas that 
become wilderness: 

1) Designation will result in an increase in recreation use. This may 
result in crowding at destination points such as springs, streams, 
caves, mountain tops, and ridge lines. 



13 



2) Recreational use will be restricted by the prohibition of contests 
and competitions. 

3) Outfitters and guides will be under much closer scrutiny in a desig- 
nated wilderness than outside, and will be required to file for 
Special Recreation Use Permits (SRUP) , even though the requirement 
technically exists for all outfitter services on public lands. The 
increased paperwork necessitated by more intense management will 
have an adverse effect on the outfitters and guides when compared 

to present management. 

4. If hunting and trapping of predators are prohibited by the Nevada 
Department of Wildlife, opportunities for trapping and coyote 
hunting will be adversely effected. 

B. Ranching interests in wilderness areas may experience some adverse im- 
pacts if the operator is required to use horses for activities that had 
previously been performed by motorized vehicle. 

C. The forestry resource will be impacted in every study area. Green cut- 
ting will be prohibited, which narrows the range of management possibil- 
ities for the resource. Christmas tree cutting will be prohibited, as 
will be commercial pine nut gathering. 

D. The cultural resources program will experience some negative impacts 
from wilderness designation. Access to and development of cultural 
sites for educational purposes will not be allowed. Costs of con- 
ducting archaeological research may increase since new roads cannot 
be built, and laboratory and living quartern will have to be located 
outside of the wilderness areas. Sites will not normally be stabilized, 
and will be allowed to deteriorate under natural conditions. 

Increased visitation associated with designation will bring primary and 
secondary impacts, especially since locations used by earlier inhabitants 
also tend to draw concentrated recreational use. 

E. The Schell MFP, Step I, proposed soil surface factor reduction for large 
parts of all but one (Weepah Spring) of the study areas. This sort of 
operation would not be permitted in wilderness areas. 

F. No significant adverse impacts will result to wild horses, air quality, 
or soil quality. 

V. IMPACTS OF NONDESIGNATION ON WILDERNESS VALUES 

Increasing pressure is being placed on the land in the Ely District by 
scores of oil and gas exploration companies. So far, this pressure has 
been concentrated on several valley areas, but is also extending into 
the bench lands and lower mountains. The impacts of individual _ explor- 
atory operations range from almost none to severe. The cumulative 
impacts of many such operations in one area can profoundly affect the 
naturalness of the area. 



14 



This general trend of increasing pressure is almost certain to continue, 
with temporary anomalies due to fluctuations in oil prices and supplies. 
Nondesignation of wilderness study areas would open these lands to normal 
exploratory practices, which could damage the manadatory wilderness 
characteristics of naturalness. The damage would be long lasting in the 
dry climate of east central Nevada. 

Exploration may culminate with drilling. Drilling can obviously affect 
naturalness, but can also impact opportunities for solitude; the quality 
of opportunities for primitive recreation, and features of scientific, 
educational, scenic, or historical value which serve as special wilder- 
ness features. Drilling can just as logically occur in mountains as 
in valleys, except that the operator must pay the additional road- 
building costs associated with mountain drilling. 

Nondesignation would leave wilderness study areas open to mineral 
location, which could progress to full-scale mining. The early stages 
of mining under 43 CFR 3809 would have impacts very similar to those 
resulting from drilling, and could ultimately create far greater im- 
pacts. 

The impacts on naturalness caused by energy and mineral exploration and 
extraction are usually subtle and cumulative. This explains the reaction 
of many publics who question the need for wilderness designation. Impacts 
to the land are generally unnoticeable to the casual observer because of 
their accretive nature, and this leads to the assumption that the lands 
are self-protecting. They are not. 

The Schell MFP, Step 2, proposes soil surface factor reductions for parts 
of all but one (Weepah Spring) study areas. This sort of operation can 
severely impair wilderness characteristics. The likelihood of these 
projects is very low because of fiscal constraints. 

If not designated as wilderness, all study areas, with the possible 
exception of the Worthington Mountains, would be made available for 
green wood and Christmas tree cutting. The impacts from these activ- 
ities would vary, depending on frequency and intensity of harvest. 
Impacts would likely be minor, as evidenced by the fact that several 
of the study areas have historically experienced exactly this type of 
impact. 



15 



WILDERNESS STUDY AREA 



ANALYSIS 



Mount Grafton 

The Mount Grafton Wilderness Study Area Is located about 50 miles south of 
Ely, in the Schell Creek Range. This WSA contains Mount Grafton (elevation 
10,990 feet) which the highest peak on BLM administered land in the State of 
Nevada. Its topography is mainly mountainous, but includes a large amount 
of bench land as well. Uses of the area include grazing, mining, and recre- 
ation. 

I. WILDERNESS CHARACTERISTIC S 

Naturalness : 



Many range improvements, mining impacts, and cherrystemmed roads intrude 
into and abut the Mount Grafton study area on all sides. Nearly all of 
these have been technically "eliminated" from the area, but remain to 
influence one's perception of the naturalness of the landscape. The im- 
pact of these imprints of man varies, depending on one's location. 
Standing on the ridge line, the "primeval cbaracter" of the land appears 
virtually undisturbed. On the benches and in the lower hills and moun- 
tains, man's imprints appear as very localized impacts. Only when out- 
side of the area looking in can one perceive any cumulative effect. 

The intrusions into the area — whether cherrystemmed out or not — are 
so many that it is difficult to say where they have the most impact on 
naturalness. The north end is heavily intruded, most noticeable by the 
Deer Track Spring road and associated water developments. The Robber's 
Roost Seeding, the Cattle Camp Management Fence, and the Spring Valley - 
South Steptoe Division Fence also are significant intrusions. 

The east side is heavily impacted by cherrystemmed roads. Among these 
are the North Creek road and roads to Sheep Creek Spring and Mill Creek 
Spring. Mining impacts are present at the ends of these latter two roads. 
An old mill site is located near Mill Creek Spring, and switchback roads 
and excavated areas which are present at both springs create obvious 
visual impacts. Water diversion ditches from both springs also impact 
the landscape. Other intrusions are too numerous to list. See the 
attached map. 

The south end of the study area has been highly impacted by mining 
activity. Two extensive switchback roads that range above 9,000 feet 
form the southern boundary.. Considerable excavation has been done on 
the saddle in Sec. 19 of T9N, R65E. An old mine is located in Sec. 26 
of T9N, R64E. 

The west side of the area has many roads and ways cherrystemmed out. 
The lower elevations are crisscrossed by a network of bladed paths, 
apparently fire lines, wbich are revegetating. 



19 



Outside sights and sounds that impact the area include Highway 93 to 
the east, a paved road which links Ely with Pioche, Caliente, and Las 
Vegas. Car and truck traffic can be seen but not heard from the ridge. 
Considerable vegetative and topographic screening prevent the highway 
from being obvious at lower elevations. 

Most of the fence lines and other range improvements require periodic 
maintenance. Motorized access will sometimes be necessary. Maintenance 
periods range from 1 to 5 years. Access by vehicles and use of motor- 
ized equipment will contribute as outside sights and sounds to the 
impacts on naturalness. 

Other sights and sounds - from both inside and outside - will come from 
mining activity. The Lake Valley claim group and Deer Trail claim group 
are especially likely to experience considerable development. The claims 
are pre-FLPMA claims and carry grandfathered uses and, possibly, valid 
existing rights. 



CONCLUSION 

The imprints of man are most apparent on the benches of the area. Very 
few imprints exist in the mountains and the imprints located below on the 
benches are well screened by topography and vegetation so that the user 
who is located in the mountains perceives the area to be in a natural 
condition. Only the potential "sight and sound" impacts of future mining 
operations will threaten this naturalness. 

Outstanding Opportunities: 

The size of the Mount Grafton wilderness study area, listed at 67,700 
acres during the inventory, has recently been remeasured at 73,500 acres. 
Topographic screening is very good. The south end is a single ridge line 
with a peak elevation of 10,900 feet. Many side canyons of considerable 
size indent the ridge on both sides. The north end is lower but still 
rugged with more breadth than the south end. 

Vegetative screening is also excellent. Vegetation varies greatly in 
density from very dense to large open areas. The user will easily find 
many secluded spots, if he avoids the high southern ridge line where use 
will be concentrated. The combination of these characteristics provides 
for outstanding opportunities for solitude. These are not impaired by 
any outside sights and sounds save for mining activities. These activ- 
ities are presently minimal but could become significant. 

A good diversity of recreational opportunities are present in the area. 
Nature study can be done at many levels: wildlife is abundant and in- 
cludes elk, deer, raptors, and mountain lions; the flora is diverse, with 
bristlecone pine, white fir, limber pine, black locust, aspen, pinyon, 
juniper, columbine, and other wild flowers; the geology presents a 



20 



Mount Grafton 



scenic view, and some interesting characteristics, such as a large 
quartz deposit on the ridge. Fishing of fair quality is available in 
North Creek. Hunting is good and varied. Game species include deer, 
blue grouse, and mountain lion. Hiking is of very good quality because 
of the diverse terrain, the scenic surroundings, and the good access, 
especially to the ridge from Patterson Pass. Backpack camping is fairly 
difficult because of the terrain, but is enhanced by the presence of 
several springs. Horseback riding opportunities of good quality are 
available on the benches, especially on the east where there are high, 
large, grassy meadows. Current recreation use occures as displayed in 
Table 5, (see page 22). 



CONCLUSION 

Opportunities for recreation are outstanding because of their diversity. 

The quality of these range from fair (backpack camping) to excellent 

(hiking, nature study). Opportunities for solitude are also outstanding 
because of a combination of factors. 

Special Features; 

The Mount Grafton study area has many special features. The North Creek 
area is one of these. Fed by many small seeps, its perennial waters 
support a large riparian environment that includes the black locusts and 
several bird species (including owls, hummingbirds). 

Two designated scenic areas are located in the study area - the Mount 
Grafton and the North Creek scenic areas. Part of the appeal of these 
is the bright fall color of the the aspen stands. The scenic quality of the 
WSA has been rated as "A" and "B" in the Visual Resource Management (VRM) 
scenic quality analysis. 

Bristlecone pines occur in the classic, gnarled configuration on and 
near the ridge south of Mount Grafton. 

Elk may periodically be seen on the north end of the area. 

Many raptors nest in the area. 

Archaeological potential is largely unknown, but is suspected to be high. 

CONCLUSION 

Many supplemental values are present in the study area. None have a 
national significance, but at least two (North Creek and the bristle- 
cones) are of interest to a large local and some non-local publics. 

Multiple Resource Benefits: 

Only the standard list of other resource benefits will result if the 



21 



TABLE 5 
ESTIMATED RECREATION VISITS PER YEAR, BY ACTIVITY 





MOUNT 
GRAFTON 


FAR 

SOUTH 

EGANS 


FORTIFICATION 
RANGE 


TABLE 
MOUNTAIN 


WHi-l.fi 

ROCK 
RANGE 


PEAK 


MOUNTAINS 


SPRING 




Fishing 


80 























80 


Spelunking 





150 














100 





250 


Hiking, Mtn. Climbing 
Backpacking 


40 


10 


20 


20 


10 


20 


20 


10 


150 


Camping 


200 


10 


10 


20 


10 


50 


50 


10 


360 


Trapping 


150 


200 


125 


150 


75 


250 


100 


150 


1200 


Picnicking 


40 


10 


10 


10 


10 


20 





10 


100 


Predator calling 


75 


100 


60 


75 


35 


125 


50 


75 


595 


Vegetative Collecting 


50 


20 


30 


5 


5 


40 








150 


Deer Hunting 


250 


150 


15 


25 


10 


70 


10 


50 


580 


Elk Hunting 


10 























10 


Antelope Hunting 








15 








5 








20 


Dove Hunting 


100 


50 


30 








50 


40 


20 


290 


Cottontail Hunting 


100 


30 


30 


20 


10 


50 





20 


260 


Sage Grouse Hunting 


50 


30 





10 





10 





10 


110 


ORV-use 


10 


5 


5 


20 





5 


30 





75 


Horseback Riding 


30 


15 


10 


10 


5 


30 





5 


105 



ESTIMATED RECREATION VISITS PER YEAR, BY ACTIVITY 



MOUNT FAR FORTIFICATION TABLE 
GRAFTON SOUTH RANGE MOUNTAIN 
EGANS 



WHITE PARSNIP 

ROCK PEAK 
RANGE 



WORTHINGTON 
MOUNTAINS 



WEE PAH 
SPRING 



TOTAL 



Rock Climbing & 
Scrambling 


10 





20 





" " - — — 









10 





40 


Rockhounding 


30 


10 


10 


10 


5 


20 


10 


5 


100 


Snowmobiling 











40 





40 








80 


Blue Grouse 
Hunting 


20 


10 





5 


5 


10 








50 


Chukar Hunting 























20 


20 


Mountain Lion 
Hunting 


25 


15 


15 


15 


5 


25 


5 


10 


115 



Grand Total: 



4740 



Mount Grafton study area is designated. These benefits result from the 
maintaining of present, undisturbed conditions, and would accrue to 
wildlife, watershed, air quality, VRM, recreation, and forestry. 



II. MANAGEABILITY 

The Mount Grafton study area would be managed to provide both oppor- 
tunities for primitive recreation and solitude if it were designated as 
wilderness. Emphasis would be placed on opportunities for recreation on 
the ridge line south of Mount Grafton, where use would be concentrated. 
Opportunities for solitude would be stressed for the more diverse area 
north of Mount Grafton. 

Two historic mining districts extend into the area. Rich silver ore was 
found in the Patterson District in 1869, but it was shallow and short- 
lived. The Geyser District includes a good portion of the eastern half 
of the study area where two mines are located. The Deer Trail Mine 
recorded production of tungsten ore in 1956, and a subeconomic vein 
running 400 feet long and 1-3 feet wide is known to remain. The Geyser 
mine apparently has produced silver ore because the ruins of a tramway 
and a mill site remain. 

Mining in these historic districts is a grandfathered use and may carry 
valid existing rights. Limited development is occurring on them now 
and will likely continue (at a greater pace) in the future. For this 
reason, management of these portions of the area as wilderness will be 
impossible. 

There are several mining claims elsewhere in the study area. Develop- 
ment of these is not as certain as for those with existing mines. 

Ten oil and gas leases are located on the fringes of the area on the 
west and on the southeast corner. The bench areas have some potential 
for energy because of the geologic similarities between Railroad Valley 
and Cave and Northern Lake Valleys. Potential for the mountain areas 
is much lower, so that the likelihood of drilling in the mountains is 
low. 

Many cherrystemmed roads and ways intrude into the area. The access pro- 
vided by these will cause manageability problems with off-road vehicle 
use and with collection of forest products by motorized tools. Closure 
of these vehicle routes is impractical in most cases. The east side of 
the area is especially impacted. More than 10 significant roads and ways 
lead from highway 93 up into the high bench land. Closure of these is 
impossible for several reasons. Some carry valid existing rights and 
grandfathered uses associated with mining; others have rights and uses 
associated with grazing; most are impacts that are too severe to con- 
sider rehabilitation; and obstacles on any of them could and would be 
circumvented by users. 



2A 



Mount Grafton 



The west side has several cherrystemmed routes, and the same problems 
attend them as those on the east. 

From the north, a road runs to Deer Track Spring. Rehabilitation of the 
road would be impossible because of the valid rights attached, but use 
limitation might be possible, and would be desirable so as to limit off- 
road use and wood gathering. It would also improve opportunities for 
solitude by limiting motor sounds. 

The North Creek Area presently receives high use and would 
likely receive even greater use with wilderness designation. Management 
to provide opportunities for solitude would be impossible along the creek 
and in the draw above the creek. The area could be managed to preserve 
opportunities for recreation, but certain measures to control use might 
be necessary, such as construction of a hiking trail. 

Some private land is located on the lower portions of the west side. 
Because these inholdings are located so close to the boundary, the. most 
effective means of dealing with them is to draw the boundary around them. 

Some outside sights and sounds can be seen and heard from within the area. 
Highway 93 can be seen from the ridge, but the impact is so insignificant 
that there is no management concern, Sounds of mining operations will be 
heard some distance away, and minimal management control is available to 
mitigate these. 

Four major fence lines intrude into the area (T9N, R65E, Sees. 1-4; T10N, 

R64E, Sees. 16-18; TUN, R64E, Sees. 5, 8, 9, 16, 19-21; TUN, R65E, Sees. 

18, 19, 30). Maintenance on these will be periodically required, and may 
at times require vehicular access. 



CONCLUSION 

The Mount Grafton study area has many manageability problems, the main 
one being mineral potential and cherrystemmed roads and ways. 

III. ENERGY AND MINERAL RESOURCE VALUES 

Leaseable Minerals - Ten oil and gas leases cover the lower slopes on the 
west part of the WSA. Portions of two leases come into the low slopes on 
the southeast side. The lower slopes along the south of the unit have 
the highest potential for oil and gas development. Cave Valley and 
northern Lake Valley have geology similar to Railroad Valley, a known 
oil producing area. These valleys lie just south of the WSA. The 
potential for the mountainous portions is much lower than in the valleys. 
There are no Known Ceothermal Resource Areas or geothermal leases in or near 
the unit. There are warm springs along the southeast boundary. The Geyser 
Ranch warm springs are only about 65-70°F. Development potential is low. 



25 



An area identified by the USGS as having potential for sodium leasing 
covers about a square mile in the southeast corner of the unit. There 
are currently no sodium leases in or near the WSA. The conflict is min- 
imal however, since there are numerous better quality areas outside of 
WSAs within the planning area. 

Saleable Minerals - There are no saleable minerals sites within the WSA. 

Locateable Minerals - The central and southern portions of the unit are 
within a speculative mineral area identified during the Schell URA 3 
and 4. Known deposits of silver and tungsten exist around the Deer 
Trail Mine in T10N, R65E, Sec. 30 & 31 and the Geyser Mine in T9N, R65E, 
Sees. 5 and 8. Deposits also exist in T9N, R65E, Sec. 30 and T9N, R64E, 
Sec 24. There is no known current production but production has taken 
place at the Deer Trail and Geyser Mine. Ore assays up to 0.9% WO were 
reported from the Geyser Mine. Most of the mining claims are located 
along the known deposits mentioned above which were identified as sub- 
marginal in the URA 3 and 4. Most of the eastern portion of the WSA 
falls within the Geyser Ranch Mining District. If the market improves 
for silver and tungsten more mining activity will take place. The min- 
eral conflict in the southeast part of the WSA is significant. 

The Fugro report shows about 1,000 acres on the east bench with "specu- 
lative" mineral potential; about 1,000 acres in Patterson Pass with 
"good potential; and about 500 acres on the west bench with "speculative" 
potential. The rest of the area is shown to have "low" potential. Oil 
and gas potential in the area was identified as "low" except for about 
1,500 acres on the southeast bench with "high^potential, and most of the 
east bench with "good" potential, (see map on page 28). 

CONCLUSION 

There is an identified mineral resource in the study area, but the 
economic significance of known deposits is low. There is some potential 
for discovery of new deposits especially in the southern part of the area. 
Oil and gas potential poses only a minor conflict. 

IV. IMPACTS ON OTHER RESOURCES 
Range : 

Present grazing quality in the WSA is poor. Most of the area is moun- 
tainous and forested. Three allotments cover the unit: Geyser Ranch 
on the east, Cattle Camp/Cave Valley on the northwest, and Cave Valley 
Ranch on the southwest. Only cattle are grazed. 

Future quality is expected to remain the same. The quality could increase 
by running sheep instead of cattle. 



26 



Mount Grafton 



The potential exists for spring developments and pipelines. A water 
catchment southeast of Mt. Grafton Peak would open up an area otherwise 
unsuitable for cattle. Presently no vegetative treatments are proposed 
but a potential exists for some on the lower slopes. 

If the area were designated wilderness, water developments would be 
limited to those which would protect the resource values. Vegetative 
treatments would not be allowed but a wilderness let-burn policy might 
help mitigate their prohibition. 

Forestry: 

The Mount Grafton study area includes 3.5 percent of the Schell Resource 
Area base forest resources. It is within 50 road miles of Ely by highway 
93, and closer on the northwest side by a good county road. Ely residents 
use the area for part of their supply of fire wood, Christmas trees, and 
posts. The area is within the demand region of both Salt Lake City and 
Las Vegas Christmas tree cutters, and commercial cutting has occurred in 
the past. If the area is designated as wilderness, the short term effects 
on fuelwood will be minimal, but significant impacts will result for the 
Christmas tree industry, especially in the long run. The economic im- 
pacts would not be felt much by the local economy as most cutters are 
from Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. 

Wildlife: 



Work on North and Geyser Creek for fisheries by NDOW might be hampered. 
Some standard stream improvement structures might not be allowed. 

Lands : 

There are six parcels of private land along the boundary. The following 
parcels are surrounded by the WSA: (total = 240 acres) 

T9N, R65E Sec. 4 Lot 1 39.9 acres 

T9N, R64E Sec. 4 Lot 2 39.98 acres 

T10N, R64E Sec. 34 E% SEk 80 acres 

T10N, R64E Sec. 27 SEiz; SW% 40 acres 

T10N, R64E Sec. 10 SW% NWk 40 acres 

One private parcel at Robbers Roost Spring, TUN, R64E, Sec. 33, NE^ SE% 
is cherrystemmed out. 

Recreation: 



Designation would cause further concentration of use at North Creek. 

CONCLUSION 

The only impacts of significance will be to the supply of forest products 
available to the local population and, especially, to Salt Lake City and 



27 



R.64 E 



R.65E. 



T.11N. 



T.10N 




Miles 
Kilometers 



| | SPECULATIVE MINERAL POTENTIAL 
£gg] HIGH MINERAL POTENTIAL 
:gg GOOD MINERAL POTENTIAL 

1=3 HIGH OIL/GAS POTENTIAL 
05% GOOD OIL/GAS POTENTIAL 

ROADS 

, NOTICEABLE WAYS 

|p~~l PRIVATE LAND 



MINERAL POTENTIAL 
MT. GRAFTON NV-040-169 



Las Vegas Christmas tree cutters. Impacts of much less significance will 
result to wildlife and grazing. 

V. IMPACTS OF NONDESIGNATION ON WILDERNESS CHARACTERISTICS 
MFP 

A soil surface factor reduction is proposed for the bench land on the 
southeast side, and on the northeast corner. 

A speculative mineral area has been identified for the entire eastern 
side of the mountains. Exploration and mining have occurred at several 
sites in the area, with ongoing operations at some of these. Because of 
its history and the administrative designation, this study area would 
have a better chance of experiencing impacts from mineral operations 
than most other study areas. The degree of these impacts cannot be 
foreseen. 

A hiking/backpacking trail has been recommended from the upper end of 
North Creek to the top of Mount Grafton. There is very little chance 
that the trail will actually be built. Impacts resulting from its con- 
struction would be minimal. 

General: 



Grazing occurs over most of the study area. No range improvements have 
been recommended in MFP-2 and there is no pressure for such improvements 
from the allottees; but certain areas in the southeast part of the area, 
currently ungrazed because of the unavailability of water, could be 
opened up with construction of a water catchment. Small vegetative 
treatments would also be possible on the lower slopes. Because there 
is no demand for these and because they would be limited to the lower 
elevations, the impacts to wilderness characteristics would be small. 

CONCLUSION 

In the event of nondesignation, the wilderness characteristics of the 
Mount Grafton study area would probably be affected only by mineral 
exploration and extraction. The significance of the impacts cannot be 
predicted accurately. Existing impacts, however, include two major 
switchback roads (boundary roads) that extend from Patterson Pass to 
the ridge line above 9,000 feet. 

Far South Egans 

The Far South Egans wilderness study area is located across highway 318 from 
the Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area, and extends from Shingle Pass south 
to Trough Spring Canyon. It is a very rugged, mountainous area with a fringe 



29 



of bench land along most of Its perimeter. Present economic uses are limited 
to grazing along the fringe. Historic uses have included logging in the 
north and on the east. 

I. WILDERNESS CHARACTERISTICS 



Naturalness; 

The mountainous part of the study area is in a nearly pristine condition. 
Exceptions are the logging areas on the north end and on the east in Saw- 
mill Canyon. Impacts from these activities have largely rehabilitated 
themselves, and are now considered supplemental values rather than impair- 
ments to naturalness. Logging played an important historical role in the 
development of Lincloln County, and few traces of this aspect of the 
County's history remain. Remnants include an old mill site in Sawmill 
Canyon, drag trails (nearly unnoticeable) , and stumps. 

The most unnatural portion of the area is the west bench, where several 
cherrystemmed roads and ways ascend toward the mountains. Two borrow 
pits are located just off of highway 318. 

Outside sights that may influence one's preception of the naturalness of 
the area include highway 318 and the Shingle Pass Road. These can be 
seen from the mountain tops. Sounds from the roads would not be heard 
by the visitor when he is more than two miles distant from them. 

There are several oil and gas leases in the study area. Their develop- 
ment and resultant impairment of the naturalness of the area are most 
unlikely. 

No mining claims occur in the study area. 

CONCLUSION 

Except for the west bench, the Far South Egans study area is in an un- 
usually natural condition. 

OUTSTANDING OPPORTUNITIES : 

The size of the area is 53,700 acres, and the configuration is good, with 
very few cherrystemmed roads. Topographic screening is excellent in the 
mountains, as is vegetative screening. Thick tree cover, broad mountains 
and large, irregular rock outcrops provide many secluded spots. The com- 
bination of these characteristics provides outstanding opportunities for 
solitude. Difficult access will limit use, increasing the likelihood of 
a solitary experience. 

Several noteworthy opportunities for recreation are presented in the study 
area. Extensive hiking can be done throughout the area, and the high 
scenic quality of the area and several destination points contribute to 
its quality. The destination points include the logged areas, the re- 
mains of the sawmill, the ponderosa-bristlecone pine community above 
Sawmill Canyon, and Whipple Cave. 



30 



Far South Egans 



Whipple Cave is an extensive limestone cave that offers outstanding 
opportunities for spelunking. A difficult entry way, several unusual 
cave formations, and a voluminous main passage with massive breakdown 
characterize the cave. One other cave is known to exist nearby in the 
area. 

Deer hunting of fair quality is available in the area. 

Nature study opportunities are present in the area. The bristlecone and 
ponderosa pine are of interest because of their relative scarcity, the 
fact that they are intermingled, and because the bristlecone occur at a 
very low elevation. Deer can be viewed in this mixed forest and else- 
where in the area. Current recreation use occurs as displayed in Table 
5 (see page 22 ) . 

CONCLUSION 

Opportunities for both solitude and for primitive recreation are out- 
standing. The solitude is due to screening, size, and configuration. 
The opportunities for recreation are due to the quality of spelunking 
in Whipple Cave. 

Special Features : 

A large, mixed stand of ponderosa and bristlecone pine is located above 
and to the west of Sawmill Canyon. These trees are interesting for 
several reasons. The ponderosa a relic population from earlier 
climatological conditions. Members of the bristlecone species are 
well known as the oldest living things on earth, and attract research 
and general interest. The occurrence of the two species together is 
unusual. The elevation at which these bristlecone grow is the lowest 
know occurrence in the Ely District. 

Sometime between 1900 and 1930, this area was logged extensively. Two 
sawmill sites are within the area. The one in Sawmill Canyon is the 
more intact, with an older boiler still remaining. These are imprints 
of man that are of historical and educational interest. 

Whipple Cave is a geologic feature that serves as a supplemental value. 
It is an extensive cave in good condition, with many formations formed 
by solutioning. The cave is still active, and is of scientific and 
educational interest. One other cave is know to exist in the area. 

Portions of the area - especially canyons on the west side - are highly 
scenic. 

Raptors nest in many parts of the area. The forested east bench provides 
nesting habitat for ferruginous hawks, and also supports sage grouse 
strutting grounds. Winter range for elk is located throughout the 
area. Mule deer summer range exists at the higher elevations. 



31 



CONCLUSION 

Many special features are present in the area. The most important of 
these are the ponderosa-bristlecone pine community, Whipple Cave, and 
the sawmill in Sawmill Canyon. 

Multiple Resource Benefits; 

Wildlife would benefit from designation in that the area has habitat 
suitable for reintroduciton of bighorn sheep. Wilderness designation 
would preserve this habitat and habitat for ferrugionus hawks. Benefits 
to other resources are the general ones mentioned previously resulting 
from maintaining the area in its natural, pristine condition. 



II. MANAGEABILITY 

The basic thrust of management for the Far South Egans study area, If 
it becomes wilderness, will be to provide opportunities for both primi- 
tive recreation and solitude. Few problems from high or concentrated 
use can be expected in successfully managing the area for these purposes. 
The area is remote from large population centers, and it lacks the 
features which traditionally attract large numbers of wilderness users, 
such as lakes, streams, and open, grassy meadows. 

One problem which will arise is the concentration of visitors in the 
Whipple Cave area. Present use is estimated at 150 visits per year, 
and this would increase with wilderness designation. This area, which 
represents a fraction of a percentage of the study area, cannot be 
managed to provide opportunities for solitude. It may also require 
"minimum tool" facilities to protect the resource from deterioration 
by overuse. 

Whipple Cave poses a special hazard to visitors because of its 60-foot 
vertical entrance. Wilderness designation may bring more attention 
and less experienced spelunkers to the cave. For both ethical and 
liability reasons, the wilderness management plan will have to deal 
with this problem. 

Other special features of the area may also need special management 
that is not necessarily consistent with maximizing opportunities for 
recreation and solitude. The portions of the area where ponderosa 
pines grow may require management to ensure perpetuation of the stands. 
This could entail controlled burns, which would conflict with recre- 
ational use for short periods of time. 

The Sawmill Canyon sawmill is of concern because of its special histor- 
ical value. Measures to limit or educate users might be desirable. 



32 



Far South Egans 

The west side of the study area is sloping, sagebrush-covered bench 
land. Several roads and ways intrude into this part of the area. 
Most of these are bladed and have obvious berms, but several are unus- 
able and are revegetating. Closure of one of these is effected by 
construction of highway 318 (AZ-8A) , and another has been reseeded at 
its beginning to discourage use (AZ-7). The others receive various 
amounts of use. (See supplementary file, road/way analysis forms). 

A few other cherrystemmed roads intrude into the area but closure 
would be impossible because of the terrain. They pose minimal problems 
for manageability. 

A small fringe of easily accessible land surrounds the study area. 
There may be problems with off-road travel across this land. 

There are no recorded mining claims within the study area. There are 
35 oil and gas leases that cover all but the most mountainous areas. 
The geology of Cave Valley on the east of the area and of White River 
Valley in the west is similar to Railroad Valley, where oil has been 
produced. 

No private or state lands are held in or adjacent to the study area. 
There are several material sites along the west boundary. The dis- 
turbed portions of these sites have been cherrystemmed, but the sites 
could be expanded so long as the expansion is confined within the 
original grant. 

CONCLUSION 

Few problems exist for managing the Far South Egans study area as 
wilderness. The two main problems are the cherrystems on the west 
side of the area, and the oil and gas leases over most of the area. 
There is some chance of oil and gas activity, but oil and gas poten- 
tial is "low" except on the east and west fringes, where it is "good" 
according to Fugro (Refer to minerals conflict section). 

III. ENERGY AND MINERAL RESOURCE VALUES 

Leasable Minerals - About 35 oil and gas leases cover all but the most 
mountainous portion of the WSA. Cave Valley on the east of the WSA 
and White River Valley on the west have geology similar to Railroad 
Valley, a known oil producing area. Several holes have been drilled 
just outside of the WSA but most have been dry. One well about 10 
miles west had some shows. Potential in the WSA is generally low, with 
some potential in the beach areas. 

There are no KGRAs or geothermal leases in or near the WSA. The geo- 
thermal potential is insignificant in most of the area, but is fairly good 
in a small zone on the southwest corner near Butterfield Spring. 

Portions of Cave Valley and White River Valley have been identified by 
USGS as having potential for sodium leasing. The identified area in 



33 



Cave Valley abuts the WSA boundary but is several miles away from the 
western boundary in White River Valley. There are currently no sodium 
leases in or near the WSA. The conflict is minimal since there are 
numerous, better-quality areas outside of the WSA, for example in Utah 
near Salt Lake City and near Fallon, Nevada. Other areas are located 
in Louisiana, New Mexico, and California. 

Saleable Minerals - There are no saleable mineral sites in the WSA but 

there are several along the west side. They will not extend into the WSA. Sand 

and gravel of good quality are probably present on the east and west benches. 

Locatable Minerals - There are no recorded mining claims within the WSA. 
No areas were identified as having mineral potential the URA, the Fugro 
report, or the GEM Survey. The mineral conflicts with this area are minimal. 

The Fugro report shows that the fringes of the area in White River and 

Cave Valleys have "good" potential for oil and gas. The rest of the 

area is shown to have "low" potential. The GEM Survey confirms this 
assessment, (see map on page 37). 



CONCLUSION 



Some potential for oil and gas exists on the lower elevations of the 
study area. Potential for locatable minerals is low. Overall conflict 
with energy and mineral resources is low. 

IV. IMPACTS ON OTHER RESOURCES 



Range : 

Present grazing quality is poor due to steep slopes and predominant 
forest. Fifteen square miles of sagebrush on the lower east and west 
slopes have higher grazing value. Two allotments, Shingle Pass and 
Sunnyside, cover the WSA. Unelco, Inc. is the livestock operator. 
Cattle graze yearlong. 

The future quality of grazing in the area will probably remain the same. 

Because of rough terrain there is only a slight chance that a proposed fence 
would be built along the resource boundary crossing the WSA. The same is 
true for a fence down the South Egan Range ridge. Perhaps 15 square miles 
along the lower slopes could be vegetatively treated. A spring could be 
developed and pipeline constructed on the west slope to open the area to 
more grazing. These potential improvements were recommended in the 
Schell MFP 2. 

If the area were designated wilderness the vegetative treatment would 
probably not be allowed. However, a let burn wilderness management policy 
might help mitigate this prohibition. Unless the fences were necessary to 
protect resource values they also would not be allowed. The likelihood 



34 



Far South Egans 



of either the treatments or the fences being built even without wilderness 
is low. The spring development and pipeline construction could occur 
if it would benefit the resource values. 

Forestry: 

The forest resources of the study area represent 1.9 percent of the total 
in the Scbell Resource Area. In the short term, wilderness designation 
would have minimal impact on the supply of woodland products available 
to meet current demand. With the exception of cherrystems in the north- 
east portion of the area, access to manageable acres requires ORV use. 
In the long term, demand for wood products from distant population 
centers may overwhelm their local supply and extend to areas such as the 
Ely District. 

Wildlife: 



Efforts to establish deer guzzlers in the WSA may be complicated. 

Lands : 

No private land exists adjacent to or within the WSA. There are several 
material sites along the boundary. On the west side there are two land- 
ing strips. 

Recreation: 



Designation would call attention to Whipple Cave, resulting in more 
crowding and vandalism. 

CONCLUSION 

No major conflicts exist between wilderness designation and management 
for resources in the study area. 

V. IMPACTS OF NONDESIGNATION ON WILDERNESS VALUES 

MFP 

Several MFP-2 recommendations have been made for range improvements in 
this study area. A fence line would bisect the area along its width, 
and would also run from this line south to the tip of the area. Most 
of this fence would be in very rugged terrain, and the chances of its 
ever being constructed are virtually nonexistent. Two vegetative treat- 
ments are proposed, on on the east bench and one on the west bench, and 
a pipeline is proposed for the west side of the range. The likelihood 
of their eventual implementation is fairly good in the long term. The 
impact of the vegetative treatments on wilderness values would be low 
because of their location on the lower open areas. The impact of the 
pipeline would be greater due to its location in the higher country. 

General: 



A silvicultural treatment of the ponderosa pine in the area might be per- 
formed some time in the future. This would likely be a controlled burn 

35 



and soil scarification. Impacts to wilderness values could be significant 
if road access were necessary. The chances of this treatment occurring 
are slight. 

It is unlikely that grazing would be increased or that new improvements 
would be made to the range if the area were not designated as wilder- 
ness. 

About two-thirds of the area is covered by oil and gas leases, which 
indicates a fair interest in the energy potential of the area. Explor- 
ation work will be done in the area if it is not designated. Impacts 
to wilderness values would probably be limited to the bench lands. 

Mining impacts to the area in the foreseeable future will be minimal. 
Little interest has been expressed in the area by claimants. 

Several material sites are located on the west boundary of the area, 
and if it is not designated as wilderness, more of these may be granted 
to the State of Nevada. 

CONCLUSION 

Very little would happen to the wilderness characteristics of the Far 
South Egans study area if not designated as wilderness, with the excep- 
tion of oil and gas exploration impacts on the bench lands. 



36 



R.63E. 



R.64E. 



R.62E 



T.8N 




T.7N. 



Miles 



1 1 2i, : 



knt 



Kilometers 






t.1 



I I SPECULATIVE MINERAL POTENTIAL 

V77A GOOD OIL/GAS POTENTIAL 

ROADS 

— ,- NOTICEABLE WAYS 



MINERAL POTENTIAL 
FAR SOUTH EGANS NV-040-172 



Fortification Range 

The Fortification Range study area is a single ridgeline 

mountain range and associated bench and valley areas. The western 1/3 and 
southern 1/5 of the study area is valley bottom and rolling hills which 
offer few recreation or solitude opportunities. The remainder of the WSA 
is a single north-south trending ridgeline which blends into more dissected 
tree covered hills in the southern portion of the range. In the north end, 
the ridge is bifurcated, with the more prominent fork composed of volcanic 
tuff which has undergone significant water eroison resulting in very inter- 
esting rock formations. 

I. WILDERNESS CHARACTERISTICS 

Naturalness: 

The imprints of man that constitute significant instusions have been 
deleted from the WSA during the inventory phase of the wilderness pro- 
gram. Range improvements to the west of the area and water developments 
including vehicular access in the canyons on the east are the primary 
imprints segregated from the area. These segregated developments im- 
pact the feeling of naturalness in the immediate area of the improvement, 
but have no impact on naturalness in the area as a whole. 

While oil and gas leases exist over most of the area, the primary grand- 
fathered activity is ranching. Additional impacts resulting from the 
exercise of grandfathered uses are not expected. 

The primary outside sights and sound affecting the perceived naturalness 
result from vehicular use on the access routes along the perimeter of 
the unit, and these are very slight. 

CONCLUSION 

The area is generally in a natural condition, although cherrystemmed 
access routes exist in several canyons along the east side. 

Outstanding Opportunities : 

The size of the area, about 41,600 acres, is sufficient to assure some 
measure of solitude where there is physical screening. Good solitude 
opportunities are provided in the canyons on the east side of the mountain 
range. Relatively dense tree cover in these canyons provide effective 
screening in these canyons. Similarly, vegetative screening coupled with 
hilly terrain assures good solitude opportunities in the south half of the 
mountainous portion of the WSA. The configuration of the WSA helps 
assure solitude, although the mountainous portion is long and narrow. 
If a visitor were primarily interested in finding a spot within the 
WSA where no one would likely interrupt the solitude experience, the 
south half of the mountainous portion could provide this opportunity. 



38 



Fortification Range 

The probability of outside sights and sounds interrupting the user is 
low if existing developments around the fringes of the area are avoided. 
The lask of specific destinations within the unit, limited availability 
of water and distance from major urban centers will reduce the likelihood 
of disturbances or encounters with other users. 

While opportunities for solitude were found to be good in portions of 
the area, overall opportunities are less than outstanding. 

The standard range of recreational opportunities listed in the preface 
is available in the Fortifications. Hiking, rock scambling, and camping 
can be pursued. Spelunking, cited in the original inventory has since 
been found to be lacking. (District Archaeologist Walt Cassidy) . This 
is a relatively poor diversity of recreation opportunity. 

Hiking - Opportunities for hiking vary from fair in the volcanic tuff 
in the central rocky area due to dangerous rock to good in the far north 
around Indian Spring. 

Rock Scrambling - Good opportunities for the "boulder jumping" form of 
rock scrambling exist in the far north of the area. In this same area 
some opportunity exists for rock climbing. The central part of the 
range contains very scenic, water-eroded volcanic tuff formations. While 
attractive due to its cragginess and color, the fragility of the rock 
formations make scrambling and climbing dangerous. 

Camping - The size and shape of the mountainous portion of he area 
limit camping opportunities. It is anticipated that most camping will 
occur on the fringes with the core area used primarily for day use. 
In this way, lower level water is available but the entire area could 
be en j oyed . 

Nature Study - This area has relatively high population of raptors, 
especially golden eagles. Antelope wild horses and ferral goats can 
be occasionally seen in the area. Current recreation use occurs as dis- 
played in Table 5 (see page 22 ) . 

CONCLUSION 




This area has one of the most scenic rock formations in the Ely BLM 
District. These formations add to the quality of experience for all 
users in the area. The WSA also has populations of raptors, especially 
golden eagles, which enhance the various recreation pursuits in the area. 

OTHER RESOURCE BENEFITS: 



Ponderosa pines on the north end will receive additional protection 

from designation. Benefits that would result to other resources from 

wilderness designation are the ones common to all study area listed in the 
preface. 



39 



II. MANAGEABILTIY 

The main thrust of management in the Fortification Range, if it be- 
comes wilderness, will be to provide highly dispersed recreational 
opportunities in a secluded environment. Recreational use will not 
create any significant management problems. Certain locations will 
receive a concentration of use as trail heads, and some measure may 
be desirable to encourage use of other locations. This should not be 
necessary for some time after designation. It should be recognized 
that use will be concentrated on the ridge, where opportunities for 
solitude will be of lower quality than in the area as a whole. 

Several roads and ways on the east side of the range have been cherry- 
stemmed out. Vehicles will continue to be used along these, with 
some small impact on solitude and naturalness in the immediate area. 
Closure of any of these except the road in Cottonwood Canyon would 
be impractical because of the open terrain. Closure of the Cotton- 
wood Canyon road would be impossible because of valid existing rights 
attached to it as a service road to an improved spring and pipeline. 
All of these east side roads and ways are short (less than 2 miles) 
and are well screened by pinyon-juniper. 

A fence line accompanied by a road extends into the area from the 
south (T7N, R67E, Sec. 6; T8N, R67E, Sec. 31). Another fence forms 
part of the boundary (T8N, R66E, Sec. 27, 22, 23, 24). These will 
require periodic maintenance and vehicular travel approximately every 
five years. Impacts to solitude and to perceived naturalness will be 
very brief. 

A cherrystemmed road intrudes on the west side of the area for a dis- 
tance of about 3 miles. This road will create significant problems. 
It intrudes deeply into the Gouge Eye, an area very susceptible to 
off-road vehicle use because of the relatively flat terrain. 

Other parts of the area are flat and open and are susceptible to off- 
road travel. These include most of the area located in T8N, R66E, 
and most of the southern portion in T7N, R67E. 

The western boundary is poorly defined along a seeding in T8N, R66E, 
Sees. 1, 12, and 13. 




Pine fml collecting occurs all along the, east si^Mj prized^equ 
ment is used for commercjLal harvesting, and prohibi#OTTx>f this us 
would require active enforcement. 

There are no private inholdings in the study area. One tract of private 
land on the northeast corner at Indian Spring is surrounded on three 
sides by the study area. Because it is a likely trail head, conflicts 
between the private land owner (s) and wilderness users are expected. 

The entire study area is covered with oil and gas leases. The potential 
for oil and gas is low in most of the area, although Fugro rated a fringe 
of about 2 miles in width on the west side as having good potential. 



40 



Fortification Range 

No mining claims are located in the study area. 

CONCLUSION 

A few moderate manageability problems exist in the Fortification Range 
study area. A slight chance exists for oil and gas drilling; a road 
into the Gouge Eye poses ORV use problems; commercial pine nut gathering 
occurs in a narrow margin along the east side. None of these is highly 
significant. 

III. ENERGY AND MINERAL RESOURCE VALUES 

Leaseable Minerals - The unit is completely covered with 24 oil and gas 
leases. There has been no on-the-ground work on any of the leases. 
The actual potential of this area is low except for the Gouge Eye, where 
Fugro has identified an area of good potential. No geothermal leases 
have been issued in or near this WSA, and geothermal potential is 
low. The western side of Lake Valley has some warm springs. However 
these are only 65-70°F and development potential is low. 

The western valley portion of the WSA lies within an area designated 
by USGS for potential sodium leasing. There are no sodium leases in 
the area. 

Saleable Minerals - There are no saleable mineral sites within the WSA. 
Saleable minerals are present on the western bench. 

The Schell URA 3 & 4 did not identify any particular mineral resource 
within the WSA although there is a large speculative mineral resource 
beginning a mile from the southern part of the WSA. The Atlanta and 
Silver Park Mines are located within the speculative area but are fur- 
ther defined as identified Economic Reserve. Gold is the main mineral 
mined but silver, uranium, lead, manganese and tungsten are also present. 

The Fugro report shows that the entire area has low mineral potential. 
The GEM survey confirms this assessment, (see map on page 44). 

CONCLUSION 

The energy potential of the area is low except in the Gouge Eye. Some 
£ mineral potential exists in the southern one-fifth of the area. 



IV. ^IMPACTS ON OTHER RESOURCES 



Range 



Present grazing quality of the WSA is fair to poor. The interior por- 
tion is generally too rough for livestock. The lower slopes generally 
have unpalatatable vegetation. The WSA is divided into three main 
allotments. The Geyser Ranch Allotment is on the west where cattle 
from November 1 to September 30. In the south, sheep and cattle 
are grazed year long. Cottonwood Allotment on the east grazes cattle 
grazed year long on the Wilson Creek Allotment. The South Spring 
Valley Allotment barely comes into the northern portion of the WSA. 

The future quality of grazing in the WSA would decrease somewhat due 
to juniper encroachment on the lower slopes. 

41 



There are a few range improvements within the WSA. Several wells, 
fences and pipelines lie just outside the houndary roads. 

The potential is good for more spring developments within the WSA. 
Some development would have pipelines associated with them, The Gouge 
Eye, a large horseshoe-shaped valley, located in the western central por- 
tion of the WSA, has potential for vegetative treatment. 

If the area were designated wilderness some springs might be developed 
if development would help protect the resource. The vegetative treat- 
ment would not be allowed; however, a wilderness controlled burn policy 
Id help mitigate the vegetative treatment prohibition. 



wou 



Wildlife 



Improvements for bighorn introduction (water) may be complicated. The 
reintroduction of native species is allowed however. Vegetative conversion 
to help reestablish Deer Herd 23 would be much more difficult under wilderness 
management. 



Lands 



No private land exists within the WSA. One parcel lies along the boundary 
on the northeast edge, surrounded on three sides. 



Recreation 



Adverse impacts to the recreation resource resulting from wilderness 
designation will be the general ones listed in the preface. 

Wild Horses 

The improvement of two springs in the Gouge Eye - as proposed in MFP - 
would be complicated and perhaps prohibited. 

Forestry 

An area along the eastern bench has been proposed for intensive manage- 
ment for pine nut collecting. This would be prohibited if the area 
were designated as wilderness. 

The Fortification Range study area represents 2.5 percent of the manage- 
able woodland in the resource area. Christmas tree cuts were made in 
1960, 1964, and 1965 on the northeast edge of the unit. Commercial pine 
nut harvesters from Utah, New Mexico, and Texas collect pine nuts along 
the east side. The area is within the demand range of Las Vegas Christmas 
tree cutters. 

The short-term impacts of removal of this portion of the woodland supply 
are minimal. 



42 



Fortification Range 



CONCLUSION 



Few conflict exist in the Fortification Range between wilderness desig- 
nation and management for other resources, and those that do exist are 
of low significance. 

V. IMPACTS OF NONDESIGNATION ON WILDERNESS VALUES 
MFP 

Without wilderness designation, and under MFP recommendations, the wilder- 
ness characteristics of the Fortification Range study would be affected by 
several activities. Two springs would be improved in the Gouge Eye for wild 
horses; a chaining/seeding would cover the southern tip of the area; and 
a narrow margin along the northeast boundary would be managed for inter- 
sive pine nut harvest. (A soil surface factor reduction is proposed for 
most of the unit, but is not likely to be implemented). All of these 
projects would affect the naturalness of the area and the quality of 
opportunities for solitude and recreation, but only the spring improvements 
would have any measurable impact, and then only if pipelines and roads 
to the springs were built. 

General 

Energy and mineral exploration may affect the naturalness of parts of 
the unit. As demand for forest products increases and the ability of 
the Bureau expands to accomodate the demand, the manageable forest of 
the unit will experience increased use and degradation of its natural- 
ness. The Gouge Eye might be chained and seeded, and more springs 
would be developed for livestock grazing. 

CONCLUSION 

In the next 10 years, few impacts would affect the wilderness character- 
istics of the Fortification Range if it is not designated as wilderness. 
Over the next 30 to 50 years, the wilderness characteristics may exper- 
ience significant impacts. Most of these would result from energy and 
mineral exploration, range improvements, and harvest of woodland products. 



43 






T.9N 




T. 8N. 



T.7N. 



g22 Q 0° D OIL/GAS POTENTIAL 

ROADS 

NOTICEABLE WAYS 



MINERAL POTENTIAL 
FORTIFICATION RANGE NV-040-177 



Table Mountain 

The Table Mountain area is a high plateau with associated rolling foothills. 
Most of the plateau or table area has been excluded due to roads and developments, 
The higher elevations typically have a good variety of open areas and tree- 
covered areas. The southern portions of the area are hilly with relatively 
dense pinyon-juniper cover. 

I. WILDERNESS CHARACTERISTIC S 

Generally all human imprints have been excluded from the area. Many 
roads on the plateau have been excluded, resulting in an irregular bound- 
ary. These roads vary in impact from deeply gouged bull-dozed roads to 
two tracks through low growth vegetation. Cumulatively, their impact 
is sufficiently severe to preclude rehabilitation. 

Several cherrystems intrude into the area. Most severe are two routes 
in the north, one in T7N, R68E, Sec. 25, 36; and one in T7N, R69E, Sec. 
29-31. 

Even though the land is fairly flat where these occur, closure might be 
feasible because of the thick pinyon-juniper. Their impact on the 
naturalness of the area is slight. Vehicular use of the routes, how- 
ever, will create an impact. 

Other cherrystems are: (1) a way that extends from private land up 
into Bailey Creek Canyon (T6N, R68E, Sec. 21, 28, and 29); (2) a way 
in the Camp Valley Creek Wash that extends about a mile north of Big 
Jack Ranch (T5N, R69E, Sec. 5, 6, and 8); (3) a trespass road in T5N, 
R69E, Sec. 19 and T5N, R68E, Sec. 24. The impact of these on the 
naturalness of the area as a whole is insignificant. 

The sights and sounds of the Alanta Mine affect one's perception of 

naturalness in the north end of the area. Vehicular use of the two 

cherrystems in the north end and on the table will also affect natural- 
ness. 

Outstanding Opportunities: 

Opportunities for solitude are constrained by the configuration of the 
area. The elimination of the table area has resulted in a pinched mid- 
section. The result is that the other characteristics that contribute 
to opportunities for solitude are not as effective as they would be if 
occurring in a more cohesive unit. Nonetheless, opportunities for 
solitude are outstanding. The major characteristic contributing to 
these is the dense vegetation of the area consisting mainly of pinyon- 
juniper and mahogany. While there are some open areas, other large 
parts of the study area have vegetation so dense that travel must 
often be on hands and knees. Adding to this screening is the diverse 
terrain consisting of rolling hills in the north, and low mountains 
in the south. A person can easily find many "secluded spots", and is 
not likely to see other users in his movement through the area. 



45 



The normal range of recreational opportunities (see "Preface") is available 
in this study area. The best of these are opportunities to hunt upland 
game birds and deer in the open areas scattered on the high table and 
peaks. Hiking opportunities vary, but are generally limited by the dense 
vegetation, which also limits backpacking opportunities. Opportunities 
for nature study vary from quite good up on the table where open areas 
occur to poor throughout the rest of the area because of dense vegetation. 
Interesting components of the environment include the open areas 
surrounded by dense vegetation; several ungrazed natural meadows; a 
variety of tree species; interesting geologic formations; and a diver- 
sity of wildlife. 

This diversity of opportunities for recreation is not unusual, certainly 
not outstanding. The quality of these opportunities is also less than 
outstanding. Current recreation use occurs as displayed in Table 5 
(see page 22 ). 

CONCLUSION 

Opportunities for solitude are outstanding in the Table Mountain study 
area because of a combination of topographic and vegetative screening. 
Opportunities for recreation are less than outstanding, both in diver- 
sity and in quality. 

SPECIAL FEATURES 

The lower elevations of the Table Mountain WSA are winter roosting areas 
for bald eagles. Sage grouse strutting grounds are also located within 
the boundary. The presence of the bald eagles is a significant attribute. 

MULTIPLE RESOURCE BENEFITS 

Wintering bald eagles would benefit from designation of the area as a wilderness 
since seclusion for the birds would be insured. Benefits to other 
resources would be those listed in the preface which are applicable to all 
study areas. 

II. MANAGEABILITY 

If the Table Mountain study area is designated as a wilderness, manage- 
ment of the area would primarily be concerned with providing oppor- 
tunities for solitude. Overuse by visitors probably would not be a 
problem for managing the area in this way. Use will be low for several 
reasons; the unit is far removed from large population centers; access 
to the high country is difficult; and there is a lack of those features 
which, to many wilderness users, characters wilderness and serve as 
its major attraction. 

A variable which may upset this low-use prediction in portions of the 

WSA is the existence of a small, but potentially much larger, tourist 

industry just outside the boundaries of the study area. The Mount 

Wilson Ranch, until recently operated as a food and lodging establishment 

for tourists. Wilderness designation could effect a reopening of the 

ranch. Visitors to the ranch would then likely make recreational use 

of the wildreness. Residential development around the ranch would also accelerate 

drawing more users to the area. 

46 



■■ ■ ■ - - - '" -n««mffriMTWOTffl»ffl 



Table Mountain 



Another commercial concern may soon be established at the Buckhorn 
Ranch, just south of the Table Mountain study area. The business - a 
western resort - is now under construction. Once in operation, it too 
can be expected to make use of the study areas, especially if they are 
designated as wilderness. 

The Bureau of Land Management will have the authority to regulate or 
prohibit outfitter-guide services that such businesses might offer. 
If these services are allowed, some form of regulation by the Bureau 
and attendant costs should be anticipated. Even if disallowed, recre- 
ational use of the wilderness will be higher than if there were no 
lodge/resort business nearby, and management will still be more intense. 
The management objective, however, will still be attainable. 

A difficult problem for managing the unit as wilderness will be the 
private inholdings scattered through the southern two-thirds of the 
area. Reasonable access to these is guaranteed to the private owner. 
Access may include roads. The Bureau has little control over develop- 
ment of the private land. Access to and development of these inhold- 
ings could severely impact the opportunities for solitude available 
in the area. Land exchange or land purchase is a possible means of 
resolving this problem. 

The configuration and topography of the study area combine to complicate 
its management as wilderness. The table area in particular poses a 
problem. Even though the unnatural roads and ways on the table have 
been eliminated from the study area, they still provide broad access 
to the study area for off-road vehicles. Use of ORVs is heavy during 
deer hunting season, and control of ORV use will be difficult. This 
problem would be solved by closing the roads in to Table Mountain. 
The roads would still be used, however, by the owners of private land 
on the table. Closure would not be a means of including the table in 
the study area. The gross unnaturalness of the table area makes reha- 
bilitation impractical. 

The north end of the study area, especially around and north of Smith 
Canyon, is susceptible to cross-country vehicular travel, and pro- 
tecting the area from this use will be difficult. The same problem 
attends the land in T6N, R68E, Sees. 31 and 32: T5M, R68E, Sees. 4 
and 5. 

The entire study area is covered by oil and gas leases. The potential 
for energy resources in the study area is low, but it should be noted that 
nearby Lake Valley has a geologic structure similar to Railroad Valley, 
which is currently producing oil and gas. Some chance of drilling exists 
in the area. 

Four mining claims are located along the southeast boundary of the study 

area. Nearly 120 are located in the northern part of the area. 

The upper two-thirds of the study area lies within the Atlanta and Silver 

Park Mining District. The northern fifth of the area lies within a "speculative 

area" for mineral resources, and just north of the study area boundary 



47 



lies Atlanta, a large, producing gold mine. Potential for gold, silver, 
uranium, lead, tungsten and manganese exists in a 400 acre hypothetical resource 
area adjacent to the northern boundary. Because of these factors, mineral 
potential in the north end of the study area appears to be significant, and some 
mining should be expected. 

CONCLUSION 

Several problems exist for managing the Table Mountain study area as 
wilderness. The most serious of these is the conflict with minerals 
which exists in the north end. The north end also presents a problem 
because of the easy access it provides for ORVs. Private inholdmgs 
pose a very serious peoblem in the southern two- thirds. Use of portions 
of the WSA by visitors from two guest ranches/lodges may require close 
management some time in the future. The area may be impossible to 
manage to provide outstanding opportunities for solitude. 

III. ENERGY AND MINERAL RESOURCE VALUES 

Leaseable Minerals - The entire WSA is blanketed by 14 oil and gas leases. 
There has been no drilling in the unit. A well, May Petroleum, was sunk 
about 15 miles west of the WSA in Lake Valley. The well was abandoned. 
Northern Lake Valley is structurally similar to Railroad Valley which 
is -currently producing oil. The valley portions of the unit have the 
most potential but generally potential is low. 

There are no other known leaseable minerals in or near the WSA. 

Saleable Minerals - There are no saleable mineral sites within the WSA. 
There are enough sites outside of WSA's to supply the needs for sand and 
gravel in the foreseeable future. 

Locatable Minerals - Four mining claims are located along the southeast 
boundary of the WSA. About 120 claims are located in the northern part 
of the unit. The upper 2/3 of the WSA lies within the Atlanta and 
Silver Park Mining District. A speculative area for mineral resources 
was identified in the Schell URA 3 and 4 for the northern one third of 
the WSA. The producing Atlanta Cold Mine is only a few miles north of 
the unit. The area around the mine is in an identified Economic Reserve. 
Adjacent to the northern boundary is about a 400 acre hypothetical re- 
source area. Potential exists for gold, silver, uranium, lead, tungsten 
and manganese. Lead is listed as a critical mineral. Both silver and 
tungsten are also listed but large stockpiles of these two minerals exist. 

The Fugro report fails to indicate any potential for minerals or oil 
and gas in the study area. The discrepancy between Fugro and the BLM s 
assessments is inexplicable. The BLM's assessment seems more realistic, 
and is supported by the GEM assessment, (see map on page 52 )• 

CONCLUSION 

Very significant conflicts exist in the northern one-third of the area 
between mineral potential and wilderness designation. 



48 



Table Mountain 



IV. IMPACTS ON OTHER RESOURCES 

Rang e 

The existing grazing quality for this WSA is poor due to hilly terrain 
and low value forage plants. The Wilson Creek Allotment covers the 
unit. Cattle grazing occurs during the warm season. 

Future grazing quality will remain poor without new range improvements. 

A few range improvements exist along the unit's boundaries but have been 
cherrystemmed out. Undeveloped springs are common within the area. 

The potential exists to develop a few springs within the WSA. One pipe- 
line was proposed in the MFP 2 which would cover about 1/2 mile in the 
north tip of the WSA (Bradshaw Spring). It would be located in T7N, R68E, 
Sec. 25. The north and west portions of the WSA are most suited to vegetative 
manipulation; however none are currently planned. 

If the area were designated wilderness, no vegetative manipulations 
would be allowed. Water developments might be allowed if they were 
necessary for resource protection. 

Wildlife 

Pinyon-juniper encroachment is a problem in this unit. Vegetative manip- 
ulation might not be allowed in wilderness but a controlled burn policy 
would mitigate this. 

Building wildlife water structures would be complicated. 

The following projects outlined in the Horsethief HMP would be adversely 
affected or eliminated. 

I) #6 priority (springs) Table Mountain Meadow Restoration 

T6N, R68E, Sec. 15 - Fencing to exclude livestock. Cost in 1975 
estimated at $3,500. This project is not a high priority but the 
potential for completion exists at some time in the future. It 
might be allowed even if the area were designated wilderness. 

II) #6 priority (chaining) Woods-McCullough Chain and Seed 1000A 
(partial). In 1975 the project was estimated to cost $31,000. 
The chaining would be located in T6, 7N, R69E. The potential 
exists for development of this project but not in the near 
future. If the area were designated wilderness, vegetative 
manipulation (including control burns) might be allowed if it 
benefited the wilderness resource. 

Larger scale vegetative conversions to restore Deer Herd 23 will be encumbered, 
in some areas prohibited. 



49 



Lands 

There are eleven parcels of private land along the WSA boundary. The 
following parcels are surrounded by the WSA (total 480 acres) and are without 
access: 

T6N, R68E, Sec. 12 SW*?; SW^s - 40 acres 

T6N, R68E, Sec. 36 SE% SVlh - 40 acres 

T6N, R69E, Sec. 31 NW% S$k - 40 acres 

T5N, R68E, Sec. 2 NFA; SW^ - 40 acres 

T5N, R68E, Sec. 27 SEJz; NE*?; - 40 acres 

T5N, R68E, Sec. 26 SW^ fflfe, E% S&r,, SWk, S&% - 240 acres 

Recreation 

Impacts from designation are the general ones listed in the preface. 

Forestry 

The Table Mountain study area includes 4 percent of the manageable wood- 
land in the Schell Resource Area. Considerable Christmas tree harvesting 
occurred from 1960-66, particularly along the boundaries. An area in the 
northeast portion is recommended for greenwood cutting. Firewood and 
Christmas tree demand comes from Pioche and Las Vegas. In the short 
term, removal of this portion of the available supply of forest products 
would be compensated by other areas in the vicinity. In the long term, 
any reduction in available suppy may cause dislocations in the supply/ 
demand structure for wood products. 

CONCLUSION 

A few conflicts exist between wilderness designation for the Table Mountain 
study area and management of other resources in the area, but these will 
be slight in the short term. In the long term, the only conflicts with the 
forest resource and even this is uncertain. 

V. IMPACTS OF NONDESIGNATION ON WILDERNESS VALUES 

MFP 

About 1000 acres of the study area would be chained and seeded (Woods - 
McCullough Chaining and Seeding) in T6, 7N, R69E. This would have a 
definite impact on the naturalness and the size of the area. 

About 4,000 acres in the northeast portion of the area would be desig- 
nated as a Christmas tree and greenwood cutting area. This would also 
have a definite impact on the naturalness and size of the area. 

The MFP has identified a "speculative" mineral area that covers the 
northern one-third of the study area. This indicates that mineral 
exploration will probably occur. Naturalness and outstanding oppor- 
tunities for solitude would be negatively affected by this activity. 



50 



Table Mountain 



General 

The naturalness of the northern third of the area and all of its peri- 
meter will slowly be impaired by relatively heavy use by hunters and 
users of forest products. 

CONCLUSION 

Even though several impacts will impair wilderness values with non- 
designation, impairment will occur even with designation (see manageability) 
Loss of wilderness values cannot be attributed to nondesignation. 



51 



R.68E. 



R.69E. 



' Miles 



■ i ? 1« »ri Kilometers 



| 1 SPECULATIVE MINERAL POTENTIAL 

ROADS 

NOTICEABLE WAYS 

|p~l PRIVATE LAND 




T. 5N. 



Little* 
Whtti Rcrk Spr 



MINERAL POTENTIAL 
TABLE MOUNTAIN NV-040-197 



White Rock Range 

The White Rock Mountains are generally a single ridge, north-south trending 
mountain range located on the Utah/Nevada State Line in the southeast corner 
of the Ely Distict. The highest part in the mountain range is north of the WSA. 
The WSA is made up primarily of lower mountains with dense pinyon- juniper cover. 

I. WILDERNESS CHARACTERISTICS 

Naturalness: 



Intrusions of consequence were deleted from the WSA during the inventory 
process. The final WSA is generally intrusion-free. Immediately out- 
side the WSA are vehicle trails, range developments such as springs, 
reservoirs, seedings and fences. Generally, these peripheral develop- 
ments have little if any impact on the feeling of naturalness within 
the area. 

The only known grandfathered usage in the area is ranching. Expansion 
of current ranching activities is not anticipated. The only portion of 
the WSA which receives significant grazing is the northwest corner. 

Sights and sounds from outside the area are very infrequent, and result 
from ranching activities and recreation users. Ranching activities 
would probably be limited to light equipment use. Recreation use which 
might disturb the naturalness of the area is limited to vehicle use on 
roads around the area and hunting activities. 

CONCLUSION 

The WSA is in a natural condition. Outside sights and sounds do not sig- 
nificantly affect the general naturalness of the area. 

Outstanding Opportunities: 

The WSA is about 23,600 acres in size. This is adequate for enhancing 
solitude opportunities if screening is available. The generally 
retangular shape of the area is very good for maximizing solitude 
opportunities provided by the available screening. 

The topographic screening in the WSA is generally good, with low 
rolling mountains dominating. The higher open mountain ridge to the 
north lies just outside the WSA. Vegetative screening throughout most of 
the WSA is excellent, made up of a dense blanket of pinyon- juniper , 
Within this area of thick tree cover, outstanding opportunities for 
solitude exist. The northwest portion of the WSA is more open, and 
this allows for more ranching activities than occur in the heavily 
timbered south half. 



53 



The area surrounding the WSA is ranching country, and some sights and 
sounds can be expected from this activity. Light equipment and vehicles 
can be expected infrequently on the boundary roads. The most disrupting 
other activity in and around the area is hunting. The impacts from 
these activities are seasonal and not significant. 

Due to the density of pinyon- juniper in much of the WSA, finding a 
secluded spot is a relatively easy task. This WSA could accomodate 
large numbers of users without compromising the solitude of any user. 

Other factors enhancing solitude opportunities in the area include the 
absence of destination points, distance from population centers and 
difficulty of access. Other than the numerous springs in the WSA, the 
area lacks specific points which would attract users. Large population 
centers are distant and dirt roads must be travelled for some distance 
to reach the area. While the rolling hill country is not extremely 
difficult to hike in, the area does not have many vehicle access points 
penetrating into the core area. These factors enhance solitude and 
help distribute use. 

The full range of recreational activities (see Preface) can be pursued 
in this WSA. Hiking, camping, backpacking, hunting and nature study 
opportunities exist to varying degrees. This does not constitute a 
particularly broad spectrun of opportunities and the diversity of prim- 
itive recreation opportunities is, therefore, considered limited. 

General quality of the opportunities varies from poor to good. Recreation 
use occurs as displayed in Table 5 (see page 22 )• 

Hiking : 

Opportunities for hiking are good but unvaried. Grades are reason- 
able, but the continuous pinyon- juniper cover limits the quality of the hike, 

Camping and Backpacking: 

The relatively dense tree cover is limiting, much as for hiking. One 
advantage the area does possess is numerous spring sources throughout 
the area. Water quality is unknown. 

Hunting: 

Generally hunting opportunities are fair in the area, with decreasing 
opportunities in the larger expanses of pinyon- juniper and better oppor- 
tunities around springs and openings in the cover. 

Nature Study: 

Fair opportunities exist in the northern portions of the area where 
there is greater variety in the ecosystem. In the southern half where 
the pinyon- juniper is thicker, opportunities decrease. 

CONCLUSION 
Opportunities for solitude are outstanding throughout much of the WSA, 



54 



White Rock Range 



primarily as a result of the dense pinyon- juniper cover. Recreation 
opportunities are less than outstanding. 

Speci a l Featur es 

No special features were identified in the WSA. 

Other Resource Ben efits: 

Benefits to other resources that would result from designating the 
White Rock Range as a wilderness are the standard ones listed in 
the Preface. 

II. MANAGEABILITY 

The primary thrust of management in the White Rock study area, if it 
becomes a wilderness, will be to provide outstanding opportunities for 
solitude to recreation users. There will be no difficulties posed 
by recreation use in attaining this objective. Use will be low due 
to the remoteness of the area, the lack of destination points, and 
the absence of stereotypical wilderness features. The variegated 
topography offers no obvious travel routes where use would be concen- 
trated. 

Most of the area is covered by oil and gas leases. No drilling has 
occurred in or near the unit, and the potential for oil and gas is low. 

The northwest part of the area falls within a former Known Geothermal 
Resource Area, but this designation has been dropped. No geothermal 
leases have been taken in the area, and no warm water springs are known 
to exist. Potential for geothermal energy in the area is low. 

There is one mining claim in the southeast corner of study area. The 
very southern portion of the unit is in an area identified in the 
Schell URA as being speculative for mineral resources. The inactive 
Confidence Mine is 1-1/2 miles south of the boundary. Some potential 
for uranium and gold may exist in this southern area, but based on 
current information, potential for locatable minerals is low in the unit, 

No other problems exist that would complicate management of the area as 
wilderness. There are no private or state inholdings. Grazing occurs 
on the fringes of the area, but does not significantly affect oppor- 
tunities for solitude or recreation. 

CONCLUSION 

Manageability of the area as wilderness is assured. 

III. ENERGY AND MINERA L RESOURCES 

Leaseable Minerals - About 10 oil and gas leases cover the WSA. There 
has been no drilling in or near the unit. The oil and gas potential of 
the WSA is unknown although it lies in the western overthrust belt. 
The valley portion of the unit may have more potential that the moun- 
tainous portions. 



55 



The northwest part of the unit lies within an area identified by USGS 
as being prospectively valuable for geothermal resources. There are 
no known warm springs within the unit or in the area indentified by the 
USGS. Due in part to its remoteness, the geothermal potential is fairly 
insignificant. 

About 400 acres on the WSA's west side are in an area identified for 
potential sodium leasing. There are no sodium leases in the WSA. This 
resource is insignificant since the area is so remote, and since there 
are numerous areas designated outside of the WSA. 

There are no other known leaseable mineral resources in or near the WSA. 

Saleable Minerals - There are no saleable mineral sites within the WSA 
Enough sites are present outside of WSAs to supply the needs for sand 
and gravel in the foreseeable future. There is fairly good potential for 
sand and gravel on the west side of the area. 

Locatable Minerals - There is one post-FLPMA mining claim know to exist 
in the WSA. No mining district is located in or near the WSA. The very 
southern portion of the WSA lies in an area identified through the Schell 
URA 3 and 4 as being speculative for mineral resources. A small area 
identified as being hypothetical touches the unit in the southeast 
corner. The inactive Confidence Mine within this area is about 1-1/2 
miles from the WSA boundary. There are uranium claims south of the 
WSA and there is also a potential for gold. Overall, the significance 
of the mineral potential for the WSA, with the exception of the southern 
part, is not very great. 

The GEM survey gives the area a "moderate favorability" for locateable 
minerals on the basis of the Paleozoic sediments underlying the 
Tertiary volcanic sequences, (see map on page59) 

CONCLUSION 

The value of energy and minerals in the White Rocks study area probably 
is low, except in the southern end where some potential for gold and 
uranium exists. 

IV. IMPACTS ON OTHER RESOURCES 

Range 

The existing grazing quality for this unit is low due to steep rocky 
terrain and fair to poor vegetational value. The WSA is within the 
Wilson Creek Allotment. Cattle graze the area. Many existing springs 
provide the cattle with water. 

The future quality of the area may decrease without vegetative treat- 
ment of the pinyon- juniper which covers over 80% of the unit. 



56 



White Rock Range 



A potential pipeline would run from Wildcat Spring across the SW por- 
tion of the WSA for about four miles. One or two water troughs would 
be associated with the line. About two sections of land along the 
western boundary of the WSA are marginally suited for vegetative treat- 
ment. The MFP 2 recommends that the west half of the WSA undergo vege- 
tative treatment. 

If the area were designated wilderness, the vegetative treatments would 
not occur. Wilderness designation would have little or no impact on 
grazing in this unit. 

Forestry 

The White Rock area represents about 1 percent of the manage- 
able woodland in the Schell Resource Area. Residents of Pioche, Ursine, 
and Utah collect firewood in the area, but demand could be met else- 
where, albeit at some inconvenience. Some Christmas tree sales occurred 
in the area in 1962 and 1964. Designation would cause this portion of 
the forest resource to be removed from the available supply. 

Wildlife 

Pinyon- juniper encroachment is a problem in the unit. Chaining and 
seeding would not be allowed in wilderness but a control-burn policy 
might mitigate this. 

Building wildlife water structures might be complicated. The construc- 
tion of the Wildcat Spring pipeline is also proposed by wildlife as the 
number 5 priority in the Horsethief HMP. 

Lands 

No private land exists in the area. The State of Utah owns some adja- 
cent land. 

Recreation 

Adverse impacts to the recreation resource resulting from wilderness 
designation would be the general one listed in the preface. 

CONCLUSION 

No major conflicts exist between wilderness designation and management 
of other resources in the White Rock study area. Some conflicts of 
minor importance exist. 

V. IMPACTS OF NONDESIGNATION ON WILDERNESS VALUES 

If the White Rock study area is not designated as wilderness, the Wild- 
cat Spring pipeline would be constructed, This would have a significant 
impact on the naturalness of the area, and some impact on opportunities 
for solitude. 



57 



Although it is unrealistic to expect implementation of the MFP recom- 
mendation for chaining the entire western side of the study area, some 
vegetative manipulation can be expected. Such treatments will have 
definite impacts on the naturalness of the area, and consequently on 
opportunities for solitude. These impacts will occur primarily at the 
lower elevations. 

As demand for forest products increases, impacts will expand into the 
area from wood cutting and associated road-building. This will affect 
opportunities for solitude and will damage the naturalness of the area. 

CONCLUSION 

Some adverse impacts can be expected to result to the wilderness chacteristics 
of the study area if it is not designated as wilderness. Naturalness and 
opportunities for solitude will be adversely affected. 



58 



1 



' Miles 
Kilometers 



ft 



.70 E 



T.4 N. 



T. 3N. 



R.71E. 4| 



R. 20 W. 




SPECULATIVE MINERAL POTENTIAL 

ROADS 

NOTICEABLE WAYS 



MINERAL POTENTIAL 
WHITE ROCK RANGE NV-040-202 



Parsnip Peak 

The Parsnip Peak wilderness study area is a large area south of Mount Wilson. 
The northern part of the area is mountainous, while the southern portion is 
low, sagebrush covered valley. Uses include grazing, especially on the 
Wilson Burn area; mining on the western edge; firewood and Christmas tree 
cutting; and hunting 

I. WILDERNES S CHARACTERI STICS 
Naturalness; 

Several of man's imprints impact the naturalness of the area. On the 
north end, a large fire has left a burned area - the Wilson Burn- which 
has been reseeded and is now covered with crested wheat grass, smooth 
brome, and yellow sweet clover, and is completely enclosed by a barbed 
wire fence, Although it is a modification of a natural environment, it 
is natural-appearing to the casual observer. 

Also on the north end is the Buckhorn Ranch, which is currently under 
construction. A private recreation project, the ranch is a visual impact 
on the perception of naturalness that one gets when standing on higher 
ground in the vicinity. 

The west side of the area has several cherrystemmed roads that impact 
naturalness. Good roads run into Hulse Canyon, Blue Rock Spring, and 
Tower Spring. A good road also runs into the perlite mine in T3N, R65E, 
Sec. 16. The impact of these - including the mine - is slight because 
of vegetative and topographic screening. 

The south part of the area is open sagebrush. Several routes cross the 
land. Their impact to the naturalness of the area is noticeable but not 
great. 

The Coal Burner Spring Road intrudes into the area from the south for a 
distance of four miles. 

On the east, a pipeline has been constructed at Willow Spring and is 
highly noticeable in the immediate area, although it too is cherry- 
stemmed out. 

A road extends into Buster Spring, but is nearly unnoticeable even when 
standing on it. The road serves a forty acre parcel of private land. 

Two roads that form the boundary of the area run in to Parsnip Spring. 

These are unnoticeable except when within about 20 feet of them. 

Outside sights and sounds are very few and do not affect the perception 
of naturalness. 



60 



Parsnip Peak 



CONCLUSION 

Even though several imprints of man exist in or adjacent to the study 
area, their impacts on the naturalness of the area are minimal. The 
central portion of the area - centered around Parsnip Peak - is in a 
pristine condition. 

Outstanding Opportunities; 

The opportunities for solitude in the Parsnip Peak study area are out- 
standing. Although the topography is not exceptionally rugged, it is 
mountainous, and very dense vegetation combines with it to make soli- 
tude a guaranteed quality. 

The vegetation consists predominantly of pinyon-juniper and mountain 
mahogany which is often so thick that the traveler must literally break 
a path through the limbs. 

The size of the area (reported at 81,600 acres, recently remeasured at 

87,500 acres) contributes to these opportunities. The configuration 

is a little unwieldy, but leaves a large area intact around Parsnip Peak. 

Outside sights and sounds are none or few. Of course, standing on 
Parsnip Peak, one can see the Wilson Road, Pioche, and smaller roads 
and ways, but from this distance, these impacts are insignificant and 
may serve even to reinforce the perception of solitude. 

Many opportunities for recreation are present in the area. Backpacking 
and camping opportunities are abundant: there are many campsites, plenty 
of fuelwood, and several springs (especially in the burn area), although 
water quality is unknown. The varied landscape and ecosystems make back- 
packing an experience in discovery. Opportunities are somewhat limited, 
though, by very thick vegetation in some parts, especially on the east. 
It is impossible to get through some areas with a backpack. 

The difficulty of access is the main reason that much of the area is in 
such pristine condition; and it is this characteristic that makes the 
area an excellent ' subject of nature study. Neither man nor livestock 
has impacted the high country around Parsnip Peak. Vegetation is in a 
pristine condition, and includes some unusual features, such as a 
ponderosa pine / gambel oak stand and a ponderose pine / aspen stand. 
Wildlife includes deer, raptors, bobcats and mountain lions. Several 
large rock outcrops are in the area, but one in particular just east 
of Parsnip is of interest to geologic sightseers because of its large 
size and because of its uncommon appearance. It also is highly scenic, 
and provides excellent habitat for wild cats. 

Deer hunting opportunities in the area are fair; blue grouse hunting 
fair; sage grouse hunting poor to fair; cougar hunting, good. Hunting 
opportunities are therefore generally fair, although access deep into 
the area is a problem. 



61 



Horseback riding can be done in many parts of the area, although water 
for horses could be a problem outside of the Burn. 

Good Opportunities for rock climbing exist in the area, and are appro- 
priate for a wide range of skill levels. Recreation use occurs as dis- 
played in Table 5 (see page 22 ). 

CONCLUSION 

Opportunities for solitude are outstanding. Opportunities for recreation 
are outstanding because of their diversity, and because of the quality of 
nature study and biking/backpacking/camping. 

Special Features 

The Parsnip Peak study area has several special features. The ponderosa 
pines and the undisturbed environments mentioned above are among these. 
So is the visual quality of the area, with the contrasting colors of 
the rock outcrops and large aspen stands poised against the dark green 
of the dominant tree species. Some parts of the area received a class 
A quality rating (VRM) . 

The Wilson Burn revealed several archaeological sites. Twenty-five 
hundred acres bave been inventoried, which revealed a great density of 
artifacts. Elsewhere in the area, artifacts such as the hunting blind 
pictured in a report supplementary to the wilderness inventory are proof 
of earlier inhabitants. 

On the southeast edge of the unit, there is an apache tears rockhounding 
area. 

CONCLUSION 

Several significant special features exist in the study area. The most 
important of these is the archaeological wealth of the area, although 
it has not been completely assessed. 

Multiple Resource Benefits 

Other resource benefits resulting from designation would be the standard 
ones which are common to all the WSA's. 

II. MANAGEABILIT Y 

The basic thrust of management for the Parsnip Peak study area, if it 
becomes wilderness, would be for providing opportunities for primitive 
recreation and solitude, No problems from recreational use are antici- 
pated in achieving this objective. The area is large enough, and the 
vegetative and topogtraphic screening effective enough, to provide soli- 
tude for several users at one time. Use will be kept low because of 
the remoteness of the area from large population centers and the absence 



62 



Parsnip Peak 



of stereotypical wilderness features. Several small areas within the 
unit may receive concentrated use as base camp sites. The Buster Spring, 
Parsnip Spring, and Hulse Canyon areas would be such likely points, and 
this may create some conflict with private landowners. Note, however 
that hunters and campers already make use of these areas. 

Wildlife 

Pinyon- juniper encroachment is a problem in this unit. Vegetative 
manipulation by chaining and seeding would not be allowed in wilderness 
but a let burn policy would partially mitigate this. 

Building wildlife water structures will be complicated. 

The following projects outlined in the Horsethief HMP would be ad- 
versely impacted or eliminated: 

a) #2 priority Pearson Summit Chain & Seed 1,000 acres (partial) 
located in T2N, R68 &69. The potential for this project is 
fairly high. 1975 cost estimate $31,000. (Lower slopes on 
south end). 



b) #9 priority Page Creek Chain & Seed 1,000 acres (partial) 
located in T3N, R68E - almost entirely outside the unit on 
the west side. 1975 cost estimated at $28,500. Potential 
for development is very low. 

c) #12 priority Parsnip Peak Chain & Seed 1,000 acres T2N, R68E, 
Sec. 1 & 12, T2N, R69E, Sec. 6 & 7 - Estimated cost in 1975 
$31,000. This project is a low priority. The chance of it 
occurring is very low. 

Lands : 

Five parcels of private land exist along the WSA boundary. The follow- 
ing parcels are surrounded by the WSA (total 240 acres) : 

T4N, R68E, Sec. 4 SFA; NEJs 40 acres 

T4N, R68E, Sec. 3 Wk SW% 40 acres 

T4N, R68E, Sec. 14 N% S&Z 80 acres 

T4N, R68E, Sec. 26 NEJ5 S&% 40 acres 

T4N, R68E, Sec. 25 SW% Wh 40 acres 

2 (40 acre) parcels are at the end of cherrystems. 

Recreation 

Adverse impacts to the recreation resource resulting from wilderness 
designation would be the general ones listed in the preface. 



63 



Special features of the area would require special management not 
necessarily compatible with recreation. Extensive archaeological sites 
exist in the area, and if recreational use increases with wilderness 
designation, secondary impacts to these would increase. Restricting use 
in these areas or educating users to respect the resource might be necessary. 
Accelerating the cultural resource inventory for the area to accumulate 
data before it is impacted is recommended. 

Ponderosa pines grow in the area. Management to perpetuate these may 
include burning on a prescribed and periodic basis, and this would con- 
flict with recreational use of the area for very short periods of time. 

There are several private inholdings in the area, and these could cause 
significant problems for manageability because of the access guaranteed 
to private owners. One owner has already stated that he intends to 
improve a spring on his land, and this will require building a road. 
There are no known plans for the other inholdings, but they will become 
very desirable properties if designation occurs, and titles and plans 
for the land may change. One recreation-oriented business until recently was 
operating just outside the area (Wilson Ranch), and another is under 
construction (Buckhorn Ranch). The private inholdings could be very 
attractive to businesses. 

These businesses may also pose problems similar to those outlined in the 
manageability section for Table Mountain. Their presence near the bound- 
aries of wilderness areas will attract larger numbers of users than would 
otherwise be expected. Concentrated use might occur in certain portions 
of the areas, and management should address this problem. 

The lower portion of the study area is sagebrush flats. Several routes 
have been cherrystemmed out. Off-road vehicle use would be nearly im- 
possible to control, especially along these cherrystems, Closing the 
cherrystems and allowing them to rehabilitate is impractical because of 
the flat, open terrain. 

Much of the western side of the area has an irregular configuration. 
Manageability could be improved by removing some of the more irregular 
portions. 

CONCLUSION 

A portion of the area is capable of being managed as wilderness for the 
long term. Use may be concentrated at several base camp areas, and this 
should be monitored. Archaeological resources should be inventoried 
and protected. On the sagebrush flats ORV use would be impossible to 
control. Some of the private inholdings could be excluded form the WSA, 
or brought into public ownership through a cooperative land transfer. 



64 



Parsnip Peak 



III. ENERGY AND MINERAL RESOURCE VALUES 

Leaseable Minerals - Over 50 oil and gas leases cover all but about 
6,500 acres of the WSA. There have been no discoveries in the area; 
however the potential for oil and gas does exist. The valley portions 
and lower slopes hold the most potential for oil and gas traps. The 
lower areas have speculative potential. 

There are no KGRAs or geothermal leases in or near the WSA. The geo- 
thermal potential is insignificant. 

Two areas have been identified by the USGS as having potential for 
sodium leasing. One lies in the valley to the east of the WSA and 
covers about 1,000 acres of the unit. The other area overlaps the 
bottom southwest arm of the WSA. There are no sodium leases in or 
near the WSA. This resource is insignificant since the area is 
so remote and there are numerous leasing sites outside of WSAs. There 
are no other known leaseable mineral resources in or near the WSA. 

There are no known saleable mineral resources in the WSA. 

Locatable Minerals - Seventy-five mining claims lie in or near the WSA 
boundaries. They are all associated with boundary roads, cherrystems 
or other areas eliminated during the inventory. Two areas of about 
1,600 acres each were identified during the Schell URA 3 and 4 as 
submarginal. These areas are located near Board Cabin Spring and 
Pearson Summit. Perlite (a volcanic glass) has been mined from an open pit 
in T3N, R68E, Sec. 16. Large deposits of perlite remain but are unlikely 
to be developed because of their distance from markets, and because 
of immense deposits in Arizona and New Mexico. 

A speculative area in T3N, R68E surrounding and connecting the two 
submarginal areas was also identified in the Schell URA. A small 
portion of a speculative area also extends into about 700 acres in 
the southwest. 

The Fugro report identifies two large zones in the southern, valley por- 
tion of the area as having "speculative" potential for oil and gas. This 
southern portion was also shown as having zones of "speculative", "good", 
and "high" mineral potential. The remainder and larger part of the 
area was shown to have "low" potential for energy and minerals. 

The GEM survey for this area generally supports these findings 
although it gives higher potential for locateable minerals. This is 
based on the presence of Paleozoic sediments underlying the Tertiary 
volcanics that cover the area. Geochemical testing should be conducted 
here before this estimate of potential is accepted. (see map on page 68 )• 

CONCLUSION 

Except in the southern third of the area where both oil and gas and 
mineral potential exists, few conflicts exist between wilderness and 



65 



mineral values. Because of distance from markets, and because of 
vast perlite deposits elsewhere, the old open-pit perlite mine will 
probably not be reactivated. 

IV. OTHER RESOURCE CONFLICTS 

Range 

The existing grazing quality of the area is very good. The Mt. Wilson 
Burn in the north end of the WSA has high quality grazing. Most springs 
used by cattle are located just outside the WSA, but there are about 20 
springs used in the WSA. The unit is within the Wilson Creek Allotment. 

The future grazing quality of the WSA will remain high; however, some 
areas will decline with juniper replacing other more desirable vegetation. 

The WSA boundary goes around a number of range improvements. Recorded 
range improvements within or cherrystemmed out of the WSA: 

1. Parsnip Pipeline (#0061) located in P.U. 12 T4N, R69E, Sec. 26 
36. The rancher maintains the pipeline yearly. A cat with a 
ripper may be needed. 

2. Willow Spring Pipeline (#4046) located in P.U. 12 T3N, R69E, 
Sees. 13, 23, 24. Yearly maintenance by the rancher is required. 
A ripper cat may be needed for repairs. 

3. Bowling Fence (#4226) located at T3N, R69E, Sees. 13 23, 24. 
BLM maintains the fence yearly on foot or horseback. No other 
access is available. 

4. Coal Burner Spring (#4293) located in T3N, R68E, Sec. 36. Every 
four years the rancher maintains the spring. A backhoe may be 
needed for repairs. 

5. Wilson Seeding (#4302) located in the northern end of the unit. . 
BLM inspects the seeding every five years. The seeding is fenced. 

Potential for additional improvements is high. Springs could be developed 
to allow greater distribution of cattle, Potentially 25 sections of land 
could be converted from pinyon- juniper to grasses. 

If the area were designated wilderness no vegetation treatments by chaining 
and seeding would be allowed. Some spring development might occur. 

Forestry: 

The Parsnip Peak study area represents 5.4 percent of the manageable 
woodland of the resource area. The unit is used by residents of Pioche 
(pop. 600) and surrounding ranches for fuelwood and Christmas tree 
cutting. It is also within the demand range of Las Vegas. The north- 
west portion of the study area contains the Mount Wilson burn, which has 



66 



Parsnip Peak 



considerable standing timber that is easily accessible and harvestable, 
although its commercial value will be lost in three years due to rot. 
Wilderness designation would cause an adverse impact to the local users. 
The cost of cutting fuelwood would increase, in part due to increased 
haul distance, Several cherrystem roads lead to prime pine nut collect- 
ing areas. If the area is designated wilderness, more pressure will be 
placed on other areas for commercial pine nut gathering. 



67 



T.3N. 







I | SPECULATIVE MINERAL POTENTIAL 
jgg] HIGH MINERAL POTENTIAL 
Ev51 GOOD MINERAL POTENTIAL 



[Ml SPECULATIVE OIL/GAS POTENTIAL 

ROADS 

NOTICEABLE WAYS 

[P I PRIVATE LAND 

MINERAL POTENTIAL 
PARSNIP PEAK NV-040-206 



Worthington Mountains 

This wilderness study area consists of a north-south trending mountain 
range and its associated bench and valley areas to the east and west. The 
Worthington Mountains are an extremely rugged single ridge range made up 
of every formation from the Ordovician Pogonip Group to an unnamed 
Mississippian limestone unit. With the younger rocks occurring at 
the southern end. 

Leviathan Cave, an active limestone cave of significance exists in the 
southern half of the range and is the primary attraction for most visitors, 

I. WILDERNES S CHARACTER! STIC S 

Naturalness: 



Generally, all man-made intrusions were deemed significant and were 
excluded from the area during the various wilderness inventories con- 
ducted to date. These included mining activities in the north end of 
the mountain range, range improvements such as fences and reservoirs, 
and access routes for recreation, exploration and range. These imprints 
are at lower elevations and, while excluded, penetrate the wilderness 
study area, resulting in a somewhat irregular boundary. While ways can 
be located within the WSA, they are insignificant to the naturalness of 
the area. 

The majority of the intrusions are in the valley and bench portions of 
the WSA, leaving the mountain range free of man's imprints other than 
the mining activities at the north end of the range. The overall im- 
pact of man's activities are generally unnoticeable in the area as a 
whole. However, there are 77 mining claims in and adjacent to the 
northern boundary of the WSA. Of these, 30 were claimed prior to the 
passage of FLPMA. There is a potential that expansion activities on 
those claims with valid existing rights or grandfathered rights may 
impact the naturalness of the area in the future. The chances of 
these activities or grandfathered grazing activities having substan- 
tial impacts on the area in the foreseeable future are very low. 

The only outside sights and sounds which might affect the naturalness 
of the area are mining activities to the north and ranching activities 
on the perimeters. The mining activities could include blasting and 
heavy equipment use. Ranching activities would likely be limited to 
light vehicle use. None of these activities are expected to signifi- 
cantly affect the naturalness of the area. The use of the area for 
low level jet manuevers does not detract from the naturalness of the 
area. 



69 



CONCLUSION 

Generally all manmade intrusions have been excluded from the area and 
day-to-day activities do not significantly detract from the area's 
naturalness. Expansion of the mining activities on the north repre- 
sent the greatest threat to the area's naturalness. 

Outstanding Opportunities: 

This area was found to offer good but not outstanding opportunities for 
solitude based on the intensive inventory criteria. 

The size of the area is about 47,100 acres. Generally this size is 
sufficient to provide some measure of solitude based solely on size 
This size alone will not assure outstanding solitude, but is sufficient 
if other factors such as screening are available. The configuration is 
elongated along the north-south axis as are most units in the district. 
The narrowness of the mountain range detracts from the area's ability to 
provide opportunities for solitude. 

The periphery of the area is valley bottom and benchland, which provides 
little if any topographic screening. The Worthington Mountain Range is 
a single ridge, steep sided range. Opportunities for solitude based on 
topographic screening are limited due to this single ridgeline character. 
Users will likely use the ridgeline, resulting in encounters with others. 
Small canyons on the steep mountain flanks provide some solitude oppor- 
tunities. 

Vegetative screening varies greatly. In the valley bottoms and portions 
of the ridgeline, little screening exists. Spotty instances of effective 
screening can be found in the northeast part of the mountains. 

Generally, outside sights and sounds do not affect solitude. Minor 
mining activities and ranching may in rare instances disturb visitors 
in the immediate vicinity. However, on occasion the Air Force practices 
low level fighter and bomber manuevers in the vicinity. During these 
limited periods, no solitude can be found in the area. Sonic booms 
penetrate even into the recesses of Leviathan Cave. 

Secluded spots based on topographic and vegetative cover are at a 
premium in the area. In the northeast portion of the mountain range, 
isolated spots of seclusion can be found in the tree covered slopes. 
Canyons along the west flank of the mountains also provide instances 
of seclusion. 

The two areas in the unit which might hold special attraction to the user 
are the ridgeline and Leviathan Cave. If multiple users are in the WSA, 
they are likely to be in one of these two areas, increasing the likeli- 
hood of encounters with others. However, the difficulty of access and 
lack of water will probably limit use along the ridge. 



70 



Worthington Mountains 



A variety of recreation pursuits can be undertaken in the WSA. Hiking 
camping, rock scrambling, technical climbing, spelunking, fossil collec- 
ting and nature study can all be undertaken here. Quality of the oppor- 
tunities vary from poor in the case of camping to outstanding in the case 
of spelunking. Generally, the steepness of the range and potential for 
denial of access due to sheer rock faces limit the area's potential for 
hiking. The lack of water, rarity of good camping sites and difficulty 
of access limit camping opportunities to poor. 

Rock Scrambling- Various canyons on the south end of the range provide 
excellent opportunities for the "jumping from boulder to boulder" sort 
of rock scrambling. Difficult ascents in many of the canyons limit 
the scrambling opportunities. The potential also exsists for the user 
to get "bluffed in" when attempting to leave the area. 

Technical Climbing- Short face technical climbing opportunities exist 
throughout the southern half of the mountain range. The rock faces 
available are of a solid lime stone material which offer good climbing 
opportunities. While many short faces exist in the area for both equip- 
ment and non equipment techical ascents, none of these are considered 
of the length or difficulty needed to make them outstanding. 

Spelunking - Opportunities exist in several known caves for the spe- 
lunker, including Jinx, Lavender and Leviathan. The potential exists 
for the discovery of other significant caving resources. Of the three 
caves noted, Leviathan offers outstanding opportunities for the spe- 
lunker. One major room in the cave is extremely active, forming a 
myriad of interesting formations. This cave is the primary qualifier 
of the WSA. With the addition of other known caves and the discovery 
potential, the spelunking opportunities in the WSA are one of the 
important recreation resources in the District. 

A few types of fossils were found along the ridgeline of the mountains. 

Geologic sightseeing and botanical study (bristlecone pine ) are gener- 
ally limited to small portions of the WSA. Cave study is probably the 
foremost nature study opportunity in the area and is excellent. Recreation 
use occurs as dispalyed in Table 5 (see page 22 ). 



CONCLUSION 
The diversity of primitive recreation opportunity falls short of the 
level needed for qualification. Of the activities available in the 
unit, only the spelunking opportunities in Leviathan Cave are out- 
standing and this opportunity qualified the area for designation. 

SPECIAL FEATURES 

The caves in the area are of significance due to their quality rather 
than abundance. Leviathan Cave is "one of the most spectacular wild 
caves ..." caving authority Ed Wood of the National Park Service 
has visited. ". . . There is little doubt in my mind that it is of 
national significance." 

71 



The stands of bristlecone pine are not of the characteristic gnarled 
form nor are they the ancient trees such as are found on Mount Wheeler. 
Their significance is not high nor are they particularly abundant on 
the range. 

Fossil material occurs along the ridge. Further study may reveal addi- 
tional values. 

An Indian Sandel, a metate, and a hunting blind were discovered in 
the area. There are also strong indications that two Indian wickiups 
once existed in the entrance of Leviathan Cave. Potential is good for 
other finds. 

At this time, only occasional bighorn sightings occur in the area. 
These animals are believed to be in transit between other habitat. 
Should an NDOW proposal to reestablish a resident bighorn population 
within the area come to fruition, this special feature would then be- 
come significant. 

CONCLUSION 

While the area contains several special features of interest to the 
user, only the Leviathan Cave resource is considered of greater than 
local significance. This resource may be of national importance. 

II. MANAGEABILITY 

The primary management objective for the Worthington Mountains, if they 
become a wilderness, will be to provide outstanding opportunities for 
recreation, specifically for spelunking. Leviathan Cave will undoubt- 
edly be the main attraction of the area, and this will create some 
problems. High use of this resource will inevitably bring some deter- 
ioration. Management tools to minimize these impacts will probably 
be necessary, and could include educating users about the fragility 
of the resource, and limiting use by one of several methods. Con- 
struction of a trail to the cave may be necessary to protect the route 
over which high numbers of visitors travel, although this would in- 
crease visitation to the cave. A program to monitor impacts from 
visitation at the cave and on the way to the cave will be necessary. 

No attempt should be made to provide opportunities for solitude in 
the vicinity of the cave. Use will be too high and screening insuf- 
ficient to provide solitude. 

Much of the north end of the range, located just outside the study area, 
has been heavily impacted by mining operations at the Freiburg Mine. 
This mine is a special case. Recorded production since the mine's 
beginning in the 1980 's amounts to about $18,000. 

The study area may experience degradation between now and the time 
that it is designated as wilderness if grandfathered mining uses extend 
into the area. Continuation in the same manner degree would destroy 
the wilderness characteristics of the affected portion. 



72 



Worthington Mountains 



Mining may be allowed in the area if it becomes wilderness, provided 
that the claimant can prove he has a valid discovery. This is likely 
to occur in some portions. Fugro identified a thin belt of "good" 
mineral potential that extends 5 miles south on the bench lands below 
the Freiburg Mine, and another area of "high" mineral potential on the 
valley portion in the northwest corner, The Freiburg Mine was rated 
as having "low" potential. 

The Schell URA lists the Freiburg Mine as an identified economic re- 
source, and the area surrounding it (including about 7600 acres in the 
study area) as an undiscovered speculative resource. 

Most of the west side is leased for oil and gas as is the northeast 
corner. The west bench was rated by Fugro as a "speculative" oil and 
gas area. The west and the east bench lands are also classified by Fugro 
as geothermal potential areas, although no geothermal leases have been 
issued here. 

Water rights are held on two springs in the area, Wild Horse Spring and 
Stink Bug Spring. These rights by themselves do not confer any special 
privileges, but there may be valid existing rights attached to the 
waters that would allow continued use at the same level as on October 
21, 1976. 

A few cherrystemmed roads and ways intrude into the study area. Some 
problems with controlling off-road vehicle travel can be expected in 
both the vicinity of these routes and in the flatter parts of the study 
area generally. 

One factor over which the Bureau will have little or no control is the 
periodic overflights by low-flying military aircraft. Opportunities for 
solitude are most affected by these overflights, but since the study 
area does not offer outstanding opportunities for solitude, the impact 
on wilderness characteristics is not significant. (There have been 
reports that sonic booms are causing deterioration in the cave, and 
this needs to be investigated). 

No private lands are held within the study area. One parcel is adja- 
cent to the boundary in the Freiburg Mine area. 

CONCLUSION 

Some significant problems exist for managing the Worthington Mounatains 
as wilderness in the long term. Most important of these is the sporadic 
but continued mineral interest in the northern third of the mountain 
range. Oil and gas interests may also eventually conduct on-the-ground 
operations on the benches. The benches and valley portions are suscep- 
tible to uncontrolled ORV use. 

The southern part of the mountain range, which includes Leviathan Cave, 
has few manageability problems apart from concentrated visitation. 



75 



" m "" ilJ ~'lWii'-T ■ 



in. F.NT7.Rryr_ANr) mineral resource values 

Leaseable Minerals - Oil and gas leases cover the western portion of the 
WSA (15). Nine leases are on the northeast side as well. 

The BLM has not identified any known or potential geothermal areas within 
or near the WSA. There are no geothermal leases. 

No other known leaseable mineral resources are located in the WSA. 

Saleable Minerals - There are no saleable mineral sites within the WSA. 

Locateble Minerals - About 77 mining claims are in the northern portion 
of the WSA just south of the Freiburg mine area. The Freiburg Mining 
District is old, but production has been small to date. 

Some lead and silver were produced. About 7,600 acres in the north 
central part of the WSA are in an area identified as a speculative 
resource due to favorable geology. The area around the granite stocks 
and dikes (just north of the WSA) is designated as a hypothetical re- 
source. The Freiburg Mine area (outside WSA) is designated as an 
identified economic reserve. The potential exists for silver, gold, 
lead, tungsten and zinc. 

The Fugro report shows a long, narrow area of "good" mineral potential 
extending south from the Freiburg Mine along the eastern bench. A 
"high" mineral potential area is shown in the valley in the northwest 
corner of the area. The Fugro report also indicates that the western 
(Sand Spring Valley) portion of the area is a "speculative" oil and gas 
zone, and that this same portion and the eastern (Garden Valley) portion 
have geothermal potential. This last conclusion is at variance with 
BLM findings. 

The Gem survey shows some potential in the area immediately adjacent 

to the Freiburg Mine, but indicates low or no potential in the remainder 

of the WSA. 

CONCLUSION 

The north end of the Worthington Range has long been of interest to miners, 
probably with good reason. Mineral potential exists around the Freiburg Mine, 
and is speculative elsewhere in the range. Potential for energy exists 
in the valley and bench portions of the area, (see map on page 77 ). 

IV. IMPACTS ON OTHER RESOURCES 



Range : 

The existing grazing quality for this unit is very poor in the mountainous 
portion and poor to fair on the lower slopes. A grazing allotment, Wortn- 



74 



Worthington Mountains 



ington Mountain 1021, covers the east half of the WSA. Cattle and sheep 
are grazed from December 1 to May 31. Two other allotments, McCutchen 
and Sand Spring, cover the western side of the WSA. McCutchen is grazed 
for 6-10 months a year with cattle. Cattle graze the Sand Spring 
Allotment for six months every two out of three years. The future 
quality of grazing is expected to remain the same. 

Several spring developments, reservoirs and one fence are located along 
cberrystemmed roads. One pipeline occurs in T1S, R56E, Sees. 1-4. The 
potential for improvements is low. 

If the area were designated wilderness, grazing would experience very 
little effect. The mountainous portions are too rough for livestock. 

Wildlife 

ADC programs might be adversely affected due to restriction of M-44 use 
and offending animal restrictions. If the area were designated wilder- 
ness the offending animals could be removed but use of poison baits, 
cyanide guns, and indiscriminate aircraft gunning would be prohibited. 

Land s 

No private land exists within the WSA. One parcel lies along the bound- 
ary. 

Recreation 

Designation of the study area as a wilderness will bring increased atten- 
tion to Leviathan Cave, resulting in higher use and increased vandalism. 

Forestry: 

Low volumes and long distance from population centers result in very low 
conflict between wilderness designation and forest management in the 
Worthington Mountains study area. 

CONCLUSION 

No significant conflicts exist between wilderness designation and 
management of other resources in the Worthington Mountains study area. 

V. IMPACTS OF NONDESIGN ATION OF WILDE RNESS VLAUES 

MFP 

A "speculative" mineral area has been identified in the northern half 
of the mountain range, indicating that mineral exploration is likely 
to occur here. Exploration will destroy the naturalness, and therefore 
the size, of the area. Consequently, some negative impacts will affect 
the outstanding opportunities for recreation, although the main one - 
Leviathan Cave - will experience no impacts. 



75 



A Caliente MFP III decision was to designate a 448,000 acre area in the 
Tickaboo/Sand Springs Valley as an ORV open play area. This would in - 
elude 15,000 acres in the Worthington Mountains study area. Use would 
probably be very low in the near future, but eventually could destroy 
the naturalness of the western valley and bench portions, and would 
adversely affect primitive recreation opportunities on the west side 
of the mountain range. 

Genreal: 



Oil and gas exploration will occur on the bench and valley portions. 

CONCLUSION 

The wilderness values of the northern half of the mountain range and 
of the valley and bench portions will be lost due to energy and mineral 
exploration and ORV use. The southern half of the mountain range it- 
self will remain undisturbed for the foreseeable future. 



76 



kxM: 



1 



Kilometers 



A 



R.56E. 



R.57E. 



T.1S. 



T.2S. 



] SPECULATIVE MINERAL POTENTIAL 
HIGH MINERAL POTENTIAL 



] GOOD MINERAL POTENTIAL 




[Ml SPECULATIVE OIL/GAS POTENTIAL 

ROADS 

NOTICEABLE WAYS 



MINERAL POTENTIAL 
WORTHINGTON MOUNTAINS NV-040-242 



Weepah Spring 

The Weepah Spring wilderness study area is located in the Seaman Range, south 
of the Timber Mountain Pass. The topography is very rugged and rocky. The 
heart of the unit is the mountains, surrounded by alluvial bench lands. Present 
economic use is almost exclusively grazing. Past use has included some limited 
mining. 

I, WILDERNESS CHARACTERISTICS 



Naturalness: 



The mountainous part of the unit is in a highly natural condition. The 
bench lands are intruded by various imprints of man. A group of ways 
has been excluded from the area on the north end. Their cumulative 
impact is substantially unnatural. 

One way intrudes to a distance of two miles into the unit in T2N, R62E, 
Sees. 18 and 19. 

Many roads and ways extend to the mountains from highway 318 on the east 
side. Most of these have been excluded from the area. 

Two short roads intrude into the southern portion. One of these leads 
to Weepah Spring, the other to Keno Spring. 

The west bench is criss-crossed with many roads any ways that are outside 
the area. Most of these are mining exploration roads. A small pocket 
of these roads and "Cat scrapes": are located in T2N, R62E. Sec. 6. 

White Rock Spring in the south end of the unit (T1S, R62E, Sec. 3) has 
been cherrystemmed out because of improvements on the spring, a pipeline 
a road, and an area of mining, all of which combine to create an obviously 
unnatural area. 

Outside sights and sounds include highway 318 on the east, and low level 
military training flights over the whole area. (Aircraft include T-38's, 
C-141's, B-52's, A-7's, F-4's, F-15's, F-5's, F-16's, A-10's, C-130's). The 
impacts from the highway are nonexistent except when immediately adjacent 
to it. The area is located in the Coyote Military Operations Area (MOA) . 
Red Flag exercises are frequently conducted here, with aircraft at all levels. 
Ground level contour flying is practiced. 

CONCLUSION 

The area is in an almost completely natural condition. Only a few roads 
and ways are inside the area, and their impact is negligible. Jet air- 
craft fly over the area, but have no effect on one's perception of its 
naturalness. 



78 



Weepah Spring 



Outstanding Op portunities : 

The size of the study area is 61,137 acres. The configuration is a little 
irregular, but not so much as to damage solitude opportunities. 

The topography is variegated, which is to say it is not just a single 
ridge line. Many steep mountains and deep canyons provide excellent 
screening. Combined with this is very dense tree cover in some large 
areas. The outside sights and sounds of highway 318 have little effect 
on one's feeling of solitude. Jet aircraft overflights are often start- 
ling to the user, but usually are not numerous and continuous, and have 
little impact on solitude. 

Many opportunities for recreation are present in the area. The diverse 
terrain and large size of the area make for some excellent hiking and back- 
packing opportunities. This is especially true in the spring when small 
streams caused by melting snow provide water in the high country. High 
scenic value is provided by large ponderosa stands, interesting rock for- 
mations, and the diverse landform. 

Opportunities for nature study are very good. Ponderosa pine occur in 
large stands, probably the largest in the district. The operation of 
nature is very evident in this fire-dependent ecosystem. Many of the 
trees have had their crowns blown out by lightning, and large fires, as 
evidenced by charred wood, have periodically swept through the area. The 
ponderosa are healthy and reproducing. 

Opportunities for mountain lion hunting are fair in the area. Oppor- 
tunities for deer hunting are poor. 

Wildlife includes golden eagles, which can be seen at very close range. 
Peregrine falcons, other raptors, deer, wild horses, chukar and 
partridge occur in the area. 

Opportunities for photography are many and of good quality because of the 
above described features. 

Horseback riding can be done in many parts of the area, and would be enjoy- 
able because of the diverse scenery. The limiting feature is the lack of 
water, and this is mitigated somewhat by the waters just outside the area. 
Recreation use occurs as displayed in Table 5 (see page 22). 

CONCLUSION 

Opportunities for solitude in the Weepah Spring study area are very good 
but not outstanding. 

Special Features 

The ponderosa forest is the area's most significant special feature. It 
is the best example in the Ely District, perhaps the best in eastern 
Nevada. 



79 



The geology of the area is very interesting from a scenic and educational 
standpoint. It has not been adequately assessed from a scientific per- 
spective. 

Archaeological sites abound in the area. Petroglyphs are located at 
several points in the south and many lithic scatters exist in and 
around the ponderosa pines. Unfortunately, the scatters have been 
picked over. 

The WSA includes portions of the White River Narrows Archaeological National 
Register Petroglyph District. 

The Seaman Range wild horse herd ranges into the study area. The herd 
population is estimated at 20. 

Portions of the area are ungrazed by livestock. Natural flora is thereby 
preserved in its natural condition. 

CONCLUSION 

Several special features are present in the area. Two of these - the 
ponderosa pines and the archaeological sites - are significant. 

Multiple Resource Benefits: 

Wilderness designation would help insure seclusion for the peregrine 
falcon. It would also preserve habitat suitable for bighorn sheep, even 
though there is no current recommendation or plan to reintroduce these 
animals. 

Other benefits are those common to all study areas, such as preservation 
of watershed, air quality, visual resources, etc. 

II. MANAGEABILITY 

If the Weepah Spring study area is designated as wilderness, the "basic 
thrust" of the management will be for providing primitive, undeveloped 
recreation in a secluded environment. This objective can be easily met. 
Users will be few because of the remoteness of the area, and because of 
the relative difficulty of access. The absence of sterotypical wilder- 
ness features - such as lakes and fishing streams - will help keep use 
low. The users that do visit the area should be well dispersed because 
of the absence of destination points and obvious travel routes, and 
because of the numerous points of entry. 

Nonconforming but accepted uses in the area include grazing, which occurs 
in five allotments in the area. Much of the grazing is yearlong, and is 
both sheep and cattle. This use does not. affect the quality of the oppor- 
tunities for recreation and solitude. 

Mining and mineral exploration have been done in the past, but are not 
presently being conducted. There are claims and leases in the area, but 
the likelihood of mining or drilling operations being conducted in the 
future under wilderness designation is low. (See "Conflicts" section). 



80 



Weepah Spring 



No private inholdings exist in the area. 

Several important archaeological sites exist in the area. These may see 
increased secondary impacts if wilderness designation results in increased 
use. Some sort of management policy to either limit recreational use in 
these areas or to limit impacts from recreational users (e.g. and education 
program) may be desirable. A first step should be to expedite cultural 
inventory of these areas before their condition deteriorates. 

Another supplemental value of the area which may require special manage- 
ment is the ponderosa forest. Controlled natural burns will be necessary 
to perpetuate this forest, and these may conflict for short periods of 
time with recreational use. 

Several two-track roads and ways have been cherrystemmed out of the area. 
Generally, these should pose few problems for the management fo the area 
as wilderness. Most of these routes have already been extended as far as 
the terrain will allow, and are in such rough country that travel off-road 
on either side is unlikely. 

Road closures are impractical. Several ways on the north end could 
not be closed because the flat, open terrain would allow circumvention of 
any obstacle used to close them, The same difficulty prevents the enlarge- 
ment of the area on the east by reattaching the bench land, Valid existing 
rights and the gross unnaturalness of two roads in the south ( to Weepah 
and Keno Springs) make closure of these impossible. 

To make certain that existing roads and ways are not extended by use, it 
is recommended that their end points be documented, possibly signed, and 
monitored. 

A problem on the south end of the area along highway 318 is the imminent 
accessibility of the land adjacent to the road. The impossibility of 
preventing vehicular access into these small areas suggests that the 
boundary be drawn back to the base of the cliffs. 

An unusual problem of this area is the fact that it is located in a 
Military Operations Area (MOA) where low-flying military aircraft com- 
monly surprise the hiker, It is unlikely that the US Air Force would 
voluntarily exclude the area form their MOA, but this possibility could 
be pursued, The impact of these overflights on outstanding opportunities 
are normally minimal, so that this is not a significant problem. 

CONCLUSION 

No major management problems confront this area. Improvements could be 
made by drawing the boundary back from 318 to the cliffs in the southern 
part of the area. 



81 



III. ENERGY AND MINERAL RE SOURCE VALUES 

Leaseable Minerals - The unit has 10 oil and gas leases, all of them 
along the boundaries in the lower valley portion of the WSA. No known 
drilling has occurred in the unit. An exploratory well (American 
Quasar) was sunk in Sec. 19 T2N, R60E in Coal Valley, about 9 miles 
west of the WSA. There were some shows but nothing marketable. 
Another hole was drilled in Coal Valley about 10 miles south of the 
American Quasar. It came up dry. There may be some potential for 
oil and gas in Coal Valley but discoveries in the Seaman Range are 
far less likely. 

There are no known or potential geothermal areas within or close by 
the WSA. The nearest warm spring and identified potential geothermal 
area is south of the WSA near Hiko. 

No other known leaseable mineral resources are located in the WSA. 
Coal Valley to the west was identified as a potential sodium leasing 
area. 

Saleable Minerals - There are no saleable mineral sites within the WSA, 
although several are located adjacent to or near its eastern boundary 
on both sides of highway 318. 

Locatable Minerals - The northwest portion of the unit was identified 
through the Schell URA 3 and 4 as being a speculative area. There is 
one historic mine in Sec. 6, T2N, R62E. No active mining is occurring 
in or nearby the unit. There are about 400 mining claims staked in or 
close to the WSA boundary. All but 19 mining claims are post FLPMA. 
The 19 pre-FLPMA claims are located along the boundary road. None of the 
WSA falls in or near a mining district. 

The Fugro report indicates that a very small portion of the area in 
TIN, R60E, has "speculative" mineral potential, with the remainder of 
the area having "low" potential. This same portion and the bench land 
in the northeast quadrant of the area are shown to have "good" oil and 
gas potential. 

The GEM survey generally supports these findings. (See map on page 85 )• 

CONCLUSION 

The overall energy potential of the area is low. Some mineral potential 
exists in the northwest quadrant, but to an unknown degree. 



IV. IMPACTS ON OTHER RESOU RCES 
Range : 

The existing grazing quality of the WSA for cattle is generally poor due 
to rugged terrain and low forage disirability. Forage desirability for 



82 



Weepah Spring 



sheep is fair, but grazing is still limited by terrain and lack of year- 
long water. Five allotments occur in the WSA. Cattle and sheep are 
authorized to graze from fall to spring on the north and west portion 
of the unit. Cattle and sheep graze year long on the eastern portion. 

Future grazing will likely remain unchanged. 

No range improvements exist within the WSA. However, several have been 
cherrystemmed out along the boundary roads. 

The potential for additional range improvements is minimal. 

If the area were designated wilderness, the fence and spring development 
would only be allowed if they would enhance resource pretection. 

Overall, there are minimal conflicts between grazing and wilderness. 

Wildlife: 

Animal Dramage Control programs might be adversely affected due to 
restriction of M-44 use and offending animal restrictions. If the area were 
designated wilderness, offending animals could be removed but use of 
poison baits or cyanide guns would be prohibited, as would be indiscriminate 
gunning from aircraft. 

Lands : 



No private land exists within or adjacent to the WSA. A public water 
reserve is in T1S, R62E, Sec. 3. There is no conlfict. 

Recreation: 



Adverse impacts to the recreation resource resulting from designation 
are the general ones listed in the preface. 

Forestry : 

The Weepah Spring study area contains 1.1 percent of the manage- 
able woodland in the Schell Resource Area. Because of this small volume, 
wilderness designation would have very little effect on the resource base. 

CONCLUSION 

No significant conflicts exist between wilderness designation of the 
Weepah Spring study area and management of other resources in the unit. 

V. IMPACTS OF N ONDESIGNATION ON WILDERNESS VALUES 

MFP 

The Schell MFP contains only one recommendation for the Weepah Spring 
study area. The Schell Area Forester has recommended that the ponderosa 
pine in the area be treated to guarantee their perpetuation. This would 
involve some tree cutting and, possibly, soil scarification. Scarifi- 
cation would involve road building, which would significantly affect 

83 



opportunities for solitude, as would the scarification itself. Chances 
of this occurring are poor. 

The MFP also identified a "speculative" mineral area that includes the 
northern third of the unit. This would indicate that mineral exploration 
should be expected in the area. Exploration would destroy the natural- 
ness of the affected portion and would lessen the overall opportunities 
for solitude and recreation. 

Gener al 

Some casual road building associated with recreation will occur in 
accessible portions. Seismic operations may impact the bench areas. 

CONCLUSION 

Without wilderness designation, the wilderness characteristics of the 
Weepah Spring study area would experience some degradation due to min- 
eral exploration and, to a lesser extent, energy exploration and range 
improvement. 



84 



R.61E 



T.1N. 



R.62E. 




SPECULATIVE MINERAL POTENTIAL 



GOOD OIL/GAS POTENTIAL 

— ROADS 

— NOTICEABLE WAYS 



MINERAL POTENTIAL 
WEEPAH SPRING NV-040-246 



PUBLIC COMMENT IN THE WILDERNESS REVIEW PROCESS 

Comment has been accepted from the public at all times during the wilderness 
review, and has been solicited at several points during the process. A 
formal comment period was held for each of the following phases: (1) the 
initial wilderness inventory; (2) the intensive wilderness inventory; (3) Schell 
URA-3; (4) after Schell MFP-1; (5) scoping of EIS alternatives. 

Many comments received were very general, indicating either support for or 
opposition to designated wilderness for a wide range of reasons. Many supporting 
and opposing comments were also submitted specific to each one of the eight 
WSA's. Some of these, too, were very general in nature. While such comments 
indicate public feelings about the WSA's, they provide little basis for analysis 
of the suitability of the areas for designation. 

Many groups and individuals have commented on specific features and values of 
the WSA's. These have been most useful in the suitability analysis by directing it 
and focusing attention on certain characteristics. Each comment was considered on 
its own merits. There has never been a "vote counting" of comments. 

Most comments are addressed in the analysis presented in this technical report 
and in the Wilderness EIS. The following is a brief and by no means exclusive 
discussion of the comments received and their usefulness to the study: 

General 

Many persons were concerned with the conflicts between wilderness designation 
and the development of energy and mineral resources. This issue has received 
substantial treatment in the technical report and the EIS. Selection of the 
Preferred Alternative involved close consideration of the impacts to this re- 
source. 

Consideration was given to future needs for transmission and utility corridors, 
in particular in the Mount Grafton WSA. 

Concerns were expressed by several persons and especially by one state agency 
that road closures would occur with wilderness designation, limiting opportunities 
for recreation and other activities. Since no road closures are proposed in 
any alternative, these concerns have been effectively addressed. 

Opposition to designation derived in one case from misperceptions regarding air 
quality standards in BLM wilderness areas. There will be no change in air quality 
standards unless the state effects it. 

Many comments were received during the scoping comment period indicating a need 
for an alternative between the MFP-2 (Preferred) Alternative and the All Wilder- 
ness Alternative. The Wilderness Emphasis Alternative was developed in direct 
response to these. 



86 



WSA-Speclflc Comments 

1. Mount Grafton - A great deal of comment was received on this unit. Those 
wishing to see the area designated as wilderness recount the area's mandatory 
characteristics and supplemental values. Opposing veiwpoints come primarily 
from mineral interests who cite the mineral values of the area. 

2. Fortification Range - Several persons have commented that this area has wilder- 
ness values higher than recognized in the BLM's inventory. These opinions 
constitute a subjective disagreement between the BLM and others. 

Some potential for minerals has been indentified by the public, and this was 
given consideration in the assessment of conflicts and impacts of nondesignation. 

3. Table Mountain - Several persons have identified conflicts with other resource 
values in this unit, especially with mineral resources. 

4. Worthington Mountains - This unit has received a large volume of comment. 
Several individuals have identified high mineral values in the vicinity of 
Freiburg Mine on the north end of the range. Many others have written of the 
high wilderness values - mandatory and supplemental - in the area. The BLM 
recognizes the validity of both points of view, with conditions, and these are 
discussed in the analysis. 

Some specific comments were receiver! for the other WSA's (Far South Egans, White Rock 
Range, Parsnip Peak, and Weepah Spring). These, too, were considered in the study 
analysis. All public comments are on file for review at the Ely District and Nevada 
State Offices. 

No concerns have been expressed by local Indian tribes. 



GPO 687 



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