Vast roadless areas beg wilderness status along the southern slopes and drainages of Douglas Mountain where rolling ridges covered by pinyon-juniper woodlands are broken by sagebrush meadows and grassy parks. Deer, elk, and mountain lion inhabit the region and Peregrine falcons perch on the nearby cliffs of the Yampa River Canyon.
The Wild Mountain are of the proposed addition straddles the Colorado-Utah state line on the northwest boundary of the Monument. Wild Mountain is a prominent landmark, dominating the view from Echo Park and Harpers Corner, two scenic overlooks within the Monument. By preserving Wild Mountain, these dramatic vistas in the Monument will be protected from future development and aesthetic degradation.
Opportunities for solitude are outstanding throughout the roadless area constituted by Ant Hills, Chew Winter Camp, Petersen Draw and neighboring roadless areas of Big Joe Draw and Warm Springs Draw, part of which border Dinosaur National Monument. Tepee Draw and Vale of Tears, even larger roadless drainages further east, are also part of the proposed addition.
Collectively, these additions share almost 20 miles of boundary with the Monument and with the proposed Yampa-Green Wilderness, forming the uplands that are logical topographical continuations of the Monument. The areas provide habitat for mule deer and elk, and supply important habitat for pronghorn. This proposed wilderness unit would provide critical buffers to protect and enhance the wilderness resources within the Monument. Taken together, the proposed areas offer outstanding opportunities for solitude and convey wilderness values through rugged isolation.
According to the BLM, these proposed wilderness additions have minimal potential for oil and gas development. No mineral leases or mining claims exist within these areas and the BLM has determined that the additions are of negligible value for base and precious minerals. The KT Copper Mine is located on the north boundary of Peterson Draw, where it poses a long-term environment hazard due to toxic waste. It has been considered for cleanup. There are no significant stands of commercial timber among pinyon-juniper woodlands and widely scattered stands of ponderosa pine where rugged terrain prohibits accessibility.
Portions of seven grazing allotments, mostly for cattle, are found throughout the areas. Approximately a dozen stock ponds are scattered throughout the areas, along with several developed springs and pipelines.
Motorized travel is
limited to designated routes or existing roads and trails
through most of the areas.
The Ant Hills, Chew Winter Camp and Petersen Draw units
should be joined in one continuous boundary since no vehicle
tracks are in evidence to separate them. This creates a
10,800-acre wilderness addition.
The 5,490-acre Tepee
Draw WSA should be added in its entirety.
The CWP's Vale of Tears boundary adds 2,980 acres to the WSA on
the southeast portion of the unit. Originally excluded as
wilderness by the BLM due to a road that is now eroded and no
longer in use, the Vale of Tears includes badlands that complete
the ecological diversity of the unit and establishes a logical
The Wild Mountain
addition is bounded on the south and east by the National
Monument and on the north by a road. The western boundary is
defined by the Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery and a section
of Utah State lands.
The CWP proposes wilderness protection for two additional roadless areas, Big Joe Draw and Warm Springs Draw, that are contiguous with these but separated only by seldom-used dirt jeep roads.