Should the Rock Creek Area of the Big Horn National Forest become an official wilderness area?

The Bank of Sheridan
Yes
47% (461 votes)
No
50% (487 votes)
Undecided
3% (28 votes)
Total votes: 976

Freedom or Force?

Force big gov't control on our forests and you trample individual liberty and make things worse for everyone. Impose flouride or building codes and you force others to comply. Rights get trampled everytime we invite big gov't to "help" us.
Same with the one percent tax. Re-impose it and limit the natural rights to keep and spend our own money as we choose. Re-impose the tax and liberty is diminished.
I'll not contunue to impose on my fellow citizens. I will grant them the right to spend their own money as they see fit.
I prefer voluntary donation instead of forced taxation.
Will you vote to limit your neighbors liberty or vote to limit gov't encroachment, either in our forests, our water, our homes (codes) or our finances?
Defend Liberty-Vote to Stop Imposing!

Give me Liberty or....

Give me Liberty or....

Rock Creek

Kandy,
As a Buffalo native I have spent many years in the wilderness as well but that doesn't mean it belongs to me or that I have precedence over others who are not from here or don't use it as much. It is public land for use by the public. My constant years of use and involvement in the public planning process don't give me special privileges. I am humbled to even have a place like the Bighorns to escape to.

I agree with you that the Forest Service is underfunded and understaffed, that is why it is important to have hard working volunteers like yourself to pitch in when they need help.
I must disagree however that the Forest Service cannot keep up with managing the wilderness. In the 1964 Wilderness Act, wilderness is defined as: "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man..." Section 2(c)

"...an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvement or human habitation..." Section 2(c)

"...generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable..." Section 2(c)

If the wilderness act is followed verbatim, there would be little need to "keep up" a wilderness area. It may be harder to get in there, but that makes it more primitive and those who work hard, get to reap the benefits of not seeing other people for days.

Also it is foolish to think that a roadless area designation will protect an area. In 1979 the Roadless Area Review Evaluation cut down the size of the Rock Creek roadless area from about 51,000 acres to 34,000 equaling a net loss of 17,000 acres of roadless area. I can only foresee the Rock Creek Roadless Area continuing to shrink in the future.

Without wilderness protection the Forest Service will continue to develop its land slowly and incrementally. Retired Forest Service Supervisor Craig Yancy continues to state that "you can't trust the Forest Service to not develop the forest." Supervisors are hired and retire and some are for more road building and some are not. There is no certainty that an area will remain the same, unless it is designated wilderness. Wilderness designation is the only way to keep Rock Creek the same. It is contradicting for you to think that Rock Creek will remain the same, but you are unsatisfied with the FS trail crew. If you're looking for paved trails and new roads into Rock Creek then we should keep it managed the same. If you want a wild area that the imprint of man's work is substantially unnoticeable and left alone, than it needs a wilderness designation.

Rock Creek may not be "broken" yet, but when it is it may be too late to fix.

Rock Creek

I was born and raised in Buffalo and have spent my entire life in Buffalo and Sheridan. My husband and I have spent many years camping, hunting and horseback riding in the Rock Creek area. It is an absolutely wonderful, peaceful and beautiful place.
We were both awarded in 2002 the United States Forest Service Chief’s award for Individual Volunteers. To earn that we each contributed over 1500 hours doing volunteer trail work on the Bighorn National Forest. Many of these hours were spent working on trails in the Cloud Peak Wilderness. The CP Wilderness and the Rock Creek area are very special to us. For that reason we are strongly AGAINST adding the Rock Creek area to the wilderness.
Over the years we’ve worked on these trails we have seen firsthand the lack of Forest Service maintenance of the Wilderness trails. For many of the past twenty years or morethe majority of the work was done by volunteers NOT the FS. The FS simply has not been given the funding to maintain the trails. In the current economic situation this is bound to get worse rather than improve.
Many, repeat , MANY trails in the wilderness are impassable because of blow down from years of neglect and, or forest fires. Cloud Peak Wilderness rules require the use of hand saws and axes for trail clearing. There are NO exceptions made for trail crews (regardless of what I heard a wilderness supporter say on a previous Public Pulse interview). After years of no maintenance some trails are simply “abandoned” by the FS. Just a look at an older map will verify this.
The FS doesn’t have the funding or personnel to keep up in the present Wilderness. Please don’t add to the problem. The Rock Creek area has been and will be preserved under the Roadless Area designation.
I could write much more on this subject but the bottom line is…It’s not broke!! Don’t fix it!! Please…Leave it alone!
Kandy Harrison

Kandy Harrison

This aint broke dont fix it! <-- HAS GOT TO GO

his is part of the reason of why are nation is in so much trouble, we use the mentally that if it "aint broke" then dont fix it. Welllll thats great for you older folks who have 20-30 years left to live. Do you take in consideration of your kids or there kids? You see the Rock Creek area wont start getting major major attention until it becomes a problem, and THEN WE HAVE TO FIX IT ! What dont you understand about this ? What dont you people understand that the future is more important then the past and equally important to the present and that Wilderness in all terms is the greatest investment for a better tomorrow. More federal regulations and taxes .. ? Yes at the cost of ultimate protections from our government. Grazing issues, well if you dont trust your government with grandfather rights then you have bigger issues to worry about. BUT THE MOST Important, and i hope everyone reads this because you all need to understand something. Sheridan and buffalo hasnt seen mass development yet, meaning its still a secret to some. But my friends its a matter of time before the east starts to develop there future in our homelands. Now you all are familiar with the bighorns. Let me ask you this .. What is the one thing protecting our bighorn peaks to our grasslands. WILDERNESS - Lets say one of the major ranches decides to sell out, loves, HF, Steerhead, etc etc, some eastern buys it, thinks all his friends should have a cabin there, the next thing you know is there are cabins and roads and much worse then some of these issues you all complain about. Cant happen ? Watch its a matter of when, and to all you older folks who are watching out for your remainder, remember that your children and there children will be dealing with these "aint broken" problems long after your gone, and the issue you leave us with will stick for future generations. This "it aint broken " dont fix crap is selfish for individuals with private interest and individuals that dont actually seek out the true values of the fundamentals of wilderness. These lands will be more attractive and more valuable then before. The hunting will be more treasured the wildlife more full, and the grass thicker. People come from all over the world to see cloud peak wilderness, isnt this a benefit to our local economy ? Dont we want to create sustainable solutions for tourism and recreational... ? Isnt the surrounding area based and structure on tourism and recreational aka hunting, fishing. To sum it up, I wouldnt change the way I was raised in the fresh air of wyoming with the mountains as my backyard, I will fight to keep this lifestyle so that my daughter can grow up with the same understanding, the same freedom and the rights to the fresh air we all wyoming'ers claim. Dont let money, private interest, or greed separate the reasons for more wilderness. Think deep inside, look onward towards the future, respect our lifestyle, and protect it.

Holicow--be positive!

All the negativitiy, naysaying, and fearmongering about this attempt to get Rock Creek included in the Cloud Peak Wilderness system further demonstates that those on the right act purely on their beliefs and uninformed opionions rather than facts. If you read "Wild Rock Creek" below and compare it to Craig Mead's comments, you'll see the difference between FACT ("Wild Rock Creek") and pure unadulterated unsupported OPINION (Mead's Rock Creek).

It's tragic that the right's extreme political beliefs ("to hell with government; I'll do what I want") color their every perspective. Giving Rock Creek wilderness designation will do none of the things Mead says/believes will happen. To the contrary, making such a designation will simply preserve a pristine area from future degradation. It will not limit grazing, and Mead's comments about mountain biking are a red herring: mountain bikers have confirmed that the area is so rugged that they find little pleasure in biking there.

Mead's point that the area is already under federal protection belies his fear of government control Sheesh.

Have a little love for preservation for future generations folks: municipalities set aside large portions of their land for greenspace--parks, creeks, marshes, etc., states are setting up strict anti-pollution regulations, people are recycling, all to help preserve what natural beauty they can from the ravages of overuse, overdevelopment, pollution, and outright destruction. Help keep Rock Creek from eventual destruction by those who care nothing for quietness, solitude, and natural beauty.

Osea Nelson

good girl

It seems if the "left" had

It seems if the "left" had their way we'd have a bunch a of public land we were forbidden to do a lot of things on, but if the "right" had their way I'm afraid it would be sold off to the highest bidder because the free market would demand it.

I am attempting to make a

I am attempting to make a post as well that is rather long and it will not allow me to do so. My arguement is in opposition of the wilderness area. Therefore, it is not what side you are on but something else.

I am guessing that there is

I am guessing that there is probably a character limit to the length of a single post. I'm not sure what the limit might be or how the software reacts when it is exceeded, but if you can condense it or post it in sections it will probably go through. However, posting anything that long may be counterproductive because people may not take the time to read the whole thing. It would probably be better to be more concise if possible.

The Rancher

If this land were to be shut off from grazing it would be detrimental to the ecosystem. People will argue that cattle weren’t their 200 years ago to graze; therefore, not natural and is harmful to the environment. This is where they are wrong. Before, the cattle were grazing up on the mountains there were buffalo. Now that there are no longer any buffalo something has to be up there to replace their niche in the system. Cattle graze in the same manner the buffalo do. On top of that, not having the cattle graze in there will cause a loss of wildlife. If there is so much wildlife in there currently, with the grazing, there must be some sort of reason for it. This is because cattle and wildlife work perfectly together in the ecosystem and have been doing so for generations. There was a case where a ranch had elk coming on to their place all of the time and the wildlife was abundant. It was then decided that this land should become a reserve for the elk. After years went by the elk migrated out of the area. This was because the cattle would come through and graze the pasture and then when the cattle would move on there would be fresh regrowth that the elk loved at that later point in the summer when the rest of the grass was brown. When the cattle stopped grazing this pasture there was no longer any fresh regrowth for the elk to eat so they stopped coming in to this area.

The Rancher Continued

There are also several places on the mountains that were fenced off from grazing because some environmentalist groups were trying to prove that grazing was detrimental to the land. Nothing ever came of this because they were proved wrong. The areas within these fencings are full of weeds and woody noxious plants. While outside of the fencing has healthy luscious grass that has been grazed on by cattle for generations on the mountains. Once again, it has been proven that grazing is healthier for the environment then not grazing. The other thing that people don’t seem to understand is that no one wishes to preserve the land more than the rancher. The rancher makes his living off of the land so why would he want to destroy the hand that feeds him. No one loves the land more than the rancher. They live on it, sweat on it, and bleed on it. Only the rancher truly understands the nature in a way that people who live in town will never understand. People don’t know what it is like to love the land the way the rancher does. The public wishes to make it a “wilderness” area because it gives them a warm fuzzy feeling inside. They don’t realize that the best course of action is to live it up to the rancher who truly cares and understands the land. Obviously, the people in favor of turning the Rock Creek area into “wilderness” do not understand the implications of their actions.

trying to put up a blog but...

Its hard to know that Kim Love is making this a "fair" and "honest" gesture. Only Kim will know. Since he opposes the Rock Creek Wilderness and owns this web site, we can only assume the outcome, no matter how many great folks vote for Rock Creek.
I trying putting up a long statement about the history and values of rock creek but it never seem to make it. That's probably why you only see negative statements. Transparency in Wyoming doesn't exist.

wyo

Where are you trying to make

Where are you trying to make the post? We haven't blocked anything from you. Sometimes it takes posts a while to make it through the approval queue.

Rock Creek

FDR said in his first inaugural address, "All we have to fear is fear itself." When fear based on misinformation is used to whip up opposition to such an issue as Rock Creek, I worry over the future of democracy in this country, but I know truth will eventually overcome.

good girl

Turning Grass into Food

Please consider these few questions;
Why leave a renewable resource, like Rock Creek grass, unused?
Does a heard of cattle do more damage to the land than a heard of buffalo?
If we put the rancher out of business, where do we get beef?
Who has more interest in protecting the land than a working rancher who depends on the grass to earn a living?

Rock Creek, with managed grazing for decades, is one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Please don't change it!

Thank you,
John Lopez

Please consider these few questions;
Why leave a renewable resource, like Rock Creek grass, unused?
Does a heard of cattle do more damage to the land than a heard of buffalo?
If we put the rancher out of business, where do we get beef?
Who has more in

wild Rock Creek!

I see that Guardian of the Range member and Iowa Beauty Salon owner Craig Mead and all the others are hard at fighting the protection of this special place.

Wilderness designation for Rock Creek has been sought in many forms for decades.
• In 1978, the RARE 2 analysis listed Rock Creek as potential wilderness in two alternatives;
• In 1982-84, Rock Creek was proposed as an addition to the proposed Cloud Peak Wilderness Area in all versions of the Wyoming Wilderness bill;
• In 2005, Rock Creek was recommended by the Bighorn National Forest in their Final Revised Management Plan for wilderness and all Steering Committee members (consisting of State agencies, the Governor, County Commissioners of Big Horn, Sheridan, Johnson and Washakie counties, and Conservation District representatives of those counties) signed off on the Final Plan; and
• Now, the citizens of Wyoming are asking to add Rock Creek to the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area.

Over 1000 letters (to date) have been signed, 907 from Wyoming endorsing the Rock Creek Wilderness. 310+ businesses have endorsed the Rock Creek Wilderness because it makes good economic sense. As Roger Wilson, Sheridan resident and Game & Fish retiree, recently said, “It’s a no-brainer--this postage stamp has almost become wilderness for over 40 years. Let’s get ‘er done!” All five of the Sheridan County Commissioners have personally endorsed the Rock Creek proposed wilderness.

In 2006, a commemorative campout with Ed Zahniser and friends (including Kim, Mary Kay and Betsy Love) to Rock Creek to demonstrate the unique beauty of the area. Ed’s father, Howard Zahniser authored and promoted the national Wilderness Act of 1964.

Stakeholders, delegation staff and county commissioners gathered together in 2007 to hear supporters talk about why Rock Creek should become wilderness. The Talks are continuing with the stakeholders. There are specific concerns and those problems can be worked out.

This is a legitimate process. The Wyoming Wilderness Act of 1984 allows that the only time the Forest Service may take another look at recommended wilderness is in the management plan revision process. When that process becomes finalized and recommendations are made (as with Rock Creek in the Bighorns). Public lands are a treasure trove of experiences, connecting our children and families to nature, wildlife and providing a richness and quality of life unsurpassed in states where the citizens are hemmed in by private and urban lands. Wyoming is special, full of wild open spaces and we aim to keep it that way!

This is NO EXTRA BUREAUCRACY IN WILDERNESS DESIGNATION. In fact, Rock Creek will be protected from excessive management by the Forest Service! That's what everyone seems to want--to keep Rock Creek the way it is! Only Wilderness designation will do that.

wyo

wild rock creek

Yes I am a member of the Guardians of the Range and no I do not own any beauty salons in Iowa. I also am not afraid to list my name with issues and comments that I believe. I find it both curious and question the sincerity of comments by individuals who hide behind clever pen names. If you look back in history, the heroes who shaped this great American experiment did not hide their names. You may want to start with glancing at the Declaration of Independence document.
I assume that since you mentioned my home state of Iowa, you are trying to discount my comments as an outsider. However I would remind you that the lands we are talking about here are a National Forest. It is funded by federal tax dollars paid by every citizen of this country. The lands held by the Forest Service and other national agencies belong to every American and they are entitled to an equal voice in decisions made regarding these public lands.
You have remarked, “it makes good economic sense”, yet cite no specific examples. In order for people to make informed decisions, they need to know how and why this makes economic sense. Too many poor decisions in both business and government are made based on general statements, lacking foundation.
You also mention that conversations with Stakeholders have taken place and that concerns have been raised and that these problems can be worked out. How do you know this? How can we believe you if we don’t know who you are? And again for people to make informed decisions what specific concerns have been raised and how can these problems be worked out?
And finally, you stated that everyone just wants “to keep Rock Creek the way it IS”. That is correct and the Rock Creek area got to where it IS today, by as I stated “The Multiple Use & Sustained Yield Act of 1960, along with numerous other public land laws, has guided the management of the Rock Creek area for almost 50 years. “ Again I ask the question, “will designating this a Wilderness area sustain the area better than what has been demonstrated as the guided management principles for the Rock Creek area for the last 50 years?” An answer this important should be supported by facts and not opinions and generalizations.

Craig Mead

Craig Mead

Rock Creek

I have been visiting Wyoming for many years and for the last 15 visiting the Buffalo-Sheridan area multiple times each year. I believe there is not a prettier mountain range in the world than the Big Horns. I would love to see that continue. For this reason I am opposed to the Wilderness designation.

The Forest Service has commented that Rock Creek “is one of the most primitive areas on the Bighorn National Forest outside of wilderness. It contains outstanding wildlife habitat and amazing backcountry recreation opportunities- hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and camping.” People in favor of the designation contend that the area is threatened by illegal ATV use and only a Wilderness designation can save it. This is incorrect and misleading. The Wilderness designation will not increase enforcement over what is in place today, either in dollars or people.

On the contrary, such a designation would exclude a large and growing segment of the public that enjoys the pleasures of mountain biking. It is not allowed in a Wilderness area. This popular activity currently contributes economically and culturally to Johnson County as well as to the larger American public. They do not deserve to be excluded from responsibly enjoying Rock Creek.

A Wilderness designation would negatively impact livestock grazing. I understand that ‘grazing would be grandfathered in’

However, ‘Grandfathered in’ is a comfort phrase that has a warm, fuzzy and misleading connotation. First, its subliminal message is that ranching is part of the past of the American West, something to be tolerated until it dies a quiet death. This should never happen. This is in direct contradiction with the “American Way.” Once we give up freedom, it becomes a slippery slope to the amount of government intervention we have in our daily lives.

The real life experiences for Wyoming’s ranchers grazing livestock in Wilderness areas are not a fairy tale, but about sustaining a way of life. A way of life that deals with personal responsibility, working hard, and taking pride in your accomplishments.

The Multiple Use & Sustained Yield Act of 1960, along with numerous other public land laws, has guided the management of the Rock Creek area for almost 50 years. They have protected and preserved its wild character and beauty WITHOUT the need for the additional restrictions and negative impacts that can accompany a Wilderness designation.

As a person who has visited the Big Horns many times in the past 15 years I can tell you that the attraction of such a ‘feel good’ designation can and frequently does create more pressure on such areas. Thus the unintentional result is opposite of the intended goal. The QUESTION that must be answered is, “will designating this a Wilderness area sustain the area better than what has been demonstrated as the guided management principles for the Rock Creek area for the last 50 years?”

There are no substantiated threats to this area that would warrant making its access and utilization more restrictive through a Wilderness designation.

Craig Mead

Craig Mead

Our Land

I participate in an annual cattle drive to the Big Horns. It has been done for over 130 consecutive years, now, and is vital to the survival of our local ranches. Allowing more of our land to be controlled by government is as dumb as re-imposing taxes on ourselves. We should be talking about re-claiming our land and our money from greedy government hands, not increasing their illegal confiscations.
It's time to take a stand and "throw the tea in the harbor."

Give me Liberty or....

Give me Liberty or....

Rock Creek

For those of you who voted here to place another layer the government's control over the Rock Creek area have not been using the back country lately. There is not one single trail in the so called wilderness that is being maintained at a level that the trail systems are at present in the Rock Creek area by the private entities, cattlemen and dude ranchers. I spend nearly every weekend on these trails and let me tell you it's a chore to get around the down trees that are years old that the Forest Service either is not manned-up to remove or simply don't care. If you want more of the $2000 hammer people running the trails up in rock Creek then those of you who voted for this need to grab a buck saw and start to work because the Forest Service really sucks at it and chainsaws are not in the mix if this goes through.

You seem to misunderstand

You seem to misunderstand the concept and intent of how a federal agency manages proposed or existing wilderness areas. As their limited budgets allow, I believe you will find that designated trail systems are adequately maintained elsewhere in the forest.

Cattle Grazing

I am speaking out against the existing EIS proposals to limit open grazing.

For over 120 years The Double Rafter Cattle Drive Ranch, owned by Dana Kern, and similar outfits have taken great care of Big Horn mountains to make it a better place for all including Wildlife. The cattle are fertilizing and their grazing helps the growth of good crop for the Wildlife. All the caged land by the EIS I have seen where full of weeds and nothing good to eat for the wildlife. This shows catlle are a great complement to Wildlife and without the cattle the land would become wild and desert like.

The cattle drive is truly a remarkable and breath taking experience and teach all of us a part of history and live the way of the old west. Dana Kern’s family have maintain their ancestors way of life and ways of cattle rasing as no one else have been able to re-produce. It would be a shame to lose this piece of American History. It is our duty to maintain this cattle drive, so our kids and their future generations can have a chance to experience what is was like for the true Cowboys during their long days of work gathering cattle down the Big Horn mountains to the valley.

To preserve the wildlife and the Big Horn mountains you have to keep it as it was done hundreds of years ago with the ranchers being apart of this environment - and as such should remain - intact.

I am speaking out against the existing EIS proposals to limit open grazing.

For over 120 years The Double Rafter Cattle Drive Ranch, owned by Dana Kern, and similar outfits have taken great care of Big Horn mountains to make it a better place for all

I do not doubt the sincere

I do not doubt the sincere belief of your comments, but you unintentionally provide many reasons exactly why a wilderness designation would be so beneficial to the Rock Creek area. I recommend that you and other interested citizens look at a little book entitled "Re-Discovering the Big Horns". First published more than 30 years ago, it provides "A pictorial study of 75 years of ecological changes" in the Big Horn Mountains. Available for $10 from the Sheridan County Museum, this book offers dramatic and compelling historic photographic evidence of the changes that grazing has caused. It quickly makes a person realize how much of the Big Horn Mountains ecosystem has been altered and how we mistakenly think the region still represents the way things used to be.

Are we voting on this next week?

Do you prefer forced taxation or voluntary donation, as a fund-raising method? That is the question at hand. Next week we decide to re-impose the mandatory, one percent tax or lift the burden from our selves and our neighbors.

We only get this chance every four yrs. and since the tax extracts $20 million dollars from the private sector and puts it in gov't hands for "wealth re-distribution", we might want to keep discussing this important topic. At least for a few more days.

Give me Liberty or....

Give me Liberty or....

If you want to continue the

If you want to continue the 1% tax discussion there are other areas on the site to do so. You yourself have started at least four separate forum threads about it. That should be sufficient space in which to talk about the tax. We already ran a poll about the 1% tax a few weeks ago. Although voting on that poll is now closed you may still comment on that page as well. However, there are other worthwhile issues to discuss, and posts about the 1% tax under this poll question are off topic.