Wind River Basin
The Wind River Basin region is the heart of Wyoming and the BLM wild lands that lie within are modest proposals for wilderness designation. Dubois Badlands, Whiskey Mountain, Lysite Badlands, Copper Mountain and Fuller Peak are five off-beat areas that can be reserved for future generations to enjoy the solitary wilderness experience offered by the Wind River Basin.
West central Wyoming is a geologically young land of sharply defined mountains and broad plains lying at the heart of the Wind River Basin. Earthquakes, volcanoes, glaciers, wind and water have all played a role in shaping this land. The Wind River Mountains form the west boundary, the Absaroka and Owl Mountains stretch across the north. The Red desert of the Great Basin dominate the southern view while to the east the landscape is dominated by a vista fading away into the Great Plains.
The place names of this land tell of the geology, the history and the people of the area. Crow Heart Butte, Popo Agie River, Poison Creek, Fremont County, Sweetwater River, Red Rock Canyon, Lysite Badlands, The Sands, and Boars Tusk are just a few of the descriptive names used to describe this land. Human inhabitants have been as varied as the landscape. The Shoshoni and Arapaho Indian were early to the land. Mountain men in search of fur rendezvoused in the area during the early 1800's. The westward expansion of our country flowed through South pass at the southern end of the Wind River Mountains. From this great migration of people came soldiers, miners, cattlemen, and settlers, some who stayed and attempted to mold the land to their benefit. This was not and is not an easy task. This land lays at an elevation raging from about 5,000 feet to over 10,000 feet. Temperatures range from 40 degrees below zero to 100 degrees above. Precipitation averages about 14 inches a year and a major part of that comes as winter snow. Winds are always a factor in this land and during the winter months, may be a life threatening matter that must be considered in any travel plans.
Geology, soils, water, and climate has shaped the vegetation of the land and this in turn determines the wildlife that inhabits this land. Trout are abundant in the cold water streams. Pronghorn antelope are the dominate large mammal. Elk, mule deer, whitetail deer and moose also frequent their niches of the environment. Black-footed ferrets once roamed the prairie dog colonies of this country. Gray wolves may still roam through some of the more remote areas. Waterfowl and several species of grouse are sought by sportsmen. Raptors, neo-tropical birds and birds that stay year-round are also important to the ecology.