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  • Sarah Walker

Wildland Spotlight : High Lakes WSA

The 14,700 acre High Lakes Wilderness Study Area was designated in 1984 by the Wyoming Wilderness Act. Located off of the stunning Beartooth Highway that climbs to 10,947 ft in elevation, the High Lakes area provides a uniquely accessible high alpine wilderness experience for the average hiker or backpacker in summer. In winter, outdoor enthusiasts flock to the area for destination snowmobiling and backcountry skiing opportunities. The Shoshone's upcoming Travel Management Plan is an overdue opportunity for land managers to manage user conflict and safety while mitigating the impacts of vastly increased snowmobile use nearly forty years after the directives of the Wyoming Wilderness Act.

Nearly 40 years ago the Wyoming Wilderness Act directed the United States Forest Service to administer the area to “maintain [its] presently existing wilderness character and potential for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System[.]” (Pub. L. 98-550 § 301(c)) and that “snowmobiling shall continue to be allowed in the same manner and degree as was occurring prior to the date of the enactment of this Act” (Id. § 301(c)(4)).

High Lakes Fun Facts

- Over 130 alpine lakes have been inventoried in the High Lakes Wilderness Study Area

- In addition to lynx and wolverine, the High Lakes is home to a wildly rare subspecies of red fox (Read more about the epic survival of the Rocky Mountain subspecies here! )

Help Us Keep it Wild

- Head over to our Travel Planning page to learn more and sign up for action alerts

- Become a member of WWA and help us fight bad bills aimed at releasing our WSAs

- WATCH a virtual flyover of the High Lakes Wilderness Study Area to learn more about why travel planning matters for this area:

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