Inventoried Land with Wilderness Character (LWC) in the Battle Mountain BLM District
Current LWC Status: Proposed
State Region: West Central
Bureau of Land Management
Battle Mountain District Office
50 Bastian Rd. Battle Mountain, NV 89820
The hills are entirely carpeted in vegetation, ranging from small desert shrubs to larger juniper trees, and powerful natural forces dominate the topography. Evidence of rockfall and landslides is heavily present in steeper parts of the unit, especially within the depths of Moss Canyon. Frequent flash flooding has also shaped the landscape, and signs of this can also be seen within both Moss and Redrock Canyons. The numerous washes and alluvial fans located on the LWC’s western side, also provide evidence for these dramatic natural events. Signs of past wildfire are present both within the area and nearby, and have certainly helped to shape this beautiful desert ecosystem. This is truly a wild and natural place.
This Unit has three distinct life zones, each of which presents a different variety a plants and animals. On its western side, the unit is dominated by large alluvial washes and arid hills. Here, saltbush and greasewood are prevalent, as well as a variety of grasses and other hearty plants. This lower desert ecosystem is desolate and striking in appearance, and although barren it is very natural. Further east within the center of the area, the hills gain elevation and the variety of plants begins to change. The landscape becomes more rugged, but larger vegetation clings to the hills and mountains. Sagebrush dominates this region, but is accompanied by rabbitbrush, great basin wild rye, serviceberry, and other shrubs and grasses. Yarrow is also present in this area, and can be easily found thanks to its pungent smell.
Within some of the canyons and deeper drainages here, vegetation grows thickly and very large sagebrush can be found. Although water is scarce in these lands, some of these plants are more akin to trees than their bushy relatives. Sage continues to be prevalent on the eastern side of the area, but the hills are also overtaken by juniper trees. For some reason they prefer the eastern slope of the mountains, and exist almost solely on that side of the range. This thick forest is dramatic change from the rest of the lands, which are nearly treeless apart from large sage. Although many of the same shrubs and bushes are present, this ecosystem has a noticeably different feel. These trees provide plenty of shade and isolation, and certainly create a hideout for many larger animals. This is beautiful and natural part of the region.
The key topographical features of this small unit are a series of parallel, north/south ridges. As the drainage in this area is primarily east/west, the washes and canyons of this unit make surprising twists and turns to find a way to breach these ridges. This creates a complex and varied topography within the unit that fosters a multitude of locations for visitors to find secluded spots. This complex topography, combined with nearly 2300 feet of elevation relief and the open woodlands in the eastern portion of the unit provide many outstanding opportunities for solitude throughout this unit. Here, rugged terrain is very conducive to feeling alone, and allows users to easily vanish others. These lands are very quiet and peaceful, and there are few sounds except for occasional birdsong or the wind through the trees. This is a remote and seemingly forgotten part of the state, an escape from the outside world, and an excellent spot to meditate or contemplate nature.
Birds and wildlife are present, providing opportunities for wildlife viewing and excellent hunting for skilled backcountry hunters. Mule deer, chukar, pronghorn, and sage grouse are some of the animals available for game. Rugged terrain, scenic ridges, and colorful badland formations on the north and western sides of this unit create many hiking destinations, For those will to carry their own water, overnight backpacking offers opportunities for vistors to awake in an area inhabited only by nature. The core of the area offers some of the best solitude, and also provides numerous spectacular isolated campsites. In addition, rolling terrain across parts of the area would be excellent for horseback riding and horsepacking. In addition, these lands provide excellent opportunities for photography, painting, sketching, burro and llama packing, bird watching, wildflower viewing, meditation, yoga, rock scrambling, and route finding. The night skies here are deeply dark ad offer outstanding opportunities for star gazing and night-sky photography. These are only some of the recreation possibilities here. There is certainly no shortage of activities that one can enjoy within this beautiful landscape.