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
This unit lies in the eastern branch of the Monte Cristo Range in Esmeralda County, Nevada. This unit comprises an incredible diversity of landscape, from the broad alluvial plains, encrusted with desert pavements dropping into the Big Smokey Valley on eastern and southern margins, to the rugged and colorful desert hills in the north and along the eastern ramparts, to the pinion/juniper stands in the higher elevations in the center of the unit. Elevations range from 4800 feet in the Big Smokey Valley to nearly 8000 feet atop the Monte Cristo Range. The plant community of this unit is equally diverse with greasewood and low saltbush vegetation on the lowest alluvial fans, to blackbrush, prickle pear, and cholla in the mid-elevations, to scattered stands of big brush sage, grasslands, and pinion/juniper in the highest elevations. Several springs and guzzlers can be found within the unit and provide vital water for wildlife. This unit hosts larger animals such as mule deer and big horn sheep. Upland game birds and raptors are plentiful as are rodents and other prey species.
The vast spaces, varied topography, and areas of dense woodland vegetation provide many outstanding opportunities for solitude throughout this unit. The high rolling terrain in the core is comprised of numerous convoluted canyons and ridges offering nearly unlimited opportunities to find secluded spots. The steep canyons on the east side of the unit rise quickly to nearly 2000 feet, multiplying the opportunities of solitude by the presence of steep vertical relief. The alluvial plains on the east and west side of the unit are vast and offer outstanding opportunities for solitude in the sheer scale of the landscape. Scattered throughout this alluvial landscape are badland formations with opportunities to find ever more isolated secluded formations in the incised-dendritic drainages and hoodoo formations. This is truly a remote and isolated place where outstanding opportunities for solitude abound.
This area is not easy to explore, however, nearly every inch of this unit is accessible to the visitor with the determination and skills to traverse trackless wilderness. Birds and wildlife are present as well, providing opportunities for viewing and excellent hunting for skilled backcountry hunters. Mule deer, bighorn sheep, and chukar are some of the animals available for game. The area offers outstanding desert hiking and exploration opportunities, including excellent rock scrambling, route finding, and peak bagging (on Doyle Peak and the Monte Cristo Range High Point). The colorful formations throughout the unit combined with the cactus plains of the lower elevations create outstanding opportunities for photography, painting and sketching. This area presents spectacular outstanding vistas at every turn.
The nearly 3200 feet of vertical relief creates a rich and outstanding vegetative diversity for nature study. The area is rich in historic and prehistoric archaeological resources for visitors to explore and investigate. Hiking, orienteering, backpacking, rock hounding, bird watching, primitive camping, horseback riding, burro and llama packing, hunting, and general sightseeing complete the possibilities for outstanding opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation within this unit.