Uncle Sam

Inventoried Land with Wilderness Character (LWC) in the Battle Mountain BLM District27232445424_d45dffc6ae_z.jpg

Current LWC Status: Proposed

Acres: 26,179

State Region: West Central

County: Esmeralda

Managing Agency

Bureau of Land Management

Battle Mountain District Office

50 Bastian Rd. Battle Mountain, NV 89820

(775) 635-4000

Battle Mountain District BLM Website

Area Description:

This unit comprises an incredible diversity of landscape, from the broad alluvial fans on the southwestern and southern portion of the unit is comprised by sparse blackbrush plant community and braided alluvial channels.  As the terrain rises toward the north, the creosote plant community becomes more dominant. Joshua Trees join the creosote on lower elevation hills in the middle portion of the unit.  The Joshua trees become more prevalent and begin to intermix with pinion and juniper woodlands in the northern portion of the unit.   Elevations in the unit vary from 3800 feet in the south to 7600 along the northern boundary.  At the highest elevations, sagebrush meadows and mountain mahogany can be found.  Three rugged canyons enter the unit from the west, Copper Canyon, Alum Canyon, and Cottonwood Canyon.  All three of these canyons are tributaries to Death Valley Wash.  Several substantial springs are found within the unit: Uncle Sam, Poison and Owl Springs.  Other, less reliable springs can be found scatter in the central part of the unit.  For an arid unit, these springs provide an important water resource for wildlife.  Wildlife within the unit include wild burros, mule deer, and raptors. The geology of the unit is dominated by rhyolitic volcanic formations interspaced with remnant sedimentary rocks.  

The high rolling terrain in the northern and western portions of this unit are comprised of numerous convoluted canyons and ridges offering nearly unlimited opportunities to find secluded spots.  The steep canyons on the west side of unit are deep and isolated offering a truly outstanding opportunity for solitude and for finding isolated spots.  The 3800 feet of elevation within this unit multiplies the opportunities of solitude by the presence of steep vertical relief.  The alluvial fans in the southern portion of the unit are contiguous with the massive wilderness alluvial fan system in Death Valley National Park offering outstanding opportunities for solitude that extend into this unit.  An extensive lava-flow mesa in the southern part of the unit provides a unique outstanding opportunity for solitude by offering an isolated world isolated by the steep lava-flow rim from the rest of the unit below.   The inherent outstanding opportunities for solitude of this unit are magnified and multiplied as this unit is contiguous with the outstanding opportunities for solitude in the designated wilderness of Death Valley National Park.  

The colorful formations throughout the unit combined with badlands formation and cactus plains of the lower elevations create outstanding opportunities for photography, painting and sketching.   This area presents spectacular outstanding vistas at every turn. The 3800 feet of vertical relief creates a rich and outstanding vegetative diversity for nature study.  

Sclerocactus polyancistrus (the Mojave fishhook cactus), an endangered plant, is thought to exist in the unit. The 3800 foot relief of this unit sits astride the transition zone between the high deserts and the lower Mojave environment, making this unit a crucial laboratory for studying the effects of climate change.    

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