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November 22, 2023

Attn: Thad Berrett

Powder River District Ranger

1415 Fort Street

Buffalo, Wyoming   82834


The Bighorn Audubon Society appreciates the efforts put forth on this necessary Climbing Management Plan by the Powder River District staff, and the opportunity to comment and ask questions.

Tensleep Canyon is an essential breeding and migratory habitat for several bird species, including species of conservation concern. We respectfully request:

  • A strong educational approach for climber and hiker awareness of migrating, nesting and fledgling birds, their habitats including cliffs, and the potential impacts. Suggest signage entering the trails or at all parking areas. Include educational information on the Bighorn National Forest website. Encourage the climbing community organizations to include this information on their sites, printed material, and social media.  Include restraining dogs from disturbing birds and nest sites. Emphasize the need for humans and pets to stay on existing trails.

  • Conduct and record bird surveys before and after any new trails are developed and old trails revitalized.

  • Prohibit motorized vehicles or e-bikes on these trails.   

  • Continue our partnership conducting raptor surveys in Tensleep Canyon, with potential to expand in other Forest climbing areas, and using this data for climbing management.

A few questions and comments are as follows:

  • Bighorn Audubon believes enforcement will be critical to the success of this plan, and the protection of birds and their habitat. How will existing rules and regulations, and special orders be enforced by the Forest staff, and what will the consequences be for violations? How many Forest Service Rangers will be assigned to patrol or enforce this area?

  • Will there be a process available for citizens to report violations?

  • Are climbing outfitters required to register and/or be licensed with the Forest and do they have limits, restrictions and/or required reservations for large and frequent groups? Are outfitters required to educate their customers on proper use of the Forest, including avoiding wildlife disturbances?  If not, outfitters should receive packets from the Forest Service with educational material and be required to educate their customers on avoiding disturbing wildlife and staying on existing trails when accessing the routes.

  • Restrict camping close to Tensleep Creek and other streams and lakes within the Forest. Enforce proper disposal of human and pet waste to limit the environmental impact on birds and other life.

As the Powder River District team finalizes the Climbing Management Plan we appreciate a continued careful analysis on the impacts on wildlife, waterways, botanical species, and habitats including cliffs.

Thank you again for this opportunity to comment, and for taking the many steps to create a much-needed Climbing Management Plan.


On behalf of the Bighorn Audubon Society,


JoAnne Puckett


Bighorn Audubon Society

P.O. Box 535

Sheridan, Wyoming 82801

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