BLM’s South Pass Area Management Plan to include more diverse historical intrepretation
(Lander, Wyo.) – Officials from the Bureau of Land Management’s Lander Field Office told the county commission on Tuesday that a draft management plan for the South Pass area will be ready for stakeholder review in the near future.
Curtis Bryan said public input received during the comment period will be included in the draft plan, including suggestions that the area’s history be more broad and inclusive. “We heard a desire and need for more balanced interpretation of South Pass, which is now mostly about the Mormon Trail and LDS Church, which is a large part of the historical setting” Bryan said, “but a desire was expressed to tell a more broad story of the historical migration.” He said the actual Oregon Trail passes just two miles south of South Pass City.
He also said the BLM wants to also increase the interpretation of the South Pass Mining Area, but he said that would be a “long-term” plan. He said the goal is to make the South Pass area more appealing to travelers and thus local communities.
The good news he reported to the commission is the BLM’s plan to work on the stabilization of the structures left at the Miner’s Delight ghost town. “Archeologist Craig Bromley will determine what is needed this winter, and then purchase the materials and do the work this coming spring,” he said.
On a different topic, Chairman Travis Becker questioned Bryan about some roadblocks the county has encountered in regards to placing snow fences in the South Pass Area. “We were told we could not put up the snow fences due to the historical view scape of South Pass,” he said. “Does a view scape overrule safety?”
“We can review what we can do in that area,” Bryan said, noting that he was not aware of the county’s concern. Becker then suggested the BLM and county could come up with a viable solution.
Introduced to the commission was the interim field manager of the BLM’s Lander Office Mike Phillips. Phillips said he would be in Lander for at least the next four months. He said the local offices have not received further directions from Washington on if the position would be permanent or not. Phillips is from Worland.