Wilderness

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On September 3, 1964, the United States did something that no other nation had ever done before. They created “The Wilderness Act”.

The Act states :”In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States… leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness.”

The United States Congress designated the Cloud Peak Wilderness in 1984 with the Wyoming Wilderness Act and it now has a total of 189,039 acres. All of the wilderness is in the state of Wyoming.

IMG_0971Long recognized as having some of the most majestic alpine scenery in America, this region was managed as the Cloud Peak Primitive Area as far back as 1932. For 27 miles along the spine of the Bighorn Mountain Range, Cloud Peak Wilderness preserves many sharp summits and towering sheer rock faces standing above glacier-carved U-shaped valleys. Named for the tallest mountain in Bighorn National Forest–Cloud Peak at 13,167 feet–the Wilderness is blanketed in snow for a large part of the year. Most of the higher ground doesn’t show bare ground until July. On the east side of Cloud Peak itself, a deeply inset cirque holds the last remaining glacier in this range. Several hundred beautiful lakes cover the landscape and drain into miles of streams. The forest is an attractive mix of pine and spruce opened by meadows and wetlands.

Although rugged in appearance, the Bighorns are actually more gentle than other mountains in Wyoming. The area is visited each year by thousands and thousands of backpackers who hike along more than 100 miles of trails.

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