Throughout the summer, the members of Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project will be featuring a series of blogs. For more information about Trout Unlimited or to become a member, go to tu.org
• About 8 million acres of Utah’s 54 million acres of land (about 15 percent) are public U.S. Forest Service lands.
• Of those 8 million acres of U.S. Forest Service lands, about 4 million acres or 50 percent are inventoried roadless areas.
• Currently there are no acres recommended for wilderness in Utah
Situated at the base of Boulder Mountain, this remote roadless area stretches across BLM, Forest Service and private land.
The renowned Boulder Mountain area of southern Utah, much like the Uintas in the state’s northeastern corner, provides high-quality angling in a unique setting. Much of Boulder Mountain is untracked roadless land, where vital populations of native Colorado River cutthroat trout swim. But the area’s prized angling possessions aren’t the streams and rivers that flow off the shoulders of Boulder Mountain. More than 100 lakes provide unmatched backcountry angling for a number of species of coldwater fish. Utahns value Boulder Mountain for good reason–it’s a fishing Mecca in a very special place.
Boulder Mountain offers some of the best mule deer and elk hunting in the Southwest. According to 2009 general entry statistics kept by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, mule deer hunters saw the highest success rates in the state during rifle season, almost double the success rates of some other regions of the state.
Hunters have enjoyed marked success stalking trophy mule deer and elk in this area for generations, largely because of the intact roadless backcountry that provides a healthy variety of cover and forage, quality rearing range for calves and fawns, and a mix of healthy and accessible summer and winter range.
The majority of Boulder Mountain is identified as crucial mule deer and elk habitat, and much, but not all, of that acreage is inventoried roadless land.
Keeping these untracked, unspoiled lands intact is vital to the future of the Boulder Mountain big-game herd, and to the future of deer and elk hunting.
Much of the low country in this area is already seeing pressure from development and there is some potential for significant oil and natural gas drilling in the area. This fact only highlights the importance of keeping the region’s roadless lands intact, because these lands provide the refuge for some of Utah’s most-prized elk and mule deer.