Keeping The Medicine Bow Wild

The Medicine Bow National Forest (MBNF), located in southern and southeastern Wyoming, is a part of the National Forest System.

Medicine Bow
Roadless Areas

Back to Programs

Actually, the MBNF is comprised of four different "units": the Snowy Range unit west of Laramie, the Sierra Madre unit south of Encampment, the Pole Mountain/Vedauwoo unit west of Cheyenne, and the Laramie Peak unit southeast of Casper.

Each unit has places of incredible beauty and wildness, and each unit is home to uncommon species such as the River Otter, Boreal Owl, Goshawk, Colorado River Cutthroat Trout, and Boreal Toad.

Unfortunately, conserving wildlife and preserving the special values of the Medicine Bow have not been priorities for the U.S. Forest Service over the years. Indeed, due to a focus on commercial logging, the MBNF is now the most heavily clearcut and roaded forest in the Rocky Mountains and is criss-crossed by more than 3500 miles of roads. Only about 7% of the Forest has been protected as Wilderness, and only 30% of the other lands remain undeveloped. Overcutting and excessive forest fragmentation are impacting sensitive wildlife species and reducing areas for wildlife security, scenic beauty, and opportunities for primitive recreation. More than 40 species of wildlife and plants are now of grave conservation concern on the Forest.

Another concern is that the Bow's only forested link to other forest ecosystems is directly across the Colorado state line through the Routt and Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests, which still have some large areas in an unfragmented condition. The Forest Service has managed the border region for timber production, not ecological connectivity. For the Medicine Bow to restore itself, the ecological link between it and the adjacent Forests must be restored and preserved.

The Biodiversity Conservation Alliance has therefore embarked on a long-term program to protect and restore the Medicine Bow ecosystem. Our Keep the Medicine Bow Wild program has several overlapping campaigns. First, we are working to secure a new ecologically-sound "Forest Plan" for the 'Bow; the previous Forest Plan, adopted in 1985, was based largely on extraction, not conservation. The Forest Service is now revising the Plan, and this presents citizens with the best opportunity for getting solid protection for special places and sensitive species on the Forest. The revised Plan also offers hope for getting better protetction for the "connections" to the forested ecosystems to the south. A second campaign focuses on seeking protection for the many beautiful, free-flowing rivers on the Forest via Wild and Scenic River designation. A third campaign focuses on individual development proposals on the 'Bow, such as timber sales. We evaluate each proposed project and determine whether it might impact a special area or sensitive species. If there is such a threat, we oppose the proposal though written comments, in meetings with agency officials, by organizing citizens to voice their objections, through formal protests and appeals, and (if necessary) through legal challenges. We also work to identify and advocate for less damaging courses of action.

Home | Alerts | News | Contact Us | Get Involved

Biodiversity Conservation Alliance
P.O. Box 1512, Laramie, WY 82073
(307) 742-7978 -