Federal officials are proposing a layer of protection that would prevent quarry or mining operations in areas that have been designated for scientific research or that have a concentration of rare plants. Chelsea Monks is a botanist with the Black Hills National Forest. She says a few of the areas proposed for protection include Englewood Springs and Beaver Gulch in the Northern Hills and Dugout Gulch in Wyoming.
“We’ve actually got a pretty cool assemblage of rare species including several species of orchids, among those are the lesser yellow lady slipper which is one of my personal favorites. But, the neat thing about these areas is not just the species that are there but the assemblage of species that are there. Meaning, there are species that are co-occurring that don’t normally occur together. So, that’s one of the values that we designated these areas to preserve,” says Monks.
Monks says the Forest Service is now gathering public comments on their proposal to set aside these areas. She says the total area proposed for protection is about 17-thousand acres, that’s about one percent of the Black Hills.
Two meetings are planned to provide an opportunity for the public to offer comments on the proposal.
• Tuesday, October 27th at 6 p.m. in Rapid City at the Mystic Ranger District Office located at 8221 South Hwy 16, Rapid City, SD 57702.
• Wednesday, October 28th at 6 p.m. in Sundance, WY at the Wyoming Extension Service Community Room located in the Crook County Courthouse basement at 309 Cleveland St. Sundance, WY 82729.
The public can e-mail comments on the proposed plan to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or send comments via traditional mail to 1019 N 5th St. Custer, SD 57730, BLM Montana State Director, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT 59101