Wilson Canyon campground may close soon

Federal officials are still defining the exact location they plan to close within Wilson Canyon after today.

"We're still considering the area we need to close," said Chuck Pope, the Bureau of Land Management's assistant manager for nonrenewable resources. "We need to identify the boundary around that area. The idea is to keep multiple use down there."

Pope said the closure is designed to protect the bed and banks of the river.

"We haven't got a firm boundary yet, but we're getting close. We don't want to represent that the whole canyon is being shut off. The canyon is going to remain open," Pope cautioned.

In the long term, he said the canyon will have permanent campsites and marked trails for off-highway-vehicle use."

"Our long-term planning is to look at putting in campsites and bathrooms and establishing trails that keep off-highway-vehicle users off private land, but allow them to enjoy the area."

OHV-use proponents were backed by Lyon County commissioners in their efforts to keep the area open.

Commissioners voted to ask the BLM to keep the canyon open after 200 supporters voiced support at a commission meeting.

Chuck Worley of Friends of Wilson Canyon said his group would like to see the river corridor protected, but does not believe that eliminating camping along the river is the only way to do that.

"We advocate managing, rather than eliminating camping," he said. "If they have the money to make the closure work then they can find the money to manage the area in a way that doesn't preclude camping in other places and OHV access. The only public place to camp is along the river."

The Wilson Canyon Alliance, made up of environmentalists and property owners near it, advocates closing portions of the canyon

Nearby-property owner Laurie Christine supports closing the river to vehicles and campers.

Christine said all-terrain-vehicle riders are driving down the river bed when the water is low.


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