Wilderness Watch is concerned about a Forest Service (FS) plan to spray herbicides and possibly introduce exotic insects in the Gros Ventre, Bridger and Teton Wildernesses, and Palisades and Shoal Creek Wilderness Study Areas in Wyoming. In our comments on the FS’s Invasive Plant Management Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Bridger-Teton National Forest we questioned whether a massive weed control program could possibly be appropriate within Wilderness and the efficacy of more herbicide spraying since 15 years of past spraying hasn’t eradicated weeds.
The inadequate DEIS fails to give any details such as wilderness acreage to be aerially sprayed (a precedent, if allowed), whether exotic insects have or will be introduced (another form of trammeling Wilderness), and the amount of spraying in the past, among other issues.
We encouraged the agency to focus on weed prevention methods related to stock and visitor use rather than trammel the Wilderness. Such measures include: require pelletized food for stock to avoid weed-infested hay, close weed-infested areas until weeds can be eliminated, implement campsite standards to eliminate bare ground where weeds can take hold, inspect boats, and quarantine stock animals for 48 hours.