SHERIDAN — New regulations regarding dispersed camping and containment of solid human waste are in effect in the West Tensleep Corridor in the Bighorn National Forest, according to a press release from the U.S. Forest Service.
The corridor, located about 45 miles west of Buffalo off U.S. Highway 16, is a heavily used recreation area and the most popular access point to the Cloud Peak Wilderness.
One new regulation specifies that dispersed camping — outside developed campgrounds — will be allowed only at designated dispersed campsites in the corridor north of Tyrrell Work Center. Camping inside the Cloud Peak Wilderness boundary is not affected by the new regulation.
A second new regulation requires human waste and toilet paper to be contained and removed from the West and Middle Tensleep drainages north of Tyrrell Work Center, including a portion of the Cloud Peak Wilderness. Visitors must contain, carry out and properly dispose of solid human waste and toilet paper.
“The West Tensleep Corridor is the most heavily-used area in the forest, and where humans go, well, they leave things behind,” said Mark Booth, district ranger in Buffalo. “Clean water and human health and safety are in everyone’s interest. These changes are needed to ensure both.”
According to Booth, approximately 6.5 tons of solid human waste are left in the West Tensleep drainage each year. Human waste introduces bacteria into the water and increases the chances of disease transmission.
The regulations are part of a more comprehensive plan for the area that will be implemented over several years. The West Tensleep Corridor Master Recreation Project was approved in 2012 and includes relocating campgrounds, improving roads and constructing trails and parking areas.
For more information about the new regulations, contact the Powder River Ranger District office in Buffalo at (307) 684-7806 or visit www.fs.usda.gov/bighorn.