Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Tracie Mitchell
Staff Writer 

UPDATE: National Public Lands Day POSTPONED

BLM plans work day, celebration Saturday at Castle Gardens


September 23, 2016


Castle Gardens Recreation Area includes interesting formations, but also a picnic area and primitive campground. There will be a work day to work on trails and moving firewood during National Public Lands Day Saturday.

UPDATE 9-23-16 -- Due to inclement weather the work day has been postponed until next Saturday, Oct. 1.

WORLAND - The Bureau of Land Management Worland Field Office invites volunteers to join them at Castle Gardens Recreation Area Saturday for a day of community work and barbecue to celebrate National Public Lands Day.

This is the BLM's 70th anniversary as an agency and 40th anniversary of their guiding policy which is FLPMA (Federal Land Policy Land Management Act) the BLM's guiding document. "We are celebrating these two anniversaries with a work day and barbecue," BLM Worland Field Office Outdoor Recreation Planner Adam Babcock said. "Burgers and brats are provided by the BLM," he added.

Babcock said the point of National Public Lands Day "is to get people jazzed about public lands and for all of us to remind ourselves of what a unique opportunity public land really is."

"Throughout history the world over, in order to go walk on open land or to go hunting game, or to go fishing, you had to be a landowner or you had to serve a landowner. It was all more or less privately held within the nation's state," Babcock explained. "When America came up with the first national park, Yellowstone in 1872, and even prior to that with our land ordinance, general land office, which is what we were originally called back in 1812, along with that came this notion that every citizen had the right to go and access these lands. The notion that we can all go out hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, whatever it is that you like to do for recreation, it's a unique idea and it's a very special idea and it's something that every other nation in the world has come to adopt and we (the U.S.) started it."

The BLM has put a lot of work into Castle Gardens turning it into a primitive campground for visitors and the work day will help put on the finishing touches.

Babcock said, "We have built some shade structures and the bulk of our work on Public Lands Day is going to be leveling the pad underneath the shade structures for the picnic tables so that you have a nice level dry place to be picnicking on. We are going to do that with gravel and mulch."

He added that from a previous work event, they have some old bucking rail fence materials that has already been cut up and will be moved and stacked as firewood at each of our camp sites. "We have a little bit of foot path trail maintenance to do. We can always pull weeds and do trash clean-up. But the main things that we want to get done are the graveling and mulching of the shade shelters and moving and stacking the firewood," he added.

Participants of the work day will receive free T-shirts and 20 participants will receive coupons to give them free access to a national park such as Yellowstone. "Free T-shirts for every participant and I have a few ball caps so some lucky people might get ball caps instead. I can also hand out these 20 coupons that are good for a free entry to any park or other public land that charges an entrance fee. Valid for entrance fees or day use fees only. If more than 20 people participate I will be happy to do a raffle," Babcock said.

BLM public affairs Sarah Beckwith added, "The coupon will grant free entry to places like Yellowstone for one day, that's a car, that's your family, whoever's with you."

Anyone interested in participating from the Worland area can meet at the BLM Worland Field Office parking lot at 8 a.m. to carpool. Ten Sleep area residents can meet at the Castle Gardens primitive campground and scenic area at 9 a.m.

Volunteers will be required to fill out a little paperwork. "There is a little bit of paper work to do just signing volunteer agreements and whatnot and then I have to do a safety briefing for everyone out at the sight, once we have everybody's paperwork done," Babcock said.

Castle Gardens

According to the BLM website, "This area of fantastic rock formations is located at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains at an elevation of 4,500 feet. Use of the area is free. The Castle Gardens Recreation Area is open from May through October. The turnoff to the area is approximately one mile west of Ten Sleep on U.S. Highway 16. From there a dirt road heads south. Signs lead to the site about six miles away.


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