Seems that there is a new young USFS Biologist in the area that is doing independent Sierra Bighorn Sheep and Human contact surveys along the Eastside of the Sierra. A very small group of local SBS fanatics have won this individuals attention.
This individual has already publicly stated that their intent is to protect the SBS at any cost. The area/s that this individual is currently vigilantly monitoring are extensively used and well known "rock climbing crags/alpine climbing/BC skiing/hiking areas" along the Eastside. One in particular has been heard by several to be on their immediate "to be closed to human" closure list with a handful of others in the works as well.
This individual has been advised by the older local independent and State SBS guru's, who initiated the original "Research" closures and have been studying the interactions of the two for decades, that this is a non-issue and have concluded that there is no danger to the SBS's due to this interaction. Their findings btw are what assisted me in my two and half year battle to have the USFS reopen the Williamson/Baxter 30 year SBS Research Closure area, some two years ago. All this advisement has apparently gone into the new bio's one ear and straight through the other to no avail.
I also caught wind that public hearings will be scheduled in the near future as to the studies and potential closure/s of said areas.
Here we go again! The USFS seeking to close off large areas of "Public Access Lands" after decades of research have found that there is NO danger between humans and the Sierra Bighorn Sheep.
I will keep you all informed as to the dates of these hearings and ask that when called upon, those that want their freedoms of access to these "Public Lands" to remain, attend and voice their opinions in order to keep them as such. The area/s in question are not small in the least and will affect all access to these areas. Not just climbers/hikers. It will also include BC Skiers and any other human visitations.
As long as you aren't shooting them, it's hard to understand what the danger to the bighorns could be.
Are Sierra bighorns substantially different in behavior from the bighorns of the San Gabriel Mountains? Along the upper parts of the trail to Ontario Peak, you are almost certain to encounter bighorns. While they are generally skittish animals, some are curious enough to approach to within feet of hikers to get a better look. You will often also find them milling around on West Baldy, less than a hundred yards or so from where dozens of hikers are congregating on Baldy proper. They don't seem to care.
Meanwhile, last summer during a hike along the East Fork of the San Gabriel River I encountered this guy just standing above the trail watching everyone go by:
It's hard to believe he was being negatively impacted by the mere presence of humans (and a lot more humans than are likely ever to use Eastside rock climbing areas).
Yes I know the area/s but it is not "official" as of yet.
Close to but not yet.
I will divulge the area/s when I get word from my sources that it is an "official" potential closure study and will post it/them up. Word is that it may become so in the next couple of weeks after folks catch wind of it.
Thus, the meaning to my advisement here on SP to the masses that do not want their access freedoms infridged upon.