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Wick/Beumee Wildlife Habitat Management Area
This 18,893-acre wildlife habitat management area and Bear Creek Cattle Company public access area is six miles southeast of Elk Mountain and five miles west of Arlington along Interstate Highway 80. Originally, 8,969 acres were purchased in the early 1960s to provide winter range for elk that summer in the adjacent Medicine Bow Mountains. In 1988, an additional 1,375 acres of winter range were added to the area along with 8,549 acres of all-year public access to Bear Creek Cattle Company on the north side of Interstate Highway 80. In the early 1900s, several thousand elk wintered here. Due to human encroachment and uncontrolled hunting, elk numbers dwindled to a few hundred. Today, approximately 600 elk winter here.
This area is as diverse as the wildlife population it supports. You will find sagebrush grasslands, mountain shrubs, meadows and a mixture of conifer and deciduous forests. Four major drainages cross the mountainous terrain along the southern portion, and elevations range from 7,000 feet to almost 9,000 feet.
Although managed primarily for elk, a variety of other wildlife live in the area. Several hundred mule deer and antelope feed here in the spring, summer and fall. Blue and sage grouse, cottontail rabbits, waterfowl, coyotes, beavers, weasels, mink, mountain lions, bobcats, yellow-bellied marmots, black-tailed prairie dogs and black bears can be observed. Three ponds and ten miles of stream in the Wagonhound and Foote Creek drainages provide fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout.
Wagonhound Creek provides the naturalist with an excellent opportunity to study the ecology of the beaver and the benefits they provide to create a diversity of wetlands, vegetation and wildlife. Here, beavers provide free labor to irrigate meadows.
While closed during the winter months to avoid disturbance to wintering elk, the area is open the remainder of the year for whatever recreational opportunity you choose. Facilities are also available in the form of parking and primitive camping areas. There are four parking and camping sites at various spots. Two of the sites contain outdoor restroom facilities but no running water. Also, a rest area is on Interstate Highway 80, which borders the area.
The Wick portion is closed each year from November 16 through May 15.