It is impossible to think of Wyoming without picturing wild, majestic spaces like Yellowstone National Park, the Wind River Range and Devils Tower National Monument. Indeed, nearly half the state's acreage is managed as part of national public lands that belong to all Americans. Those rugged and wild lands help define what it means to live here, which is why 8 in 10 Wyomingites call themselves "conservationists."
But wild places in Wyoming are facing major threats thanks to the efforts of the Trump administration and extreme politicians. These include proposals to slash sensible environmental rules and prioritize energy development above all else, exemplified by the possibility of oil and gas drilling in the stark and stunning Northern Red Desert.
Wyoming’s beloved lands belong to all of us and have been stewarded for many decades by hard-working folks who live close to them. They are, quite simply, “Our Wild.” And the best gift we can give future generations is to make sure these lands stay healthy, whole and safe for all to enjoy.
In order to protect #OurWild way of life, we need more Wyomingites to join the fight against Trump’s attacks on public lands.
Threats to Wyoming public lands:
- Drilling in the Northern Red Desert. The Trump administration is trying to rescind protections in the Northern Red Desert in order to open most of the region to oil and gas drilling. Development in the area would disturb and displace wildlife ranging from tens of thousands of pronghorn antelope to desert-dwelling elk and migrating mule deer.
- Wyoming Range re-opened for oil and gas leasing. In 2017, the Forest Service listened to local citizens and withdrew the Wyoming Range section of the Greater Yellowstone landscape from consideration for future oil and gas leases, a huge victory that protected wildlife habitat and key hunting and fishing spots. But an energy company is being allowed to explore for oil and gas within the landscape, a major threat to the area.
- Sage-grouse protection plans scrapped. Interests ranging from ranchers to state wildlife agencies worked for nearly a decade to craft a plan that protected western sagebrush habitat, a rugged but fragile home to species like the greater sage-grouse. The Trump administration has already effectively dismantled that plan, which could expose many Wyoming wildlands to damage from mining and development.
- Protections cut for unspoiled wildlands. Rep. Liz Cheney wants to roll back protections for many Wyoming wilderness study areas, even as counties across the state work on recommendations for how to manage these places and other public lands. Her proposal disregards the careful collaborative work of her constituents and could threaten land and wildlife beloved by hunters, hikers and horseback riders alike.
- Public lands privatized or sold for profit. In recent years, politicians have tried to turn millions of acres of Wyoming public lands over to the state. One proposal mandated that all national public lands other than national parks and wilderness areas be transferred, and others have asked for studies and committees that set the stage for such seizure efforts. One example of local land control going wrong: Wyoming's Shoshone Cavern National Monument, delisted in 1954 and handed back to the state, was eventually transferred back to federal jurisdiction after maintenance of the site proved too costly.
- Forests threatened by unneeded new roads. The Shoshone, Caribou and other national forests in Wyoming contain thousands of acres of "inventoried roadless areas." These are unusually wild and untouched stretches of land where natural habitat exists and wildlife thrives. New proposals could end up undermining these rules and threaten some truly special places by allowing reckless logging and road construction.