Oil and Gas Drilling: Northern Red Desert

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Oil and Gas Drilling: Northern Red Desert
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Mason Cummings, TWS

The Northern Red Desert is threatened by oil and gas drilling

TWTDThe Northern Red Desert is an immense landscape in western Wyoming that offers spectacular opportunities for hikers, hunters, photographers and families out camping. With tens of thousands of pronghorn antelope, desert-dwelling elk and migrating mule deer, it also hosts unique and important habitat for many types of wildlife.

Sometimes referred to as “The Big Empty,” the area is renowned for its unspoiled wildands, nationally important historic trails and extraordinary wildlife.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is currently revising the management plan for the Rock Springs Field Office, which includes the majority of the Northern Red Desert. The desert is now in danger of being made available to oil and gas leasing.

Why this place matters

The Northern Red Desert has colorful badlands, sand dunes, springs and seeps, and sagebrush foothills that provide habitat to pronghorn, elk, mule deer, sage-grouse and many other species.

Nearly 700,000 acres
of Northern Red Desert.
Longest known mule deer migration corridor
begins and ends in this area.
The Killpecker Sand Dunes
These dunes make up one of the nation’s longest active sand dune complexes.

The threat

The Bureau of Land Management’s Rock Springs Field Office is revising its management plan, which could potentially open the door to oil and gas drilling across 3.6 million acres. This area includes the Northern Red Desert.

The Northern Red Desert’s wildlife and stunning vistas would be harmed by allowing oil and gas drilling in wilderness-quality areas.

The Wilderness Society believes that the new plan should account for the protections needed by the Northern Red Desert, and that this area should be closed to new leasing, as was agreed upon in a 2008 plan.

What we're doing

  1. Advocating for limited leasing

    Urging the Bureau of Land Management to limit oil and gas leasing in the Northern Red Desert

  2. Advancing legislation

    Working with local communities to advance national legislation that would permanently protect this area through a national designation

  3. Amplifying voices

    Helping to amplify the voices of people who are often not heard by this administration--the Northern Red Desert includes areas of cultural importance for many tribes in the region.

What you can do
Tell your lawmakers to support the Northern Red Desert. Sign up for WildAlert emails to make your voice heard.