Wyoming Wilderness Association would like to recognize that public wildlands are Native lands, and that more than twenty indigenous tribes are connected to Wyoming including, the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Lakota, Dakota and Nakota bands), Hinono’ei (Arapaho), Sáhniš (Arikara), Panati (Bannock), Niitsitapi (Blackfeet), Tsistsistas (Cheyenne), Apsaalooké (Crow), A'aninin (Gros Ventre), [Gáuigú (Kiowa), Nimi'ipuu (Nez Perce), Tukudeka (Sheep Eater), Newe (Shoshone) and Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute). These tribes were forcibly and often violently removed from the areas where Wyoming’s public wildlands and communities now exist.
Our main office is located in Sheridan, WY on land of the Apsaalooké, Tsistsistas, and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ people. The Sheridan area’s land was originally promised to be the reservation designated for the Northern Arapaho Band. This agreement was never confirmed or ratified, leaving the Northern Arapaho with no designated land for their reservation and placed indefinitely on the Shoshone Reservation, which is now the Wind River Indian Reservation.
We respect all native people’s historic, present, and future presence in Wyoming and across the country. Far too often native people are discussed as relics of the past, rather than vital members of living cultures with the ability to offer keystone perspectives and wisdom regarding a path forward. We value the indigenous commitment to land stewardship that has kept our wildernesses pristine for generations to enjoy, and acknowledge that the wildlands we protect today were far from vacant of a human presence before the anglo-american arrival. We seek the involvement and advocacy from Wyoming’s original land inhabitants and stewards in the work we do.
WWA would lastly like to admit that this land acknowledgement, as well as our commitment to engaging Native peoples in our work is far from perfect. We welcome and encourage all feedback and suggestions.
The 1984 Wyoming Wilderness Act permanently protected 1.1 million acres of ecologically diverse, wild landscapes. The wilderness system in Wyoming encompasses roughly 3 million acres. However, 5 million acres of spectacular wild land, spanning deserts, forests, and plains, remains unprotected. Our top priority is to defend the wilderness characteristics of wild, roadless lands and safeguard their potential for future wilderness designation. We work to protect Wyoming’s public wildlands by inspiring the public to appreciate wilderness and roadless areas and engaging the public in public land decisions.
Wilderness Study areas
The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 directed the BLM to inventory and study its roadless areas for wilderness characteristics throughout the west. The WSAs depicted in this map are a result of that process. They are undeveloped lands that retain their primeval character and are managed to preserve their natural condition.
What is a wilderness area?
In 1964, the Congress of the United States took a far-sighted action by passing the Wilderness Act, legally designating certain federal lands as Wilderness. Congress preserved these lands: “…in order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition”. The Wilderness Act prohibits roads, mining, timber cutting and motorized vehicles in these areas.