Future of Wilderness Study Areas Remains Uncertain
Photo taken from Wyoming County Commissioner's Association website.
The Wyoming Public Lands Initiative continues to progress with, to date, seven county advisory committees deliberating the fate of Wyoming’s 45 Wilderness Study Areas, 700,000 acres of federal lands that retain their primeval character and are managed to preserve their natural condition.
The goal of the WPLI is to forward a major lands package to U.S. Congress that delineates the status of WSAs, be it release for development or wilderness designation. Committees comprised of conservationists, agriculture and energy representatives, motorized users and more must reach a consensus about the fate of each WSA within their county before combining recommendations into one large bill.
As the WPLI continues to unfold we must ask ourselves if it is shaping into a truly impartial and sensible process. What is the value of a lands bill that might, for example, recommend 10 wilderness areas at the expense of 35? Is it appropriate for the Wyoming County Commissioners Association to drive the process when commissioners hand-pick members of each advisory committee and can edit or approve the committee’s recommendations?
WWA took part in the formation of the Wyoming Wilderness Act of 1984. Many of our members played a crucial role and remember the day nearly 1 million acres of pristine land were permanently protected. We are committed to cautious vigilance as we participate in the WPLI and will work to ensure all Wyoming’s public wild lands are protected. For updates, visit www.wyo-wcca.org.
Legislative History of Wyoming's Wilderness Study Areas
BLM directed to inventory roadless areas for wilderness characteristics in the Federal Land Policy & Management Act.
Wyoming Wilderness Act sets aside Palisades, Shoal Creek & High Lakes WSAs to be managed by Forest Service.
Inventory complete, state BLM delineates boundaries for 42 BLM WSAs.
U.S. Congress receives recommendation from Wyoming BLM that nearly half its 577,504 WSA acres become Wilderness. It has yet to act 25 years later.
WSAs managed as de facto wilderness up for discussion in the WPLI. ![endif]--