New decision results in permanent protection of the Wyoming Range

Mule deer between trees
Photo credits: Shutterstock

For decades, Wyoming hunters and anglers have pushed for permanent protection of the Wyoming Range, a refuge for fish and wildlife that spans 1.2 million acres. Yet, because of a questionable legislation that didn’t address 30 lease parcels that fall within the area, which is protected by the Wyoming Range Legacy Act of 2009, approximately 39,400 acres were in flux. Last week’s U.S. Forest Service (USFS) decision to not allow any leasing within this region means that the longstanding battle for habitat preservation is finally over – and in favor of hunters, anglers and wildlife supporters rather than oil and gas.

According to the Uinta County Herald, the original legislation didn’t specifically address these parcels, which led to decades of debate and over 20,000 comments on the draft environmental impact statement. The USFS’s verdict settles that the Bridger-Teton National Forest is now off limits to any type of development; important habitat for wildlife like native cutthroat trout and mule deer is now protected.

This is a happy ending to a longstanding issue.

“Access to intact, natural landscapes and the transformational experiences they offer is essential to outdoor-industry related businesses,” John Gans, who is the National Outdoor Leadership School Executive Director, told the Uinta County Herald. “The Wyoming Range has provided rich rewards to numerous visitors for generations. We need to keep it the way it is.”




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