How often have we heard the expression "can't see the forest for the trees"? I grew up on the East coast, and now when I return in a single engine airplane I can for the first time understand the landscape and the topography.
What a world! An environmentalist's nightmare, or a testament to man's ingenuity. That is what I felt as I toured the Thompson Creek Mine in Idaho, an open pit molybdenum mine just to the south of the Frank Church Wilderness. If you have ever been to Idaho and seen the remarkable mountain ranges of the Boulders, the White Clouds and the Sawtooths, or flown over these wildest of lands, you will understand the definition of wildness...
Here we go again off into the wild blue yonder. We are flying north again working on keeping a bunch of lands wild but the blue yonder unfortunately quickly turns to brown, due to a multitude of fires burning in Washington and Oregon. Distances appear to collapse when you are in the air, and just as our visibility was greatly reduced by the smoke, so the number of untrammeled landscapes in the west appears to be disappearing almost as quickly.
The Wyoming Range campaign, thanks to an unprecedented show of local and national support, has protected much of the Wyoming Range from natural gas development. The Trust for Public Lands, working on behalf of several local groups, including the Wyoming Outdoor Council, Citizens for the Wyoming Range and The Wilderness Society, reached a deal with Plains Exploration and Production in 2012 to sell leases for about 58,000 acres of land in the Upper Hoback Basin.