WYOMING TRIBUNE EAGLE 10-18-17 Wilderness Study Areas get boost

Oct 18, 2017

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"The future of Wilderness Study Areas (WSA’s) in Wyoming is finally being decided after nearly 30 years of these public lands being in a sort of limbo. Ten Wyoming counties have organized hardworking committees to participate in the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative (WPLI) in order to formulate definitive management plans for these landscapes. These committees are led by county commissioners and include local citizens that represent numerous stakeholder interests: outdoor recreation, motorized and non-motorized recreation, agriculture, energy, tourism, conservation groups, and others entities.

In order to help communicate to the public the committees’ intentions, the EcoFlight Flight Across America program flew several college students, myself included, along with local media and committee members over several WSA’s. After spending two days visiting with committee members from different counties and flying over the most beautiful and dynamic landscapes, it is clear that these WSA’s need updated management plans in order to determine what level of protection they all need.

Each committee expressed how important public input is in this lengthy process. A schedule for public committee meetings in each county is easily accessible online and they would truly appreciate your involvement. The more public involvement now means that the process will not be held-up further in to the process simply because some individuals choose to speak up later rather than sooner.

Each county’s WSA’s has something unique to offer to the public. If you are truly interested in the future of these public lands and would like your input to be considered, show up to your local committee council meetings, submit comments during public comment periods, and be active members of your local community.

As members of the public, we all represent the diverse community of stakeholders throughout Wyoming. I hope that we can all meet on common ground in order to determine the best management plans for our public lands. Let’s not forget that we are not the only ones using these lands, we need to consider future generations and do our part in ensuring they too can enjoy the irreplaceable landscapes that Wyoming has to offer."



Maddie Onstott