Wyoming - Public Lands Initiative

State: Wyoming

The Wyoming Public Lands Initiative (WPLI) is a voluntary, collaborative, county-led process intended to result in one, multi-county legislative lands package that is broadly supported by public lands stakeholders in Wyoming.  The ultimate goal is a new federal law that governs the designation and management of Wyoming’s 44 Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs).

The Board of County Commissioners in a county that is participating in the WPLI will be the first elected body to receive and vote on recommendations by the county’s WPLI Advisory Committee. Advisory Committees formed in early 2016 through early 2017 with citizen members representing different interests including conservation, energy, motorized and non-motorized recreation, sportsmen and the general public. They are charged with gathering background information and current data on the WSAs within their county; and where possible, consider additional resource uses, inventories, and management of the landscape irrespective of existing management boundaries. Site visits to WSAs and other lands of interest occurred throughout 2016 and 2017, with advisory committee work focused on generating options and identifying draft recommendations.

In September 2018, Representative Liz Cheney introduced a bill that would release half the wilderness study acreage in Wyoming. Essentially, undermining the entire WPLI process. Rep Cheney said WSAs “prevents access, locks up land and resources, restricts grazing rights, and hinders good rangeland and resource management..." As of late 2018 many of the county Advisory Committees have not made any recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners.

Wild Lands