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Pinedale Online > News > April 2009 > Wilderness designation proposed for Fremont, New Fork Lakes, Wyoming Range

No to More Wilderness. Photo by Bob Rule, KPIN 101.1 FM Radio.
No to More Wilderness
Over 400 people filled the Pinedale Auditorium on April 30th for a public meeting to form a coalition opposed to NREPA H.R.980, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. No one spoke in favor of the bill. Photo by Bob Rule, KPIN 101.1 FM Radio.

Timber Harvest & Recreation. Photo by Sublette County Commissioners.
Timber Harvest & Recreation
Chart showing impact of NREPA on timber harvesting, summer and winter recreation acreages. Click on this link for the PDF map that goes with this table: Impact of NREPA on timber harvest & summer/winter recreation in Sublette County.

NREPA Map. Photo by Ecosystem Research Group.
New map by Ecosystem Research Group showing proposed wilderness in Sublette County. Click on this link to get to a PDF version of this same map (4 MB.)

All Wilderness Proposed Areas. Photo by Alliance for the Wild Rockies.
All Wilderness Proposed Areas
Map showing entire 5 state proposal. Alliance for the Wild Rockies graphic.

Bridger-Teton Wilderness. Photo by Alliance for the Wild Rockies graphic.
Bridger-Teton Wilderness
Map showing proposed wilderness on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Alliance for the Wild Rockies graphic.

Audience. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
A large number of people attended the public meeting on April 30th to voice their concerns about NREPA. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!

Panel. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
HR 980-Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA) opposition meeting in Pinedale A panel consisting of (L to R): Sandy Da Rif–representing Senator John Barrasso’s (WY) office, Wyoming State Senator Pat Aullman-on behalf of U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (WY), Sublette County Commissioner John Linn (standing), Wyoming HD#22 Representative Jim Roscoe, and Wyoming HD#21 Representative Dan Dockstader, gave presentations and answered questions. Six people volunteered to be on the new Western Wyoming Multiple Use Coalition, which will work to lobby against the proposed wilderness expansion bill. The meeting was moderated by Jason Ray of Pinedale.
Wilderness designation proposed for Fremont, New Fork Lakes, Wyoming Range
Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (H.R. 980)
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
Original post Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | Updated Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Editor's Update Tuesday, May 19, 2009: I want to clarify a statement made in my original story about H.R. 980 impacts on Sublette County. I wrote: "- Fishing, water-skiing and all motorized boating and jet ski use would be forbidden on Fremont and Half Moon Lakes (including snowmobiles for winter ice fishing)" To clarify, fishing would not be forbidden on these lakes. Using a motorized boat to fish would be disallowed. People could still fish from non-motorized boats and from the shore.

The original story, with some editorial clarification notes on the endorsements, is posted below.
Original story as posted Tuesday, April 21, 2009:

Under a new proposed House bill, wilderness proponents are hoping to get 24-million additional acres of public land in five states in the northern Rockies under federal wilderness protection. States impacted are Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The proposal includes significant increases to existing wilderness acreage in Sublette County, Wyoming, resulting in a significant reduction of areas open to outdoor recreation activities such as snowmobiling, boating, ATV vehicle use, and mountain biking.

The new legislation is called the "Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act" (H.R. 980) and was introduced in February, 2009, by Representative Carol Maloney, a Democrat from New York, and Congressman Raul Grijavala, a Democrat from Arizona (who is also Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands).

The bill greatly expands the amount of federal land that has tight restrictions on allowed human activities, limited access, no new development, and is closed to motorized and off-road vehicle use, mineral exploration, logging, road construction, and timber harvesting. The bill is co-sponsored by 69 legislators, none of whom are from Wyoming, Montana, Idaho or Oregon. Washington has two legislators supporting this bill. (Co-Sponsors)

The objective is to protect important wildlife habitat and sensitive species, scenic values, connect biological corridors, remove roads, replant forest clear cuts, and include new eligible waters to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The bill is touted as adding new jobs related to the restoration and road removal programs, saving taxpayers millions of dollars by eliminating government subsidized development in wilderness areas, and is predicted to create a more sustainable economic base for the local communities near the new wilderness lands.

If passed, Sublette County would see its existing wilderness areas expanded to include Bridger-Teton National Forest land surrounding Fremont Lake, Half Moon Lake, Willow Lake, New Fork Lake, Green River Lakes and large portions of the Wyoming Range. In addition, new areas that would come under wilderness management include Big Sandy Opening, Hoback Canyon, and land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Scab Creek.

The concept and legislation for this proposal are not new. This legislation has been a dream of wilderness proponents for over 15 years. First introduced in 1992, the House Natural Resources Committee held hearings in 1994, but no other actions were taken for over ten years. There have been repeated attempts to revive legislation by a host of co-sponsors with the support of a number of environmental groups, however it has never been passed.

The intent of the 2009 bill, H.R. 980, is: "To designate certain National Forest System lands and public lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior in the States of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming as wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, wildland recovery areas, and biological connecting corridors, and for other purposes."

Groups and individuals supporting the proposed legislation include the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, the Sierra Club, Idaho Sportsmen Coalition, Association of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (OR), Blackfeet Crazy Dogs Society (MT), Cabinet Resources Group (MT), Friends of the West (ID), Earth Ministry (WA), former President Jimmy Carter, and pop music singer Carol King. (Editor's Update 4/24/09: In our original story, the National Audubon Society and Wyoming Wildlife Federation were listed in this story as supporting this legislation, based on endorsement quotes on the Alliance for the Wild Rockies website. These two organizaitons have since contacted us to state they do NOT support this legislation. Click on this link for their current position statements.)

The bill specifically mentions these areas as proposed wilderness or additions as wild/scenic rivers:

- 86,000 acres proposed as the South Wyoming Range Wilderness for land administered by the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
- 230,000 acres Bridger-Teton National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands (Scab Creek) to be incorporated into the Bridger Wilderness.
- 15,000 acres proposed as Little Sheep Mountain Wilderness for land administered by the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
- 106,000 acres incorporated into the Gros Ventre Wilderness including 24,000 acres in Shoal Creek, plus 82,000 acres of other Gros Ventre area additions.
- 18,000 acres proposed as the Monument Ridge Wilderness for land administered by the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
- 249,000 acres proposed as the Salt River Range Wilderness for land administered by the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
- 178,000 acres proposed as the Commissary Ridge Wilderness for land administered by the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
- 5,000 acres proposed as the Little Cottonwood Wilderness for land administered by the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
- 1,000 acres proposed as the North Mountain Wilderness for land administered by the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
- Proposal to designate the Hoback River as the "Hoback Wild River," from the source downstream about 10 miles to the end of Forest Road 30710, to be managed as a wild river.
- Proposal to designate Willow Creek as the "Willow Creek Wild River," from the source downstream 20 miles to confluence with the Hoback River.

In Sublette County, impacts appear to include:
- RV, snowmobile, ATV recreational use would be forbidden in much of the Upper Green, Horse Creek and Big Sandy Opening areas;
- Fishing, water-skiing and all motorized boating and jet ski use would be forbidden on Fremont and Half Moon Lakes (including snowmobiles for winter ice fishing) 5/19/09 update: Editor Clarification: Fishing would not be forbidden on these lakes. Using a motorized boat to fish is what would be disallowed. People could still fish from non-motorized boats and from the shore.
- ATVs and RVs would be excluded from large sections of the Wyoming Range and Grey’s River area for fall hunting access. Hunters would need to plan for a lengthy hike or pack animal ride to get into hunting areas and to pack their game out.
- Roads in the wilderness areas would be obliterated and access would be by foot or pack animal conveyance. It is unclear which roads would be closed.
- Mountain biking use (a mechanized vehicle) would no longer be allowed in the Wyoming Range and large portions of the western slope of the Wind River Range on National Forest land.
- It is unclear what would happen to White Pine Ski Area, Lakeside Lodge, Boulder Lake Lodge, and Big Sandy Lodge guest ranches located and permitted by the Bridger-Teton National Forest within the boundaries of the newly expanded wilderness proposals.
- It is unclear what would be the fate of existing summer homes on National Forest land.
- It is unclear what would happen to elk feedgrounds and structures within the wilderness areas.
- It is unclear what might become of the proposal to create the new outdoor college at Half Moon Lake Resort and the Burnt Lake facilities.
- It is unclear what would happen to the many developed campgrounds, boat ramps and trailheads accesses in the Wind River Mountains and the Wyoming Range.
- It is unclear what would happen to access to private in-holdings within the newly expanded wilderness areas due to removal of roads on public land in the wilderness areas.

H.R. 980 will be heard by the Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, May 5th, 2009. See the links below for more information about this proposed bill.

Editor's Note: We welcome comments on this, and any other article on Pinedale Online. Send comments to Comments may be posted with this article. We reserve the right to edit, or not print letters that contain personal attacks against other person/s, or comments we deem to be defamatory.


Thursday, May 7, 2009, Update from the WWMC: The Western Wyoming Multiple Use Coalition (WWMC) met last on Tuesday, May 5th, and drafted a mission statement and a core values list for the coalition. Officers were elected and future actions based on the outcome of the HR 980 committee’s meeting were discussed along with other long term goals. The board will be meeting again next week. The board currently consists of Cotton Bousman from Boulder, Kurt Cordingly from Pinedale, Marc Porter from Big Piney, Kent Price from Daniel, David Royal from Boulder, Sutton Truluck from Big Piney, and Bob Wharff from Evanston. There may be an addition of one or two other members within the next couple of weeks." – Kent Price

(Editor's Note: This is the group that was formed during the public meeting in Pinedale on April 30th in the Pinedale Auditorium.)
Monday, May 4, 2009: "(Greater Yellowstone Coalition) GYC's approach is to work with people across the region to craft solutions that will achieve lasting protections for the lands, waters and wildlife of Greater Yellowstone. This will include a mix of land protection tools, including new wilderness areas in parts of the Greater Yellowstone region. We are neither endorsing NREPA nor working to advance it in Congress, and we will continue working locally on efforts such as the Wyoming Range legislation." He added, "Please join us for GYC's 26th Annual Meeting and Rendezvous, June 12-13, at Jackson Lake Lodge in beautiful Grand Teton National Park. For more details:"
Jeff Welsch
Communications Director
Greater Yellowstone Coalition
P.O. Box 1874
Bozeman, MT 59771
406-556-2819 (direct office line)
406-600-9042 (cell)

Monday, May 4, 2009, Editor’s comment: Click here for a printable PDF of the written testimony statement Sublette County Commissioner Joel Bousman will make to the committee on Tuesday, May 5th. (10 pages, 130K PDF)

Click here for a copy of the resolution passed by The Wyoming Association of County Commissioners opposing H.R. 980. (3-page, 25.6K PDF)

Click here for a copy of the resolution passed by the Wyoming Republican Party Central Committee opposing the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (H.R. 980). (2 page, 24.1K PDF)

Monday, May 4, 2009: "Dear Sirs: I am appalled by your unneeded assumptions that you must change the lifestyle of my family. The bill HR980 affects me by destroying my joy and happiness of being outdoors on my bike. These woods you are trying to close down are what I go to when I want to have a good bike ride. If you take these woods away I will have no outdoor areas to ride on except the road. Fishing with my family on Fremont Lake is a very important aspect to our lives. If you pass this bill our family boat that we got last year will be useless. Our trolling rigs will be useless. You will be robbing me of my special time in the woods or on the lake with my dad, mom, and brothers.

Have you ever been to Fremont Lake or Green River Lakes? Have you ever seen how beautiful they are and how fun it is to ride your bike to these lakes? It's these things that I look froward to in the summer when I done with school. I love to snowboard and ski, if you pass this bill, you will be eliminating the only ski resort that we have. If you take this away my parents will loose their winter time jobs, as well as many other peoples jobs White Pine Ski Resort also has summer bike trails. Most of the hill turns into awesome bike trails that are enjoyed by my family, please do not take these things away from us. By trying to pass this bill you are becoming more and more of someone who does not know how to take care of it people. You were elected into office to help and work for us, not to dictate where we can and cannot ride our bikes, take our boats, and cars. I feel that I speak for the majority of this county when I say that you are making a mistake. " - Respectfully, Josiah S. Piros, 13 years old

Saturday, May 2, 2009, Editor's comment: Click here for a new map from the Sublette County Commissioners showing timber harvest information on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in relation to the proposed wilderness bill. Timber & Recreation Map (2.8 MB PDF)

A number of people have asked if there is any way they can listen to the hearings via an online web link? The hearing can be heard via a webcast on May 5th at 2PM by going to the committee webcast address at

Here is an e-mail address to reach the Chairman of the House Resources Committee if anyone wants to e-mail comments for/against NREPA H.R. 980 directly to the House Resource Committee:

Click on this link to go to a list of phone numbers and e-mails for the individual members of the House Resources Committee: Contact Information

Click on this link to go to the website for the Committee on Natural Resources.

Our two local Sublette County newspapers had articles about NREPA in their April 30 editions. Click on these links to read their articles:
Northern Rockies bill protested By Stephen Crane, Pinedale Roundup
A battle brewing over NREPA By Derek Farr, Sublette Examiner
Friday, May 1, 2009: "As dual residents of both Florida and Wyoming, we are appalled at the suggestion of the broad areas of government meddling into the land that generates revenue, drives tourism and supplements the economy of several of the western states. Primarily, concerns over restricting usage in the Pinedale, WY area will not only destroy the economic structure there, it will put some much-needed businesses "out-of-business" overnight and permanently. The gas fields in Pinedale may be a major economic resource currently, but will those gas fields be there forever? What do you expect the life-time business owners there, some second and third generation, to do to support themselves with the passing of this bill?? These are people who were born there, spent their entire lives there working with the ecology, not against it. They know the land, the ecology, the wildlife and treat it with respect, as do those who have an interest to visit the land and learn from it. This bill, if passed, will allow the government and their agents to meddle with what they refer to as "protection" in much the same way the government did with preservation of the wolf species..... it will become another finger-pointing malay when the project causes irreversible damage to the land, the wildlife balance and severs the economy at a level unknown and unprecedented to the "big heads" in Washington!! All we can say is, "we hope voting for this bill fails miserably!" If these conservationists are so concerned with the conditions there, have them go and talk with the residents, visit the lands, and then pray to God for mercy if it DOES pass!! Have them see the effects the gas fields in Wyoming are causing to the ecology, wildlife and environment......... and then compare notes with the locals!" - Denny & Leigh Karchner, Florida
Thursday, April 30, 2009: "I want to go on record to say that I strongly oppose HR 980. My wife and I go camping several times each year at New Fork Lakes. The Wind River Mountain Range is the most beautiful area my wife and I have ever seen. The only way we have to access this area by vehicle. If the Wilderness Area is expanded to include the lower areas around the lower lakes, this will make it impossible for us to access this area and will deprive us the right to see our most favorite place in the world. I am sure that there are many others that feel the same way we do. Instead of protecting the Wilderness Area, HR 980 would deprive many people the right to see and visit this beautiful, breath taking area. Thank you." - Bruce Campion, Salt Lake City, Utah

Wednesday, April 29, 2009: "This e-mail is to comment on the proposed addition of wilderness in Pinedale. First of all, I am from Wyoming having grown up in Laramie and Rawlins (graduate of class of 1975 for the Rawlins Outlaws) and I am a graduate of the University of Wyoming. I currently reside in Colorado.

I have worked for many summers in the national park systems throughout Wyoming to include areas around Pinedale and Jackson. I understand and support the efforts to have wilderness preserved. However, expansion of the wilderness to include so much more area is not something I support.

My political slant is to the left, I admit it. I am not a proponent of the slash and burn and take what you can, energy wise, group. I can not understand the underlying goals of the proponents of this expansion. I do not think it is the correct method to use if they wish to halt energy extraction from this area of Wyoming.

The Bridger Wilderness is already very large. I have spend much time elk hunting in this area and have first hand knowledge of how huge it is. I think it is just right the way it is. To increase the acres of wilderness is a land grab that is too large and I do not support it.

Furthermore, since 1971, I and my family have had our family reunion camping trip to Half Moon Lake (in the proposed expansion) and this designation would not allow us to continue to have our summer trip. We have come to love our small, secluded camping site at Half Moon Lake where we have meticulously cleaned up after ourselves each year. We treat this outdoor space as if it is right in our collective living rooms. We always leave it better and cleaner than we find it when we arrive for 8 days in July each year. We respect the lake but we use the lake for recreation and fun and boating and skiing. The new designation will prohibit that.

It is my belief that the new designation has no viable, warranted, logical basis and should be voted down. I do not just believe this for my own personal reasons and wish to just hold onto my own personal goal to continue to recreate at Half Moon. I think this is bad for Pinedale and sets a bad precedent for other expansions of wilderness in the USA. After all, shouldn’t the locals get a voice in this and shouldn’t the locals (those from Wyoming or Pinedale or Sublette County) be the ones to be the genesis for this? The supporters are not from here. Please support efforts to stop this expansion and leave the wilderness that is already in place and successful, as is." - Rick Strittmater, P.E., Westminister, Colorado
Tuesday, April 28, 2009: "While The Wilderness Society supports wilderness and the protection of large, wild landscapes and key wildlife habitat, we believe that conservation efforts should be built upon locally-developed collaborative efforts. We work on the ground in rural communities around the country, and understand the importance of developing local support for land-use decisions from the people who will be most affected by those decisions. These place-based, collaborative efforts lead to long-term success and support and often employ a variety of conservation measures, of which wilderness is just one of several tools for protection.

NREPA has been introduced and re-introduced into Congress for the past 20 years and has never passed out of Congressional Committee, let alone ever been passed by the Senate or the House. The Wilderness Society is not lobbying on behalf of this legislation, and instead, we choose to work on efforts that are locally based such as the successful and highly popular Wyoming Range legislation."

Stephanie Kessler
The Wilderness Society
Wyoming Office
304 Main St., Suite 1
Lander, WY 82520
307-332-3462 office
307-438-0187 cell

Click here for a printable version of The Wilderness Society Wyoming Office satement
Monday, April 27, 2009, EDITOR COMMENT: Pinedale Mayor Steve Smith will also be traveling to Washington D.C. next week on business and will be spending some time giving attention to the wilderness expansion hearing for H.R. 980, Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. He invites anyone who wishes to have their written or verbal comments passed along by him to get comments to him by Friday, May 1st at the latest. Sublette County Commissioner Joel Bousman will also be going and actually testifying, and is also soliciting public comments (see related info below on contacts for Commissioner Bousman). If anyone wishes to give comments to Mayor Steve Smith, they may be e-mailed to, or faxed to the Pinedale Town Hall at 307-367-2578, or taken to Town Hall at 210 W Pine Street.
Monday, April 27, 2009: "It is terrible that someone from New York can have the audacity to introduce a bill that would cause our community to suffer, losing jobs and really interfering with the tourism industry, which many rely on. Rep. Mahoney would be much better off trying to fix the problem of her great state. I hope everyone will write, FAX, e-mail, call and ever use snail-mail to let the governing bodies know how we feel." - Flo Retel, Sublette County
Monday, April 27, 2009: "I am writing this letter today to express my opposition to the proposed legislation H.R. 980 (Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act.) As a resident of Sublette County Wyoming, this proposed bill would have a devastating economic impact on the area. I am a business owner in Pinedale and rely on the dollars generated by tourism in both the summer and winter months. The expansion of wilderness as proposed by Rep. Carol Maloney (D-NY) would effectively eliminate all recreational activities enjoyed by thousands of Sublette County residents, as well as hundreds of thousands of people across the nation who have been enjoying these National Forest lands for decades. A large portion of the folks visiting this area are elderly travelers in RV’s who will not be able to enjoy the lakes, streams, rivers, and other recreational activities they have come to love. Because of this they will just stop coming! Local residents have been hunting, fishing, boating, and hiking these forest lands for generations and all that would be taken away.

Many of the areas proposed in the Wilderness expansion are already populated. There are personal residences, ski resorts, marinas, boat docks and ramps, restaurants, camp grounds, improved dirt roads, and paved roads, just to name a few. The tax payer cost to return these areas to "wilderness pristine" would be in the millions if not billions of dollars! This does not take into account the loss of property values to those who own these establishments. What happens to the homeowners and business owners in these areas? The loss of revenue to businesses in the incorporated town areas would also create job loss and unemployment. These are already difficult economic times nationally and this would intensify the problem by hurting a lot of hard working Americans by taking away their jobs and recreational activities. The assertion by supporters that this proposal would create 2,000 jobs is a typical democratic smoke screen answer to everything. The jobs lost would far outweigh that ridiculous assertion and doesn’t account for the billions spent restoring these areas, trying to eliminate the human footprint in these already established areas. We already have millions of acres of wilderness areas, which should be protected for the future, but trying to expand that into populated areas pushing people out of their homes and businesses is just ludicrous and appalling to say the least.

Another impact this bill causes is the ability to fight forest fires. We do suffer from forest fires here which are usually caused by lightning strikes. The closure of these logging roads, ORV (Off-road Vehicle) trails, paved roads, and improved dirt roads, would significantly hinder the firefighting crews in extinguishing these fires. Hundreds of thousands of acres of forest would be lost because there is no access into these areas. I thought this bill proposal was supposed to protect wilderness areas??? Not let it all burn to the ground because fire crews have lost their access to these back country locations.

Our elected Wyoming officials, as well as the other states involved, must stop this insanity now!!! Since when do we allow democrats from New York to dictate how we live our lives, what recreational activities we can partake in, and threaten our livelihoods and families future? These legislators and conservation groups are not affected by these radical changes and most have not even been here. We must protect our right to enjoy the outdoors here in Sublette County as many of us live here for that very reason. Better yet, let Wyoming propose a bill to expand Central Park into lower and mid-town Manhattan to protect the squirrels? I don’t care! I’ve never been there and have no desire to go!

Thank you in advance for your swift and decisive response to this proposed bill. You must protect our rights and way of life in Wyoming!" - Mike Gilmore (Business Owner), Pinedale, Wyoming
Sunday, April 26, 2009: Citizen Meeting April 30th in Pinedale about NREPA Concerned citizens are invited to attend a citizen’s meeting at the Pinedale Auditorium on Thursday, April 30th, at 7:00 PM (note time correction). The purpose of the meeting is to form a coalition opposed to H.R. 980, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA). Please bring your comments to the meeting so that they can be compiled for delivery to Washington D.C. At the top of the letter please state "Against H.R. 980-Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act" Also put down your name, phone number, address, and a couple of paragraphs about why you are against the bill. For more information contact Jason Ray at 307-360-6927.
Saturday, April 25, 2009: "H.R. 980 is ludicrous, and would be a complete devastation to the people of sublette county, I don't support this a bit! We the people that reside here should be the ones making our decisions on OUR land not some politician from across the country. Maybe we should start a bill that states no one in New York can any longer walk to work! this is B.S. and yes I am pissed off! What happened to we the people? This is down right ridiculous. Tell everyone you know to write to they're congressman against this and I don't care if they live in Hawaii. We need to be heard." - Tony Kervitsky
Saturday, April 25, 2009: NREPA would lock up land, eliminate multiple use, sustainable communities Joint media release from Sublette, Lincoln & Uinta Counties in Wyoming: "County government representatives from Sublette, Lincoln and Uinta counties are adamantly opposed to congressional action that would result in passage of the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. County representatives meeting this week noted that with the majority of lands in western Wyoming already falling under federal agency control, what happens on those lands has major impact to local economies. Existing land management, which emphasizes multiple use and focuses on the national forest system as the land of many uses, provides for healthy local economies and tax bases, including recreation, tourism, resource extraction, and the preservation of local custom and culture. Unfortunately, H.R. 980, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, would put the squeeze on local communities, shutting out many of these existing uses in favor of a "preservation" system. The end result would be harm to local rural communities like the ones that make up each of western Wyoming’s counties. Click on this link for the rest of the comments from the joint media release from Sublette, Lincoln and Uinta Counties in Wyoming
Saturday, April 25, 2009: "I am writing to you because I am so afraid for Sublette County in Particular. I do not like the Bill HR 980 introduced into Congress by New York Congress Woman, Carol Maloney, to make the Better Part of Sublette County Land Wilderness. I know this would be devastating to so many Towns and Communities, families and Businesses, as to be Horrendous. The Forest Services "Let it Burn" Policy alone makes this Bill ludicrous. Let me tell you What making a Forest into Wilderness will do just for starters.

It WILL shut out any Human that can Not Walk far to see, and enjoy the Beauty within the Forest, Lakes, Rivers, that have not been Damaged by this activity thus far.

It WILL cause the Grazing Fees to Skyrocket for the Stockman to Graze their animals on forest land. Sit Back and Watch the Price of Your Meat soar, when we were asked by the President to Help with the tough times with the Economy, which of course, will cause a snowball effect.

It Will Cause an increase in dollars to the Budget of the U.S.Forest Service to maintain More Wilderness, … (Editor’s Note: Portions of this paragraph have been edited out by Pinedale Online as per our Letter to the Editor policy.) It WILL be a Forest Fire Disaster. …their policy of " let it Burn " would engulf so many Communities and Towns. The Horrible Health affects will be beyond a livable tolerance for all Creatures, 2 Legged and four Legged, not to mention the loss of Trees, and land caused by the after effects of the Fires. The Fires WILL COME.

It Will Create a loss of ALL Recreational Businesses in all these areas, again causing a domino effect financially, loss of jobs, loss of more money in the community. Snowball again People, in all the Towns and Communitys.

It WILL cause many Homes and Businesses that are now in existance to be totally Removed that are in place now, Many are there by Homestead acts and Laws from 100 years ago.

It WILL have no benifet to any one at any time PERIOD.

For me, on a personal, it WILL take me Away from my Church. This is where I give my Thanks and my Soul to the Creator.

Making A piece of Land into Wilderness Does NOT preserve it for Future Generations to come, as some would like you to believe.. IT LOCKS IT UP SO THE AVERAGE PEOPLE HAVE ABSOLUTLY NO WAY TO BE A PART OF IT OR ENJOY IT AT ALL, especially those who are Disabled or Handicapped.

MY Grandchildren are 6th Generation Wyoming People. County of Sublette. I am so afraid of the consequences for their future, I am physically sick over it, and not to happy for my outcome as well.

I am hoping you can become involved by contacting all your News-media people to just make them aware of this bill, to get the word out if you will.

I talked to Carol Maloney's office, ( 1202-225-7944 ) and During the conservation, I did ask if Congress Woman Maloney had ever been to the Western States, let alone Wyoming, County of Sublette, and the answer was no but she THOUGHT she had been to somewhere in the Rockies.

I do not have the Resources, nor Money to really give this a justifiable Fight.. and I do not know what else to do.. I am hoping you can help.. I just wish that People that have the POWER to change our Homes, our Values, Physically, Financially, Mentally , Spiritually and any other way possible, could walk that mile in our Moccasins before condemning our Beautiful State. This will surly affect the Whole of Wyoming for certain.

Heaven forebid, this were to Happen, make the State of each person in Congress that voted for it, relinquish square foot per Square foot of their Recreational and Homesteaded land to be Wilderness as well." - Nancy Penton Smith, Boulder Wyoming
Friday, April 24, 2009: "I did a little research and found Congress Women Carolyn Maloney's office phone number in NY. I called and voiced my opinion. If you want to help in any way you can write, call or fax your opinion!!!! If we bug her enough maybe this will not pass! Only time will tell.....please forward this to anyone you know who loves and knows Wyoming as much as I do." – Wyoming Lover, Here is her info:

Washington Office
Congresswoman Maloney
2332 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-3214
202.225.7944 phone
202.225.4709 fax

Manhattan Office
Congresswoman Maloney
1651 3rd Avenue Suite 311
New York, NY 10128-3679
212-860-0606 phone
212-860-0704 fax

Queens Office
Congresswoman Maloney
28-11 Astoria Blvd.
Astoria, NY 11102-1933
718-932-1804 phone
718-932-1805 fax
Friday, April 24, 2009: "Trout Unlimited works on the ground, with people in local communities such as Pinedale, to help the federal government make good decisions about our public lands. The protection of the Wyoming Range by Sen. John Barrasso at the behest of sportsmen and women, and Wyoming people is a classic example of that. Broad-brushstrokes from afar, such as this proposed act, do not make for good legislation."

Tom Reed
Wyoming/Montana Field Director
Trout Unlimited
321 E. Main St., Suite 411
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: 406-599-1022 – Montana, 406-522-7291x104
307-349-8266 – Wyoming
Friday, April 24, 2009: "We have a potentially serious situation developing with HR980, which would seriously limit the many uses of public lands here in Sublette County. This includes Fremont Lake, Lakeside Lodge, White Pine Ski Area, Half Moon Lake, Boulder Lake, basically all recreational areas on the forest, that are used by boaters, skiers, hunters, snowmobilers, ATVers, and so forth. Sublette County is leading the effort to work with Wyoming’s Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis in her efforts to oppose this legislation, and I will be travelling to Washington DC in early May to give testimony against this bill. Sublette County Clerk Mary Lankford is accepting written communications from organizations, county departments, businesses and all interest groups that will provide detailed analysis of the economic impact of this bill. All the information will be complied during the last week of April and used in preparation for my testimony to the Congressional committee." – Sublette County Commissioner Joel Bousman. Click on this link to hear an audio file of Commissioner Bousman’s comments,1.43 MB .mp3 file, courtesy KPIN Radio, 101.1 FM)
Friday, 4/24/09: Audubon Wyoming: "Audubon doesn’t support NREPA, but neither do we actively oppose it. Given that we haven’t had time to analyze the legislation and haven’t worked on the issue for many years as an organization, our stance, to date should be neutral. Please remove Audubon from the bill’s list of supporting groups."

Mac Blewer
Grassroots Organizer
Audubon Wyoming
(307) 745-4848

Click here for a printable version of this statement
Friday, 4/24/09: Wyoming Wildlife Federation: "Wyoming Wildlife Federation was incorrectly listed as a supporter of the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. The staff and board of directors of Wyoming Wildlife Federation in no way endorse this proposed legislation. We ask that Pinedale Online post a correction immediately."

Joy Bannon, Field Director
Wyoming Wildlife Federation

Click here for a printable version of this statement
Thursday, 4/23/09: "This legislation will have a tremendous effect on Sublette County. It's amazing what Congress people from all over would like to do to Wyoming and I imagine could really care less how it may affect the local cultures and economies. It looks to me that if this concept passes, it won't be worth owning a snowmobile, atv or hunting in this country will be a huge inconvenience. Notice especially the areas around the lakes on the Windriver side, are Fremont, Newfork, Willow, Soda, Green River, Burnt, Boulder and who knows what other lakes going to be off limits to motorized boat traffic? The situation on the Wyo Range side is unbelievable, what happens to the elk feedgrounds? The Game and Fish should be looking at this very hard, because it will be a 2 hr horse pack to get any animal out. I think they will lose a great deal of hunters just from that aspect. I hope everyone in Sublette County gets their opinion to Congress and soon!" – Sublette County resident
Wednesday, 4/22/09: "WOW!! Did Anyone Else See This???? I AM HERE TO TELL YOU IF THIS HAPPENS, IT WILL DEVASTATE SUBLETTE COUNTY WYOMING. I AM STANDING UP TO SAY I do not want this to happen. It scares me to death to think people can believe this would be better for our country in general. You can see it is being planned by Government officials from everywhere but the WEST... If we do not take a stand here, we will not have a stand to take ever again on anything. This would very effectively shut down ALL our recreation in Sublette County." - Former Sublette County resident
Wednesday, April 22, 2009: "This would very effectively shut down ALL our recreation in Sublette County. " – Sublette County resident

Related Links
  • Full text of NREPA 980 - Links to sections
  • Printable PDF of entire bill - 149 pages
  • Alliance for the Wild Rockies (AWR) - Formed to meet the challenge of saving the Northern Rockies Bioregion from habitat destruction.
  • Map showing proposed wilderness on the Bridger-Teton National Forest -
  • Map showing entire 5 state proposal -
  • Representative Carol D. Maloney (D-NY) NREPA explanation
  • Alliance for the Wild Rockies (AWR) Press Release - February 13, 2009
  • Letter of Support to the Committee on Natural Resources - April 19, 2009
  • U.S. House of Representatives Announces Hearing on the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, H.R. 980 - Alliance for the Wild Rockies press release, April 21, 2009
  • Pinedale Online > News > April 2009 > Wilderness designation proposed for Fremont, New Fork Lakes, Wyoming Range

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