Current Edition

current edition

Federal Lands

Riverton – Wyomingites are well aware that one of the biggest topics addressed during the recent race for Wyoming’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives is the topic of federal lands and their ownership and management.

The Select Committee on Federal Natural Resources Management has been exploring that issue through a study that was mandated several years ago by Senate File 56 in 2014.

Committee Chairman Sen. Eli Bebout said that the committee was charged to develop and introduce legislative polices related to those actions, which led to a study on federal land management.

Senate File 56 asked the Committee to commission a study and provide a report addressing management of public lands.

“What it does not say is that we’re going to privatize the public lands or limit access to that. There’s been a lot of discussion on this, and I wanted to make it very clear that the law was not intended – and was never intended – to sell or privatize lands,” Bebout emphasized. “It authorizes, ‘the development of a proposed plan for administration of management of those lands under the principles of multiple use and sustained yields.’”

The uses are legislatively mandated to include maintenance of public access for hunting, fishing and recreation, subject to closure of lands for public safety or environmental sensitivity.

Study

The next steps of the study fell to the Office of State Lands and Investments (OSLI), who put out a Request for Proposal and commissioned the study, awarding the project to Y2 Consultants of Jackson.

OSLI Director Bridget Hill said, “I viewed my role as making sure our consultants followed the parameters set by the Legislature. I didn’t alter the substance of the study, and I went in with an unbiased view of what they were going to turn up.”

Brenda Younkin and Abigail Moore spent nearly a year compiling findings, accumulating data ranging from budgets to management actions, which was summarized in a final report.

“When we started this process, we wanted to tie it very closely to the requirements of the Legislature,” Younkin said. “We started with who, what, where, why, when and how, but we really want to focus on why and how right now.”

Why manage

As a starting point, Y2 Consultants looked at why the state would be interested in management of federal lands.

Younkin said, “We really wanted to get our minds around why, under sustained and multiple use context, we would want to really impact the management of federal lands.”

“There were only two reasons – one is financial,” she continued. “The other is to influence the land management.”

She elaborated, noting that, as one of the largest oil and gas producers in the state, and significant amount of money is at stake.

“Influencing the management is also very important,” Younkin said. “In a state that is 48 percent federal land, that matters. It makes a difference for recreation, our way of life and our businesses.”

Current management

Y2 Consultants looked at current management within their study.

“OSLI is looking at cash for kids,” she simplified. “Forest Service (FS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) really have to manage the laws for their framework, and they’re trying to manage a political consideration. How much access is appropriate? Where are these uses appropriate? OSLI doesn’t have that burden.”

Younkin also noted that an additional point of interest is that federal land management does not correlate revenue and expenses.

“Just because they created $2 million from the land does not mean that $2 million is spent on the same landscape,” she explained. “OSLI has a fiduciary obligation to generate revenue for its beneficiaries.”

In looking at budgets, Y2 Consultants found it very difficult to quantify exactly what is spend on management of federal lands.

“Federal agencies and federal lands are managed across boundaries that don’t align with our state boundaries,” Younkin said, explaining, for example, that Wyoming lies within two regions of the Forest Service, and of the five forests in Wyoming, three cross state lines.

Recommendations

“When we look at management of federal lands, we have options to start the process,” Younkin said. “When we look at the question of can the transfer of management – as a whole scale transfer of all federal lands – be completed, ultimately, our findings were that it is unlikely.”

Among reasons for the unlikelihood of such an action, Younkin cited scale and cost.

“That is such a large scale to consider all at one time,” she said.

Other options

There are pilot programs that would be an example of a possible way to cooperatively manage lands.

“We found an example,” Younkin said. “There is no litigation and no press because everyone is getting along. That example is a community near Webberville, Calif.”

The partnership between BLM, FS and the community developed a cooperative agreement to manage private lands.

“By all accounts, it is working well,” Younkin explained. “The community is able to get economic benefits, and BLM and FS are able to make their requirements.”

“These mechanisms exist,” Younkin said. “They are not well utilized, and they are not well known.”

However, she also emphasizes that with changing landscapes for regulation, one important piece in developing partnerships is having clearly written agreements that allow cooperation for management of federal lands.

She also added that natural resource management or land use plans for counties are also important.

“As long as the plan does not violate federal law, those plans are required to be considered,” Younkin explained.

Committee member Tim Stubson said, “We’ve talked a lot about pilot programs, and it may be a good option for the state.”

Working together

Sen. Larry Hicks explained that management partnerships do exist within the state, particularly in looking at land management and environmental analyses, among other things, adding, “Counties and conservation districts are working cooperatively.”

“My experience is, we have to have a partnership,” Hicks continued. “All the tools they provide to us don’t mean anything if we don’t have a federal partner on the other side of the desk who is willing to implement and allow those partnerships to work.”

The presence of such a partner varies from office to office, based on the attitudes of local personnel.

“In many cases, we’ve tried, and we’re willing to partner, but sometimes we don’t have someone to work with on the other side,” Hicks commented.

Bebout asked for other ideas from Y2 Consultants, saying, “We appreciate this recommendation, but we’ve tried. How do we get to multiple use and sustained yield? Do you see any other path which we might take?”

Younkin noted that other states have looked at transfer of title, which is another opportunity, noting that it is challenging.

“The state of Wyoming and people in this room will be successful in influencing management because of those partnerships we currently have that can influence this process now,” Younkin commented. “Perseverance is going to be necessary today.”

After much discussion, the Committee voted to advance a proposed constitutional amendment that would specify how federal land would be managed if it were transferred to Wyoming. Read more about the amendment next week.

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Riverton – During the July 18 meeting of the Wyoming Legislature’s Select Federal Natural Resource Management Committee, Senators Eli Bebout, Jim Anderson and Gerald Geis and Representatives Tim Stubson, Stan Blake and Norine Kasperik listened to a full agenda dealing with the federal issues that Wyoming faces.
    “The agenda and purpose of this committee is to look at the overreach of the federal government through rulemaking,” explains Committee Chairman Eli Bebout. “What they are up to is certainly not good news for the West.”
    Bebout notes that the committee took testimony from a wide array of groups to understand the challenges facing landowners.
    “There wasn’t a lot of action they are able to take,” comments Wyoming Stock Growers Association Executive Vice President Jim Magagna, noting that the committee members, however, sought to stay up to date on issues landowners deal with.
EPA overreach
    “A big concern we’ve had is with the Clean Air Act and issues with EPA,” Bebout continues. “Some of the most egregious overreach is in EPA’s changing of the Wind River Reservation boundaries where they have no authority to do so.”
    He notes that EPA further exacerbates the change of boundary by implementing a 50-mile buffer zone, creating more bureaucratic red tape to deal with concerning the Clean Air Act.
    “We also deal with the regional haze issue,” Bebout says. “Unless there is a forest fire or dust blowing, I look out at blue sky. It is going to cost us millions to deal with this issue, but we’ve made some progress.”
    In a similar action, Bebout says the EPA’s regulation of coal-fired power plants is also disruptive to Wyoming.
Water concerns
    “Our primary purpose at the meeting was to discuss the ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule,” says Magagna. “I gave them several suggestions, including sending in comments by Oct. 20.”
    He notes that the Waters of the U.S. rule is concerning to landowners across the state, and legislators expressed interest in sending comments.
    “They also discussed sending letters of support for several pieces of legislation pending on Congress that would keep the EPA from moving forward with the rule,” Magagna adds. “The committee directed the Legislative Service Office to work on comments and letters of support.”
    “The State Engineer’s Office also did a great job pointing out all the inconsistencies and problems with the rule,” he says.
    Though the comment deadline has passed on EPA’s interpretive rule defining the 56 ag practices that are exempt from the Clean Water Act, Magagna, Wyoming Association of Conservation District Executive Director Bobbie Frank and Nephi Cole, a policy advisor for Governor Mead, all discussed the rule.
Basin Assessment
    As a continuing concern on the committee’s radar, the Wyoming Basins Rapid Eco-regional Assessment was explained and discussed further.
    “Bob Means of BLM discussed the assessment,” says Magagna, noting that there is concern across the state from a variety of entities on the documents.
    The Wyoming Basins Rapid Eco-regional Assessment seeks to provide a summary of various uses across the Wyoming Basin. The goal of the document is to improve land resource management planning, allowing more input from communities.
    “There was a lot of discussion about how the documents tie into resource management plans,” Magagna explains. “Representative Blake made the point for the second time that while the document is supposed to be good, overall look at land uses, they ignore grazing and wild horses.”
Resource management plans
    In a closely related topic, the committee discussed recent success with the Lander Resource Management Plan .
    “Several county commissioners, as well as the Wyoming County Commissioner’s Association’s Pete Obermueller and Gregory Cowan, did a presentation about the work county commissioners are undertaking to develop socio-economic data on a county-by-county basis,” Magagna explains.
    The long-term broad scale program aims to provide easier access to data for land management planning processes occurring across the state.
Federal involvement
    Jerimiah Reiman from Governor Mead’s Office updated committee members on the 27 court cases the state is involved in, providing a list and in-depth discussion on the biggest topics.
    Reiman was followed by updates from the Forest Service, which included a review of planning efforts and endangered species.
    “Joe Alexander of the Shoshone National Forest Service gave updates from the Forest Service, not only in the Shoshone but in the Bridger Teton, as well,” Magagna explains. “Joe also gave the legislators a good update on a new biological opinion on grizzly bears in the Upper Green River Basin that is anticipated to be finalized soon.”
    The new biological opinion promises more flexibility in grizzly bear management, allowing increased take on a rolling basis.
    “Other things in terms of conservation measures that were unacceptable to sheep and cattle producers were largely removed,” Magagna adds of the opinion. “Hopefully it will give us some time to get the bear delisted.”
    Magagna also discussed issues on the Bighorn sheep and domestic sheep conflicts on Forest Service lands throughout the state at the meeting.
Future action
    As the committee continues to address federal lands issues, Magagna notes they have planned a late October meeting in Casper to discuss issues similar to those on the July 18 agenda.
    “The legislature also charged the committee with dealing with the issue of taking back federal lands,” he continues. “They are planning to have a separate meeting which will be focused entirely on the issue of control of federal lands.”
    Bebout adds, “We all need to step up and talk to our congressional delegation.”
    From the legislative standpoint, Bebout mentions he is involved in the formation of coalitions and groups to fight against federal government action.
    “Everyone needs to be working with Farm Bureau or the Stock Grower’s and others to help out,” he continues. “This has to be an uprising of the entire country to get things turned around. We are facing serious issues, and tough issues, and we are doing what we can to protect our state.”
    Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..





Lander – With the recent activity in land use plan revisions and amendments throughout Wyoming, the importance of Wyoming people becoming involved in the process is paramount.
    Wyoming attorney Karen Budd-Falen explains that federal statutes provide for locally elected bodies to participate in many planning processes, largely those defining long term land use on BLM or Forest Service lands.
    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) calls for either an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or an Environmental Assessment (EA) for all projects affecting the quality of the human environment, and the federal government is required to consider alternatives and the impacts of custom and culture, or the environment, economy of the local community and the citizens in that community.
    In these assessments, NEPA provides for the increased involvement of local governments above and beyond the involvement of average citizens to offer that information to the document.
Cooperating agency status
    In land use planning processes, local governments have the ability to insert data into a plan, as well as write alternatives, in the position as a cooperating or coordinating agency.
    “A cooperating agency is an eligible government entity that has entered into a written agreement with the BLM establishing cooperating agency status in the planning process,” says Sublette County Commissioner Joel Bousman. “Cooperating agency status is established through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).”
    Bousman explains that the MOU establishes the authority and responsibilities of the BLM, as well as those of the cooperating agency, and the obligations of each group.
    “Locally elected bodies can take part as a cooperating agency,” adds Budd-Falen. “They get to participate in holding joint hearings, participating in the studies, defining alternatives and requiring alternatives that truly protect the local citizens and consider the local economy.”
    “We are invited to help the BLM formulate the alternatives and suggest land use allocations,” explains Bousman. “We can tell BLM within our resource area to make sure to allocate land for livestock grazing, recreation, or whatever our constituents deem important.”
    Budd-Falen adds that the capacity of local government participation extends beyond only providing environment for custom, culture and the economy but can extend into the realm of protection for the environment, looking at the impacts of soil, water and air quality, as well as things like the health of the forests.
    Her emphasis rests on the idea that is the responsibility of the local government to actively participate and become involved in these processes.
Citizens vs. cooperators
    The federal government is also bound by federal law to respond to the alternatives provided by local governments, whereas they are not obligated to provide any written response or comment from the input of general citizens.
    “As a general citizen, I am allowed to answer the scoping, to make suggestions on the issues in the EIS, and to comment on the EIS or EAs – that’s it,” says Budd-Falen. “The government doesn’t have to respond, and they are supposed to consider my comments, but they don’t have to write responses to my comments.”
    “As a cooperating agency, they don’t necessarily have to take your suggestions, but if they aren’t going to adopt the alternative, they have to tell you why,” says Budd-Falen. “They have to have legitimate reasons why.”
    Bousman adds that the cooperating agencies also help to determine the effects of the alternative they have developed and analysis for the direct and indirect consequences of the alternatives.
    The suggested role of cooperators is to provide advice on the proposed planning criteria, including local government comprehensive plan elements and the state and local policies that may apply, said Bousman.
Beyond providing
 information
    Along with providing information to be included in the studies and the documents, Budd-Falen adds that by participating in federal government processes, local governments are given standing to issue complaints or objections in the future.
    “Both the ninth and tenth circuit court of appeals have said that unless you actively participate and your information is provided to the federal agencies, you don’t have standing to complain when the decision is issued, and you don’t have standing to appeal or litigate,” says Budd-Falen. “You have to put your information it – its up to you.”
    She explained that the Federal Land Policy and Management Act uses the word “coordination” to describe the interaction, but encouraged people to not get hung up on the word that is used.
    When speaking on the difference between cooperation and coordination, Budd-Falen comments, “It doesn’t matter what you call it, it matters what you do.”
Get involved in planning
    “We really need to actively participate with federal agency actions to get them to understand who we are,” says Budd-Falen.
    Bousman also mentions that the county commissioners have limited authority, only granted under state statute to participate, saying, “Unless the BLM is doing something that violates state statutes, we don’t have much authority.”
     In order to have input in the federal land use planning processes, participation of local governments as a cooperating agency is important.
    Budd-Falen notes, “It’s not up to the federal government to wait around for you to participate, it’s is up to the local government to enforce their right of participation.”
    Budd-Falen and Bousman addressed a group at the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts and Society for Range Management Joint Convention in November. Saige Albert is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Casper – With the signing of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service land use plans in late September, the agencies are now focused on implementation, and Wyoming legislators looked at successes behind implementation of similar plans currently in place, including the Lander Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Casper RMP.

During a Sept. 29 meeting of the Wyoming Legislature's Select Federal Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Tim Stubson, Casper legislator and chairman of the committee, said, “We have heard a lot of discussion. We have a good model, with implementation out of the Casper office. We want insight from people who have gone through implementation.”

BLM perspectives

When the Greater sage grouse was determined not warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act, revisions for the Buffalo and Big Horn Basin field offices, as well as amendments for the Casper, Green River, Kemmerer, Newcastle, Pinedale and Rawlins RMPs, were also released.

“It is important to note that Lander completed their RMP back in June 2014, and the Record of Decision (ROD) provides a similar balance for Greater sage grouse conservation. Since that time, our staff has been coordinating with cooperating agencies to initiate implementation,” said Buddy Green, BLM state director for resources. “We look forward to working with our state and local partners as we enter into the implementation realms.”

Green further asserted that implementation of conservation plans is not new for Wyoming’s state and federal agencies and private citizens.

“We have analyzed the resources in the department,” he said. “We strove to address the demand in energy development and in habitat. To that end, BLM Wyoming-approved plans are consistent with the core area strategy and Executive Order.”

The measures implemented in core areas are largely familiar, Green continued, including a limit of five percent disturbance in core area habitat, with one disturbance per square mile, no surface occupancy within 0.6 miles of an occupied lek and no road within 1.9 miles of an occupied lek, among others.

Inside implementation

With a focus on working with cooperating agencies, Stubson asked Green to clarify what working together looks like on a practical level.

“We plan to continue with our establishing working relationships with all of our stakeholders, counties and states, as we have for some time,” Green noted.

However, he also continued that, as a plan with a national implementation scope, there is a focus on consistency while also recognizing existing relationships.

“Here in Wyoming, we are fortunate that we have that structure in place,” he commented, mentioning the Governor’s Sage Grouse Implementation Team and the Greater Sage Grouse Implementation Working Group. “These groups are Wyoming-specific, and frankly, a lot of other states are working toward that format for their states.”

With representation from state agencies, statewide conservation and agriculture organizations and local working groups, Green noted that public comment and input has been positive.

A county perspective

In Fremont County, where the Lander RMP has been approved and implementation has been in place for several years, County Commissioner Doug Thompson noted that continued involvement is important.

“We have dealt with the Lander RMP for what seems like eons,” Thompson said. “It has been signed, and as a local government representative, we have continued to engage.”

A provision in the RMP provides for implementation with continued involvement from cooperating agencies, and Thompson noted he has followed up on those obligations. However, continued engagement of stakeholders can be challenging to achieve.

“We have created coalitions of conservation groups and producers to clarify various gray areas in the plan,” he continued. “We are trying, on a local level, to engage, clarify what the plans mean and work cooperatively to make sure we are all playing by the same set of rules.”

With over 1.5 years of implementation thus far, Thompson also noted that they are focusing on other species, including mule deer, antelope and others.

“One of the messages I try to preach is flexibility in implementation,” Thompson noted.

He further mentioned that implementation includes focusing on historic trails, wildlife needs, livestock use and other resource concerns.

“Flexibility will be a big part in implementation of the strategy,” he said.

Other opinions

Natrona County Commissioner Forrest Chadwick mentioned that he spent time visiting with ranchers, oil and gas producers and BLM personnel on the implementation of the Casper RMP, which was signed in 2007, and the general consensus he was able to glean from their remarks is that successes are being seen.

“At the BLM level, I hear that there are very few problems and conflicts,” Chadwick explained. “Conflicts are almost non-existent.”

He also noted that working relationships differ based on the personalities and field offices involved, but the vast majority of interactions between BLM and ranchers have been positive.

“Oil and gas people are still concerned about the 12-plus months is takes to get an Application for Permit to Drill (APD), but they also understand the sage grouse issue and the importance of it,” Chadwick added. “They are willing to work with it.”

Moving forward

In continuing to implement the latest RODs, Green also noted that staffing changes at BLM have resulted in other challenges.

“Since the beginning of fiscal year 2015, which was Oct. 1, 2014, we have had 39 employees around the state retire,” he commented. “Specifically, we have two-thirds of the district manager positions vacant, filled by acting district managers right now.”

“We are working diligently to fill those gaps,” Green added. “I’m comfortable with the remaining employees, and there will be a large remnant of folks in the office to create continuity there. I think we will have consistency, but it will take some work.”

As implementation moves forward, all parties agreed that continuing to work together will be paramount.

Thompson concluded, “I think we have good communication between state and local government.”

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Casper — Wilderness. For many Americans the word alone conjures up Disney-like images of pristine landscapes. People who live and work on the land, however, tend to see wilderness areas in a different light.
    On Sept. 4 President Obama signed a proclamation designating September as “National Wilderness Month.” The designation is, in part, a celebration of the Wilderness Act’s 45th anniversary. According to a USDA press release the proclamation calls on…“all Americans to visit and enjoy our wilderness areas, learn more about our wilderness heritage, and explore what can be done to protect and preserve these precious national treasures.”
    “As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, we recognize that a healthy and prosperous America relies on the health of our wilderness areas,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “Our National Forest Wilderness Areas are a national inheritance that not only help generate rural wealth through recreation and tourism, but also supply communities with clean water, shelter wildlife, and help us mitigate and adapt to climate change.”
    “2009 was a banner year for Wilderness, with over two million acres added to the National Wilderness Preservation System through the Omnibus Lands Act of 2009, bringing the total system acreage to over 109 million,” says the USDA statement. If  New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is successful in seeing her Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act passed, an additional 24 million acres could be designated across the western region. A committee hearing on the bill was held in May of this year.
    The U.S. Forest Service, one of the four federal agencies administering the National Wilderness Preservation System, according to the Wyoming Wilderness Association, manages three million acres of national forest wilderness in Wyoming. The group contends another three million acres is worthy of designation. On BLM holdings, the group finds two million acres they believe are worthy of the categorization as wilderness.
    BLM managers in the state, according to Wyoming State Grazing Board Grazing Consultant Dick Loper, were instructed in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) to inventory eligible lands and submit their findings to Congress. The resulting report, filed in the early 1980s, designated nearly 39 Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) covering 567,076 acres. To date, congress has not revisited the report so there aren’t any designated wilderness areas on BLM holdings within Wyoming. Management surrounding the WSA designation, says Loper, is more restrictive than that applied to designated areas.
    “There are ranchers I’ve talked to,” says Loper, “who are discouraged they can’t get range improvements approved despite the fact they’re economically feasible and would improve the country for both wildlife and livestock. It’s just because they’re in a study area.”
    Loper says his group would like to see the WSA issue on BLM lands resolved because some of the areas being managed as a WSA don’t meet the designating criteria, such as a block of 5,000 roadless acres. “The frustration over the lack of congressional attention encourages people to seek other labels like Area of Critical Environmental Concern, Natural Area or the others.”
    Wyoming Stock Growers Executive Vice President Jim Magagna says the late Senator Thomas was approached about legislation to either see the WSA designations declared as wilderness or returned to traditional management. Thomas’ reluctance to pursue such a bill stemmed from the fear that legislation would provide an opportunity for widespread additional wilderness designations. Since that time, Magagna says a timeline approach has been discussed. Under the proposal, WSAs not decided upon within a certain timeframe would be released from the designation.
     When Gale Norton was Secretary of Interior under the Bush administration, Magagna says she issued an order affirming that the BLM couldn’t expand its WSA designations. The order came in response to a debate as to whether or not the agency had such ongoing authority under the FLPMA. To date, Magagna says he’s not aware of any challenges to Norton’s instructions.
    Magagna grazed sheep in the Forest Service’s Washakie Wilderness Area for over 30 years. “I’ve always maintained that a designation can work against the very values you’re seeking to protect,” says Magagna of what he describes as the “neon lights” surrounding a designation. “Once that area became designated wilderness it brought national attention and we started getting a lot of traffic. This negatively impacted the pristine nature of the area.”
    Magagna says, “Even though the Wilderness Act protects livestock grazing, decision makers at the Forest Service were more inclined to decide conflicts in favor of perceived wilderness values that included recreation.” He says the designation came with restrictions on where sheep could be bedded and popular recreation areas that were off-limits to grazing. “It became more and more difficult until I decided, this isn’t the place to be anymore.”
    Sublette County Commissioner and rancher Joel Bousman says the land designations can pose challenges for not only those who support multiple-use, but in land management cases involving the county. Bousman was among those who testified against Maloney’s wilderness legislation during the May 2009 committee hearing.
    LaBarge Creek Road in Sublette County and neighboring Lincoln County runs along the edge of WSA on BLM land, according to Bousman. While the county commissioners contend the designation ends at the 100-foot easement on the road, the forest service claims it runs to the road’s edge and therefore prohibits running a blade down the barrow ditch to return the gravel to the roadbed. The road serves area residents and is a primary access route to the national forest lands beyond the designated area.
    Bousman says wilderness designations, and all of the associated special designations limit the tools available for management. Chainsaws, for example, can’t be used to maintain trails or for other purposes in the areas. Bousman says under present-day management it’s tough to draw a comparison between the health of forestlands within designated areas and those outside of such areas. “If the non-wilderness areas were being properly managed, then yes I think they would be healthier than the designated areas.”
    Magagna says there are better approaches to land management than the “broad brush” approach of a wilderness designation. “If there are specific actions we don’t want to take place or want to limit in specific areas, let’s address them individually and avoid the designation that puts neon lights around the area.”
    “Western rangelands need managed to maintain the health of the resource,” says Loper. “Some of us are seeing what we believe to be a decline in the health of these areas. As the health of these lands deteriorate, far more than livestock are affected. It also affects the wildlife populations.”
    Jennifer Womack is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..