SWEETWATER COUNTY, WYO – Members of Sweetwater County’s legislative delegation have signed off on a letter to Rep. Liz Cheney asking the Congressman to hold off on HR 4697 and her proposed legislation pertaining to Wilderness Study Areas.
“Please do not release these areas or recommend management for them without a meaningful public process,” the letter stated. “Our citizens deserve to be involved with management determinations for these important and special places.”
Sweetwater is home to 13 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs).
The letter continued: “Our WSAs include remarkable badlands, like Adobe Town, vast sand dunes and towering buttes. Some of these, with protective designations, could boost economic development opportunities for our area through increased tourism. The conversation about how to manage these areas for the future of our communities should include a wide variety of perspectives.”
Sweetwater’s letter to Cheney follows similar correspondence from the Teton County Board of Commissioners. Despite efforts to engage adjacent Sublette and Lincoln, representatives from those counties have shown no interest in coming on board.
Teton and other counties across Wyoming initiated county advisory committees through the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative (WPLI). Sweetwater County Commissioners declined to join the WPLI but even so, commissioners there say their county’s residents are interested in the management of WSAs and would, one day, like to engage in a local process to determine that management.
“Please do not preclude that possibility by releasing our WSAs now, without our local involvement,” the letter closed.