WPLI grinds to a close with conservation resolution

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – After two years of participating in the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative (WPLI) process, the best Teton County could come up with was a resolution but that is better than nothing.

“It is just a resolution but it puts you and the community you represent on the record as supporting conservation which has served us well. It’s been the backbone of our community and our economy,” said Franz Camenzind, who introduced himself yesterday at the regular meeting of the Board of County Commissioners as a longtime resident of Jackson. Camenzind is also a well-respected conservationist and wildlife biologist who once led the Conservation Alliance as executive director.

Mt. Leidy WSA

The resolution adopted by the BCC will serve as a formal recommendation WPLI recommendation from the Board of County Commissioners to the Wyoming County Commissioners Association. Commissioners also agreed to send copies to the supervisors of Bridger-Teton, Caribou-Targhee, and Shoshone national forests.

Even as more definitive direction was never achieved due to failed consensus from the 21-member advisory committee, several organizations and individuals stepped up in the past weeks and urged commissioners not to give up hope of at least sending some kind of conservation message to the United States Forest Service.

“The Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance has been following the WPLI process closely and believes the resolution is a reflection of the areas of consensus among the varied stakeholders on the committee,” stated Leah Zamesnik, conservation policy manager for the Alliance. “While the WPLI process did not result in final consensus on the Shoal Creek and Palisades Wilderness Study Areas, this resolution prohibiting oil and gas leasing/development, hard rock mining, commercial-scale timber harvest, and new road construction is a significant win for conservation and wildlife protection in Teton County. Furthermore, the recommendation to prioritize wildlife and wildlife habitat supports our Comprehensive Plan vision to preserve and protect our ecosystem.”

Resolution 18-040 (a resolution proclaiming conservation principles for US Forest Service lands in Teton County) was passed unanimously by the BCC yesterday.

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