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Wyoming Pathways Attends Wyoming Public Lands Initiative (WPLI) Workshop in Lander

The Wyoming County Commissioners Association (WCCA) held a one-day workshop for public lands stakeholders on Tuesday, January 26th in Lander, WY. The WCCA sought to get constructive engagement from stakeholders to help insure the success of the WPLI and Wyoming Pathways was happy to attend the event. Sending two representatives, Wyoming Pathways had the opportunity to participate in multiple breakout groups and interact with numerous stakeholders. The event was well attended with over 80 stakeholders from groups ranging from conservationists to government officials to energy industry representatives.

This diverse group was tasked with learning how to work cooperatively and constructively to develop a process to determine the best use of the current 45 Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) in Wyoming. These areas, with 577,504 acres of BLM and 130,182 acres of Forest Service lands can provide great opportunities for a wide range of uses, including biking and hiking. Wyoming Pathways’ participation in the event, along with other Wyoming trail focused organizations such as Mountain Bike the Tetons and Overland Mountain Bike Club, provided a strong voice for such use being an important component of any future WSA use determinations.

Just getting this diverse group of potential land users into the same room with a willingness to learn about each other’s positions was an accomplishment. By the end of the session, after hearing presentations about the WSA use determination process and cooperative decision making and participating in exercises and breakout sessions, the attendees came away with a better understanding of how they could influence how WSAs are used and the tools that they needed to participate more effectively in the process. In this regard, the workshop was a success and from Wyoming Pathways perspective, being included and having the opportunity to make the case for including recreational use and trail development in any WSA use determination to such a group was invaluable.

If you are interested in having a voice in determining the disposition of WSAs in your county, Wyoming Pathways urges you to contact your County Commissioners to find out how they plan to develop proposals. There may be opportunities to influence the Commissioners directly or to participate in the process via committee membership or some other means. Adding your voice to the process is critical to ensure that the interests of proponents of people-powered movement are considered when determining how these public lands are to be used.

The Workshop’s presentations and discussion can be viewed here and updated information can be found on the WPLI website.