By David Martin
Editor 

Support shown for WSAs

 


A public hearing Tuesday wasn’t the only opportunity for people to comment about how the county commissioners should address the 13 Wilderness Study Areas within Sweetwater County.

During the past two weeks, the county has received dozens of online comments. Many of the comments came from people living outside of the county urging the commissioners to support continued management of the studies areas through the BLM. One comment from Colleen Cabot, a resident of San Jose, Calif., supports the areas remaining as WSAs.

“These Wilderness Study Areas represent incredible landscapes that our state and nation should be proud to designate as full Wilderness,” she wrote to the commissioners.

Valera Crofoot, a resident of St. Petersburg, Fla., wrote the commissioners to object to private investment and exploitation of the land.

“The board of commissioners is obligated to act to preserve Wilderness Study Areas, not to contaminate them in the interest of greed,” she wrote.

Within Wyoming, residents have also supported the commissioners keeping the WSAs as is. Carmen Bria of Lander wrote that the state already has a plenty of areas under development, being destroyed for their resources.

She also urged legislators to start listening to people and not large corporations. Evan Germeles, writing the commissioners from Pinedale, believes the commissioners seek to remove all restrictions to all areas based on an ideological basis, not an inventory of each individual area. Germeles also believes the development and “exploitation” of areas like the Jonah Field and Normalized Pressure Lance is partially justified because WSAs and wilderness areas balance those heavy impacts.


“Undoing protections for WSA areas is going back on (the) promises made in the above project approvals,” he wrote.

Marcia Fagnant, a resident of Kemmerer, said Rep. Liz Cheney seeks to change the protections WSAs have.

“This fast-tracked approach circumvents the wishes of people in Wyoming and around the country who know and love these areas,” Fagnent wrote. “Rep. Cheney is pressuring local governments to decide how our nation’s public lands are managed — with no meaningful input from the citizens around the country who own these lands.”

She urged the commissioners to not give recommendations to Cheney and believes the decision should not be rushed.

Locally, residents within the county have a more mixed view on what should be done with the lands. While some, such as Green River resident Marilyn Nomis support preserving the WSAs, there are also some who would like to see the WSAs opened to more uses.


Rock Springs resident Kari Moneyhun wrote the commissioners, stating the areas should be opened up to motorized recreation and other uses. James Ramsay, another Rock Springs resident, wrote to support releasing the WSAs to local control. A third Rock Springs resident, Cassidy Davies, wrote in support of wilderness access, saying the local economy could suffer without the access.

“We live here so we can hike, bike, snowmobile and get outdoors,” she wrote.

 

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