In late 2015, the Wyoming County Commissioners Association (WCCA) organized the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative (WPLI). The WPLI is a collaborative, county-led process intended to result in one state-wide legislative lands package that is broadly supported by public lands stakeholders in Wyoming. Those counties interested in participating are encouraged to convene working groups composed of representatives of a diversity of interests to develop recommendations for permanent designations for wilderness study areas and for other landscapes the committees may choose to consider. These recommendations for management can range from designation as Wilderness to release from wilderness study area status, and to many management options in between. Wyoming has 42 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and 3 U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs). While WSA decisions will serve as the launching pad and anchor for the WPLI, county committees are encouraged to look more broadly at long-standing land use challenges and opportunities where possible.
The Fremont County Board of Commissioners appointed the Fremont County WPLI Advisory Committee in spring 2016 to conduct a collaborative review process of WSAs and other potential landscapes of interests in Fremont County. The Advisory Committee will develop and submit proposed management recommendations for the WSAs in the county, as well as any other areas for consideration, to the Board of County Commissioners for approval. Should the commission not approve a recommendation or have further instructions for the Advisory Committee, the recommendation will be remanded to the Advisory Committee for additional deliberation. Once approved, the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, in cooperation with the office of the Governor and the offices of the Wyoming’s federal delegation, will review the Advisory Committee recommendations and to the maximum extent practicable, include them in a legislative draft to be introduced in Congress. The Advisory Committee will have an opportunity to address any concerns or suggested changes raised during any part of the approval process.
PRODUCTS AND OUTCOMES
The Fremont County WPLI Advisory Committee will develop a proposed management recommendation for WSAs and other landscapes considered by the committee. Each recommendation will be accompanied with sufficient rationale for the recommendation made. A draft of the committee’s proposed management recommendations will be distributed for public comment and the public comment will be adequately considered by the committee. After consideration of the public comments raised during any part of the approval process, the committee will present its recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners.
The advisory committee will act collaboratively and use consensus-based decision-making during negotiations. The advisory committee will incorporate public comment during all committee meetings and site visits, as well as on the draft recommendations. Interested members of the public are encouraged to attend meetings and site visits, submit comment on the process and the landscapes and proposed management scenarios, and regularly contact advisory committee members who represent their interests.
Documents considered by the committee and produced during the collaborative process will be posted on this website and on the WCCA’s WPLI Hub. This includes:
- A copy of the minutes from all of the WPLI Advisory Committee meetings;
- All relevant background information gathered by the committee;
- Any information pertaining to the public field trip and impressions noted regarding the wilderness characteristics of the individual WSA/s;
- A copy of the draft committee WPLI recommendation; and
- A copy of public comments received on the draft recommendation, and the WPLI committee recommendation as it was initially presented to the commissioners.
The Fremont County Advisory Committee will develop recommendations for the following WSAs contained wholly or partially within Fremont County: Copper Mountain, Dubois Badlands, Whiskey Mountain, Sweetwater Canyon, Lankin Dome, Split Rock, Miller Springs and Savage Peak.
The committee may also consider other areas of interest within the county for potential inclusion in its recommendation, including other land use designations, transfers, or other management actions not necessarily related to WSA designation or release.
ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP AND REPRESENTATION
The Advisory Committee is representative of persons with interests in the designation and management of WSAs in Fremont County. Members are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and will serve on the committee through the completion of the committee’s work.
Although it is recognized that Advisory Committee members have multiple interests and may participate in discussions from various perspectives, for organizational purposes each Advisory Committee member has been assigned to an interest category below.
Advisory Committee members will be expected to represent the interests of (1) themselves, (2) organizations that have authorized the Advisory Committee member to represent them, or (3) groups of constituents from a similar stakeholder group. Ideas presented within Advisory Committee discussions will not be assumed to be the official position of the organizations or groups represented unless specifically stated to be so. Advisory Committee members have the responsibility to keep the organizations and interest groups they represent informed about the actions and outcomes of the Advisory Committee’s process.