Aerial View of “The 44” with a backdrop of the Wyoming Range, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming. Aerial support provided by Lighthawk.
Good news! The 44,720 acre parcel in the Wyoming Range known as “The 44” is protected from the planned natural gas development! I first visited the Wyoming range in August and have written about it here, and contributed to an HCN article. US Forest Service Bridger-Teton Supervisor Jaque Buchanan said “After considering all the alternatives, and the environmental impacts associated with each, I have determined this is the best course of action. No single factor led me to this decision. Rather, it was the combination of the sensitivity and values of the area, the magnitude of other activities currently underway or planned with potentially cumulative impacts, and the concerns of citizens, organizations and other agencies.” There’s a great article in Jackson Hole News & Guide.
Chris Boyer, LightHawk pilot for my August mission contacted me yesterday, and I’ve heard from friends at the Wyoming Outdoor Council and The Wilderness Society since. Both groups have been instrumental in gaining protection for The 44 since the beginning. There’s now a precedent for valuing science, the overwhelming opinion of citizens, recreation, sportsmen’s rights, multiple use of public lands, and the right of animals to move freely through the landscape. The spirit of the Wyoming Range Legacy Act was upheld and the leases will be bought back. We now await the decision on nearby Noble Basin, where 136 wells are planned. Some places are too special to drill. Cheers!