OPINION: Commissioners Are Working With Liz Cheney To Eliminate Our Most Sacred Landscapes

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The following was written and submitted by Robert Kirkwood

I am disappointed that our commissioners are working with Liz Cheney to eliminate our most sacred landscapes, the Wilderness Study Areas. The commissioners believe this is the best way to “improve our standard of living” and to create jobs. This is wrong. I challenge the commissioners to think more critically about the future of our communities and this county.

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The WSAs are the only areas in the county where I can get away from the noise of machines. They provide essential habitat for deer, elk, and other species. They contain sacred Native American sites. They belong to future generations!

I too want a thriving community with good jobs and a high standard of living, but this can happen without eliminating the WSAs. A recent study found that quiet recreation (non-motorized recreation), brings 27 million dollars to our community annually. This spending also supports over 285 local jobs in Sweetwater County. The WSAs bring monetary value to our county.

We need to promote these national wonders and protect them from development.We also need to think of them as more than an economic resource. It’s more important to have clean air, water, and abundant wildlife than short-lived profits. Please don’t remove protections and please don’t decide their future in a Liz Cheney Bill.

I grew up in Rock Springs and have benefited personally from the WSAs.

Robert Kirkwood, Rock Springs WY native