It’s hard not to think the BLM plans to focus on a conservation-based management plan for the lands administered through the Rock Springs Field Office. It’s hard not to think the deck is inherently stacked against the people living in southwestern Wyoming because we know what the goals of President Biden’s Administration are. It’s hard not to think this is a done deal and we’re expected to just sit back and deal with it. However, does this mean we should?
No. In fact, this is the time to speak up and let our voices be heard.
About two-thirds of Sweetwater County is made up of lands administered by the BLM. Almost anyone reading this post has experienced the bounty those lands offer, regardless of if it’s through work or a quiet place often visited and only known to few. The layout of these lands are etched into our minds — every hill, valley, rock formation, and trail in vivid detail. There isn’t anyone who knows this place better than we do.
The BLM has not done a great job in managing a process aimed at receiving our input. Whether this is by design or sheer incompetence is a matter of eternal debate. BLM officials speak of misinformation spreading about the BLM’s intentions and the content of its preferred management alternative, but it’s hard to be understanding when the main thrust of the BLM’s public involvement efforts take place a month into its 90-day comment period. It’s hard to be understanding when the expectation is to have an understanding of a document that is made up of more than 600 pages itself, and more than 1,300 with the appendices and other information attached. The BLM says an executive summery is available in the first chapter, but who would know that? Who wouldn’t look at the page count alone and immediately feel an overwhelming sense of dread at the trying to comprehend the information within that document?
People need to show up to the BLM’s meeting. It takes place tomorrow from 3-6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Ballroom in Rock Springs. They should ask questions and get an understanding of how these proposals would impact Sweetwater County and their enjoyment of the lands we call our home. They should also consider submitting written comments, making sure to use this guide to ensure the comment will be helpful for the agency. Finally, they shouldn’t forget about this proposal and the situation facing Sweetwater County. There will be a 30-day protest period once the final environmental impact statement is issued.
Sweetwater County should not remain quiet. The people who live, work and play here should make sure their voices are heard loud enough to get the attention of Washington, D.C.