OPINION: Management Plan Must Protect Greater Little Mountain Area

OPINION: Management Plan Must Protect Greater Little Mountain Area

Dwayne Meadows works on a fencing project in the Red Desert. Photo Courtesy of Jaden Bales.

The following opinion piece was written and submitted by Dwayne Meadows, Executive Director of Wyoming Wildlife Federation.

In June, Governor Gordon joined the Greater Little Mountain Coalition on a tour of the scenic Greater Little Mountain Area (GLMA). South of Rock Springs, GLMA is one of Wyoming’s crown jewels. On an ordinary day, a stroll through this one-of-a-kind landscape could take you through rugged badlands, ancient aspen groves, or lush pine forests. Known for its unrivaled mule deer and elk hunting, and Colorado River cutthroat trout, you’ll likely see a host of anglers, wildlife watchers and hunters in the fall. This area gives its all to Wyoming and its visitors. As I write this the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is preparing a management plan for 3.6 million acres in southwest Wyoming, which includes the 522,000 acres of the Greater Little Mountain Area.

For more than a decade, local stakeholders have worked together to propose a management plan with the goal of conserving and maintaining the thriving wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities this beloved area affords. The Greater Little Mountain Coalition worked to build consensus, ensured the plan faced no opposition within the group and received outpouring support from community members and locally elected officials.

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The Bureau of Land Management’s draft Resource Management Plan is likely to be released in the coming weeks and will set the rules for how this area–including the wildlife, fish, and recreation opportunities that depend on it–will be managed for at least the next twenty years. 

As a passionate outdoorsman and Wyomingite, I want to see the Greater Little Mountain’s future and the quality of life it brings to me, my family, and its visitors to remain intact for generations. The Greater Little Mountain Coalition, along with local and county government support, proposed a balanced management plan that focuses on a balance of both conservation for wildlife, hunting, and angling as well as year-round drilling opportunities in suitable areas.

Governor Gordon has taken the time to speak directly with a wide range of stakeholders on the topic. I thank him for his efforts to listen to local voices and I urge our Congressional representation to do the same. Our statewide elected officials can speak out in support of conserving the GLMA. We do not want a management plan that focuses on one use and one use only, but a multiple set of uses. After years of consensus building and local collaboration we ask Secretary Bernhardt to commit to Western communities by upholding this effort and bringing strength to the local voices. 

Our communities have made it clear that conservation is a top priority for the GLMA. It is time for everyone to help by taking action. Leave your comments on the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan when it arrives. Make this priority heard. 

We must conserve the Greater Little Mountain Area for ourselves and for future generations to come and your involvement is necessary to make that happen.