CHEYENNE — Wyoming will become the third state in the nation to celebrate its own Public Lands Day!
Today, Gov. Mark Gordon signed HB 99, Wyoming Public Lands Day, into law, establishing the fourth Saturday each September as Wyoming Public Lands Day and corresponding with National Public Lands Day.
The bill affirms Wyoming’s support for keeping public lands in public hands, and celebrates the benefits they provide to all Wyomingites.
As an annual event, Wyoming Public Lands Day will serve as a reminder of these values as well as an opportunity to highlight outdoor opportunities and public lands service projects for families and residents.
Polls and citizen activism have shown that Wyomingites overwhelmingly support public lands.
“While the declaration of a Wyoming Public Lands Day may seem trivial to some, I believe it is an important milestone,” Earl DeGroot of Sportsmen for Federal Lands, said. “Instead of disparaging our public lands, as some proposed legislation has done in the past, our elected officials have acknowledged the role public lands play in the lives of Wyoming residents. For many of us, these treasured lands are the reason we live here.”
“Having a state celebration for Public Lands Day helps to honor the unparalleled natural resources we have in this great state,” Darin Westby, Director of State Parks and Cultural Resources, said. “It also again highlights the importance of our $5.6 billion outdoor recreation economy and why Wyoming is well situated to enhance and expand this industry.”
Rep. Andy Schwartz (H23-Teton), lead sponsor of HB 99, notes that Wyoming Public Lands Day provides a unique opportunity to acknowledge and honor the variety of ways that public lands support our state economy, culture, and heritage. “We live in a state that not only values public lands but takes advantage of the opportunities they provide, whether it is for recreation or business,” Rep. Schwartz said. “Taking a day to celebrate them, on a day that is celebrated throughout the country, is good for Wyoming.”
In addition to the vital role that public lands play in Wyoming’s outdoor recreation economy, they are also the lifeblood of our tourism industry.
“Visitors love what we in Wyoming love — our great outdoors as a place to live, work and play,” Wyoming Office of Tourism Executive Director Diane Shober said. “Wyoming truly offers visitors endless opportunities to connect with our wild, open spaces and disconnect from modern distractions.”
Wyoming’s first Public Lands Day will be Saturday September 28, paying tribute to the importance of public lands in our state and their roles in supporting our economy, multiple uses, open spaces, wildlife, and recreational opportunities.
The bill authorizes the Governor to issue an annual proclamation encouraging the observance of this day, and indicates that the holiday may be celebrated by the public and in public schools.
To learn more, visit keepitpublicwyo.com.