Public Lands

Public lands in Wyoming belong in public hands, for use and enjoyment by everyone.

Over the past five years, bills have been introduced in the Wyoming Legislature that would take over federal lands within Wyoming. None of these bills succeeded (2013-H.B. 228; 2015-H.B. 209; 2016-H.B. 142; 2017-H.B. 293, and SJR3).

This transfer, among other things, would turn the Bighorn National Forest over to the state of Wyoming. Currently, this would mean that recreational users would have to pay, and those currently paying fees, like cabin lessees and ranchers, would pay more.

In other words, this is a loss of freedom.

Both the Wyoming Outdoor Council ( and the Wyoming Wildlife Federation ( strongly oppose this land grab effort and support keeping public lands in public hands. The Wyoming Outdoor Council issued a report on August 25, 2016, entitled “Wyoming Public Lands: For Sale and for the Few?” (Available on their website).

The Wyoming Wildlife Federation website prominently features the following quote from former Senator Al Simpson:

If you get this stuff into state hands, it is not going to be available because the state would have the power to dispose of it, and when they get in a crunch – like all of them are – they are going to peddle it off and put it into the coffer, not thinking of what that does to the guys like you and me who know where this trail is into the fishing hole, hunting spot, or backpacking area… forget it.

Hollis on Public Lands