Wyoming Public Lands Initiative

The core goal of the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative (WPLI) is to develop a locally-led, Wyoming-specific, legislative lands package to address designation, release, or other management for Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) in Wyoming. The WPLI is a voluntary project initiated and led at the county level that will culminate in legislation forwarded to Wyoming’s Congressional delegation. If a county chooses to participate in the WPLI, that county's Board of County Commissioners agrees to be bound by the WPLI Principles & Guidelines document. While the WPLI is intended to allow for flexibility at the county or multi-county level in the development of final recommendations for legislative text, process integrity and stakeholder inclusion is critical to a successful conclusion. The last major lands package passed by Congress for Wyoming – the Wyoming Wilderness Act– was the product of locally driven efforts. Thirty-one years have elapsed since passage of that Act, and 24 years since the BLM first began managing Wyoming’s WSAs as de facto wilderness.

Designated Wilderness & Wilderness Study Areas in Wyoming

The Federal Lands Policy and Management Act of 1976 required that federal lands be inventoried for areas with “wilderness characteristics.” After identifying these “study areas”, the law dictated that the Department of Interior issue a report recommending the study areas either for designation as wilderness, or for release to a multiple use mandate. Congress, with sole authority to declare wilderness or release these WSAs, has not acted on agency recommendations, and those recommendations may no longer reflect the state of wilderness character nor accurately identify other resources or values within or adjacent to the 42 BLM WSAs or 3 USFS WSAs.

Additional Resources

Go here to view relevant agency information and WPLI-related third party submissions.  

Wyoming Public Lands Initiative Principles and Guidelines

In order to ensure the successful enactment of federal legislation addressing Wyoming WSAs, a consistent statewide approach that maximizes stakeholder involvement, through an open and transparent process, is necessary. County WPLI Advisory Committees will be expected to encompass a broad cross-section of public lands stakeholders. All WPLI participating counties must adhere to this document.

WPLI Advisory Committee Toolbox

WPLI County Advisory Committee members can click on this link to access resources that can help them create and sustain a durable, county-specfic WPLI process. 

Frequently Asked Questions