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Group Hosts Rally, Calls For "Public Lands Day" Holiday

Melanie Arnett

A coalition called Keep It Public is hosting a rally this Saturday in hopes of gaining support for proposed legislation to create a Wyoming Public Lands Day. The holiday would encourage people to celebrate their access to national forests and parks.

Earl DeGroot is a Keep It Public member and an avid snowmobiler, hunter and hiker. He said the first thing the draft bill proposes is to officially designate the last Saturday of September as Public Lands Day.

“The second thing is to encourage school districts to give students the Friday before that Saturday off so that they can go out and enjoy the great outdoors—hunting, fishing, hiking or whatever.”

DeGroot said the third goal would be to remove language from an old statute.

“In the 1970’s, the legislature passed a statute that called for the whole sale transfer of federal lands to the state by 1980,” said DeGroot. “Well, that never did happen but those words are still in the statute. And so we’re calling for those words to be deleted and replaced with this National Public Lands Day.”

The next step, DeGroot said, will be to get several lawmakers to sponsor the legislation. 

He said Keep It Public is hosting a rally in hopes of informing people about the Public Lands Day bill on Saturday at noon in Laramie at the Lincoln Community Center. There, kids can learn archery and food will be served. 

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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