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Natural Resources & Energy

Survey Shows Over 11-Year Period, Wyomingites Views Have Shifted

South-facing slope covered in cheat grass near medicine bow forest
Cooper McKim

The Colorado College State of the Rockies survey has been polling eight interior Western states for the past 11 years, including Wyoming. The poll asks questions on a range of issues affecting land, water, air and wildlife.

This year, a new question revealed that close to 50 percent of Wyomingites would like to limit where and how new oil and gas development takes place on public lands. But survey principal Lori Weigal said the other 50 percent mostly wanted to see it expanded.

"While there's differences in degree there, the overall dynamics are relatively the same as what we saw throughout these western states," said Weigal.

When it comes to climate change, Wyomingites have had a big change in perception since the survey began.

"It went from only 17 percent saying it was extremely or very serious problem," said Weigal. "Now, that's 32 percent. It is the lowest of any of the states in the western region."

In addition, results show that residents are more worried about loss of wildlife habitat, pollinators, and family farms and ranches than before.

Residents made 20 visits to public lands on average in 2020. That rate was only second to Montana. Crowding was cited as one of the reasons why Wyomingites might limit their time on public lands. About 400 people in the state were polled in the beginning of January.

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