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With an extra 60 days to comment on the Rock Springs BLM plan, an outdoor group explains the process

About 25 people came out for the Wyoming Outdoor Council meeting on the BLM Rock Springs management plan.
Caitlin Tan
Wyoming Public Media
About 25 people came out for the Wyoming Outdoor Council meeting on the BLM Rock Springs management plan.

The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) draft plan for millions of acres in southwest Wyoming is drumming up attention almost everyday – in everything from Wyoming interim legislature committee meetings to conversations at the grocery store to a recent New York Times article. It was also the subject at a recent Wyoming Outdoor Council meeting held in Pinedale.

About 25 people came out on a brisk evening to the Pinedale public library, where the Wyoming Outdoor Council explained the BLM’s draft management plan for millions of nearby federal acres.

The BLM is recommending a conservation approach, so more focus on wildlife and less on energy development, which the Outdoor Council largely supports. But, Alec Underwood, program director for the Wyoming Outdoor Council, said whether one likes the plan or not, one should let the BLM know.

“I've had some members come to me and say, ‘Why does it matter to comment on the process if you're just one person?’,” Underwood said. “I think someone told us today there's something like 7,000 comments already. Pretty intimidating to think that your voice will matter. But it does.”

Meghan Riley, public lands and wildlife advocate for the group, suggested writing in a brief comment about what you’d like to see happen to the land and why it matters to you.

“This is a massive document and none of us are going to be able to provide substantive comments on the whole thing unless we're paid staffers with a team of lawyers helping us,” Riley said. “But as an individual, focus on what matters to you, and share your personal connection to the lands, resources and uses of interest to you. I think the agency wants to hear how the management that they put forth in this plan would affect you as an individual.”

Some of the pushback against the proposed plan is concern over the lack of energy development and how this could impact a region known for just that. Other concerns include shutting down recreational access and roads – both of which the BLM has debunked.

The deadline to comment on the draft was extended 60 days after requests from many in Wyoming, including Governor Mark Gordon. Public comment will be accepted here through January 17th. The final version of the plan is expected to reflect those comments and be released sometime in spring next year.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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