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Group Plans Rally Opposing Public Lands Transfer

Keep It Public, Wyoming Facebook Page

The group Keep it Public, Wyoming is hosting a rally November 5 to protest public lands being transferred from the federal government to the state.

Legislators drafted a bill last session that would require the federal government to transfer most of Wyoming’s public lands to the state. The bill was never introduced, but the prospect caused concern for some residents and organizations. The Wyoming Outdoor Council was one of the organizations that signed a petition opposing future transfers, saying it would likely result in the privatization of public lands.

"We see that as a major threat to our heritage, our way of life, our birthright, in a lot of ways," said Chris Merrill, associate director for the Outdoor Council. "We want to stand up and show the diversity of support there is for public lands and the broad opposition there is to a state takeover to public lands in Wyoming."

The 2016 Conservation in the West Poll revealed that 54% of Wyoming residents oppose state takeover of public lands.

"There’s just something different about living in a state where there is so much access to camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, running," Merrill said. "It creates a way of life, and a culture that is unique, and we want to celebrate that."

A recent report from the Conference of Western Attorneys General found no legal arguments for federal land transfers to state management. 

Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.
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