Hoback Leases Permanently Retired

Greetings to All Wyoming Range Supporters,

Today, the Trust for Public Land announced that the purchased leases from PXP in the Upper Hoback on the Bridger-Teton National Forest have been relinquished back to the government and permanently retired!

Citizens for the Wyoming Range released a press statement commenting on this action and the future of the Wyoming Range.  Links to both ours and TPL’s statements are below.   Work on protection of the private land leases is progressing.  This announcement essentially closes a significant chapter in the ongoing effort to permanently protect all public lands that lie within the boundaries of the Wyoming Range Legacy Act.

All of you are to be congratulated.  It was a long and difficult campaign, but well worth the result.  It was also a textbook example of how diverse people with a common focus can achieve difficult goals.  Please accept my and others’ genuine gratitude for your persistence, efforts and generosity over the past several years!

Although this chapter has closed, another chapter awaits.  At issue is the final resolution of the 44,700 acres of contested/suspended leases south of the former PXP leases, a large portion of which are adjacent to the PXP leases.  These leases also cover the Horse Creek and Beaver Creek drainages out of Merna, around Cottonwood Creek, along the McDougal Gap Road and also further south in the Range. The Forest Service voided these leases once in 2011 but then withdrew the Record of Decision to evaluate new data and produce a new analysis.  They expect to make a formal decision this year.  A complete synopsis of these leases and the legal issues behind them are on the www.wyomingrange.org website.

The Forest Service has an opportunity to NOT REPEAT THE SAME MISTAKE they made with the PXP leases. It should prevent these contested lease parcels from moving forward.  I personally feel strongly that an effort to assist the agency in making the right decision is worthwhile.  Other folks I have consulted with within Citizens have told me that they think we should address this 44,700 acre lease issue as well. After all, it was the improper offering of these leases in 2005-06 that was the motivation to form a citizens group and to work for protection of the Wyoming Range.

We have updated the website to focus on the contested 44,700 lease acres and have scheduled meetings in Cheyenne to address our elected and appointed officials.  We are planning other events for this summer. I intend to restart my emails on a periodic basis to provide updates as new information becomes available and to alert you about public meetings etc.  I realize that not all of you will decide to participate in this issue or perhaps are not interested in the emails.  If you want to be taken off our email list please use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this email.

At present there is a lot of change ongoing at the Forest Service.  The previous Bridger-Teton Supervisor has moved on and a temporary supervisor starts today.  Additionally, the Regional Forester (boss of the BT Supervisor) and other key individuals in the Regional Office have left or retired.  The impacts of these staff changes on the leasing timeline remain to be seen.

Finally, we are planning a public party to celebrate the PXP success sometime this summer.  I’ll provide more information as those plans evolve.

Again, thanks for your support.  All of you are amazing.


Dan Smitherman

Bondurant, WY


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