A bill to transfer federal lands to Wyoming and another seeking a catalog of closed routes on public federal property died in the Wyoming House.
Public Lands Access would have spent $100,000 to develop an inventory of federal roads and trails that have been closed. If passed, a committee could have recommended a bill to address public access. Opponents said that route information is readily available, and that Wyoming has already spent $75,000 on a study of transferring federal lands with a final report yet to come.
“I’ve got a publication with a phone number to the forest service and they’ll tell you every road that was closed,” said Rep. Stan Blake (D-Green River). “This is a budget crunch folks.”
Co-sponsor Rep. Dan Laursen (R-Powell) offered to revisit the $100,000 appropriation in the bill before it was defeated, but to no avail.
Several public lands access advocacy groups organized their memberships to contact Wyoming legislators to express opposition to it and other public lands transfer bills. Before HB 142 expired on Friday, the Wyoming Wildlife Federation said transferring public lands to the states, “would essentially put them on the fast track for energy and mineral development.” WWF Board President Dave Moody said “Without that federal ownership and designation, the states could do what they want when it comes to how these public lands could be managed, and this means decreasing their values when it comes to wildlife, habitat and recreation.”