Council for the Bighorn Range in 2017
The Council for the Bighorn Range (CBR) is an environmental organization. The year 2015 through 2017 saw a movement towards collaboration on wilderness and roadless lands across the state. There was a lot of hope that finally, we could see real progress on the 43 Wilderness Study Areas across Wyoming receive the designation or protection they deserved as incredible grasslands, high desert or sagebrush steppe. The area of the Council for the Bighorn Range contains no less than 11 WSA’s and one of the largest areas of Roadless Area Conservation Lands in the lower 48 states not set aside as wilderness.
The Council for the Bighorn Range rejected the final recommendations of the Bighorn Forest Roadless Collaborative (BFRC) on the lands across the Bighorn National Forest under the Roadless Rule. 126,000 acres of the 696,000 acres in the BNF no longer meet the RACR conditions as truly roadless, additional exemptions sought by the recommendations from the BFRC from the Roadless Rule would have undermined this necessary rule across the nation. The Wyoming Congressional Delegation decided not to take up the recommendations to Congress or push for similar local collaboratives across Wyoming.
Bighorn Forest Roadless Collaborative: The Council for the Bighorn Range participated as Wilderness Roadless representative member of the 14-member committee on to deal with the conflicts between the 2005 Revised Forest Land Management Plan () and the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule (RACR). The Bighorn National Forest in 2003, as the “Clinton Rule” was coursing its way through the courts, decided not to modify its plan to accommodate the rule. When in 2012, the BNF Forest Plan was out of compliance with .
The Council for the Bighorn Range was on the Johnson County Wyoming Public Lands Initiative to address the status and future of Gardner Mountain and North Fork Wilderness Study Areas. CBR was the conservation seat on the committee. While on the committee, CBR strove to represent a broad coalition of conservation and environmental interests locally and across Wyoming. We failed to facilitate a real collaborative effort on the committee and had to relinquish our seat. CBR stayed engaged to the end with many committee members and the Johnson County Commissioners. We in overflights with media, the public and committee members. CBR brought in a comment through workshops in Buffalo. Johnson County WPLI Committee did come up with some of the solid recommendations in the WPLI process and on time for the delegation to consider, Carbon County, the WPLI process has been a failure for conservation or the American public and their land.
The Council for the Bighorn Range recruited knowledgeable volunteers in Washakie County, Johnson and Sheridan Counties to join WPLI committees and coordinated with a coalition of conservation and environmental interests to seek the best outcomes for Wilderness Study Areas in our region of Wyoming.