Room to Roam: Protecting Public Lands Near and Far

BLM_Buffalo Field OfficeLast weekend, thousands of volunteers from coast to coast took part in National Public Lands Day.

Four signature sites of this year’s celebration were the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC; Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, California; Angeles National Forest outside Los Angeles, CA; and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, GA.

In addition to those who participated at one of these signature sites, thousands across the country took part in local public lands events, helping them to gain knowledge about critical environmental issues facing their communities and about the need to be stewards for these precious areas.

Although this national event is aimed toward building community and improving public lands for recreation, restoring America’s public lands also ensures vital habitat protection for our nation’s wildlife.

As one example, Wyoming’s Powder River Basin serves as a favorite recreation destination for outdoor enthusiasts out west while its Fortification Creek area also provides an important elk habitat.

Unfortunately right now, this critical area of public land is being slated for coal bed methane gas development. This process requires draining the existing aquifer to reach the methane and then disposing of this saline water. Furthermore, the environmental impacts of this extraction are still not fully understood.

Already, drilling has been approved for this area even though no research has been completed on the potentially devastating effects of this decision for the people that enjoy this land and the wildlife that call it home.

We can’t wait for another rugged area to be lost to destructive oil and gas development on public lands. Speak up today and tell Bureau of Land Management director Bob Abbey to slow this hasty project that threatens Wyoming’s Fortification Creek area.