Monday, November 7, 2016

Wyoming: A hint of urgency as hundreds rally for public land access - Full Article

Arno Rosenfeld
Nov 5, 2016

Open-toed sandals and colorful fleece jackets mixed with cowboy boots and camouflage vests. Subarus squeezed in next to towering pickup trucks. Bright orange baseball caps from the National Outdoor Leadership School bobbed in the crowd alongside caps touting the wearer’s military service.

Though the question of federal land management is becoming increasingly partisan, the several hundred people who gathered for a rally on Saturday to protect access to public lands represented a cross-section of Wyomingites.

“There can’t be anything more American than our public lands,” Backcountry Hunters and Anglers CEO Land Tawney told the crowd gathered at the Fort Caspar campground in Casper.

Attendees heard speeches, signed a poster to present to legislators and ate burgers and nachos from two food trucks at the event. Local musician Chad Lore led the crowd in a rendition of “This Land Is Your Land.”

Craig Hines and his mother, Ann, both of Casper, said they had enjoyed using public land across Wyoming.

“I’m just an out-and-about sort of guy,” Craig said. “I’ve hunted, I’ve fished, I’ve done some cowboying and I’ve used, and not abused, public land.”

When the crowd raised their fists and broke out in a chant of “public lands,” Ann, a bird watcher, raised her cane and joined in.

“I’ve been all over the state and I don’t want to lose it,” she explained.

Sending a message

NOLS director John Gans, who emceed the event, said the turnout was impressive given that there was no pending legislation to muster against. Instead the rally was meant to demonstrate public opposition to turning over federal land to state control ahead of the Wyoming Legislature’s Select Federal Natural Resource Management Committee meeting on Wednesday...

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