Pledge story: Dan Smitherman

David Madison
An unlikely conservationist joins forces with The Wilderness Society

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Dan Smitherman is a Wyoming outfitter with a handlebar mustache and a love for the Upper Hoback Basin. Full of wildlife and beauty, this piece of Greater Southern Yellowstone was threatened by natural gas development. Then along came Dan.

How hunters, horsemen and others rallied to protect the Hoback

“In a black cowboy hat and weathered chaps Dan Smitherman moves with ease, readying the horses… He straps on a gun before mounting. He starts into the mountains like the ending of a Western movie; the cowboy blending with the landscape, vanishing into the horizon.”

That’s how the news website Wyofile described Smitherman in a glowing profile titled “The Accidental Activist: Dan Smitherman leads the charge against drilling the Wyoming Range.”

Lead it he has: Through public comment meetings, on trips to Washington D.C. and in homes and community halls across Western Wyoming.

Like many who’ve spoken out against the plan to drill 136 natural gas wells in the Upper Hoback Basin, Dan isn’t against energy development -- he just doesn't want it in sensitive wild places.  The Wilderness Society and The Trust for Public Land's work on this issue has paid off. There is now a plan to buy-out the drilling leases and permanently protect around 60,000 acres of beautiful wildlife habitat.

“The Wilderness Society, I’ve always had a lot of respect for what they’ve done,” says Dan. “And found them to be very pragmatic, very mainstream.”

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See also: 

Pledge story: Jose Arroyo

Pledge story: Lynn Donaldson

Victory in Greater Yellowstone

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