Wyoming Range: Work We Are Doing

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In a state known for its wildlands, Wyoming’s namesake range is home to the 11,363-foot Wyoming Peak, where open slopes are dotted with sagebrush and pockets of aspen trees.

The Wyoming Range has numerous natural and human benefits, including providing habitat for wildlife and contributing to cleaner air and drinking water. The area thrives with moose and Wyoming's native cutthroat trout. Mule deer use the Wyoming Range as a critical migration route.

But the landscape is sought after by oil and gas developers. Over-development would harm the wildland and the wildlife that depends on it for survival.

Reducing threats from oil and gas

At Wilderness, we're working in the Wyoming Range to protect sensitive wildlands against poorly regulated oil and gas development. This helps to preserve the range's air and water quality and prevent pollution caused by drilling. It also helps ensure that wildlife have access to habitat and migration pathways that are unspoiled by development.

Our goals in the Wyoming Range include:

Permanently protecting the Upper Hoback Basin

We are working to encourage buyout of all leases held by Plains Exploration and Production Company (PXP) so that the area can never again be leased for oil and gas development.

Working with the U.S. Forest Service to improve protection and management

If a deal to buyout PXP leases cannot be met, we will focus on raising awareness and gathering strong public support to urge the U.S. Forest Service to better protect and manage the Wyoming Range

Secure strong air and water protections for the region

We are asking state and federal agencies to resolve area ozone pollution problems and ensure that rules are enforced to improve visibility in wilderness areas and protect high mountain lakes from acidification.

Success in the Wyoming Range

We can't do this work alone. We partner with local Wyoming communities for whom protecting the Wyoming Range means protecting a part of their wild heritage. Through our partnership efforts, we have:

  • Helped pass the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, permanently protecting 1.2 million acres of sensitive national forest lands from future oil and gas leasing.
  • Brought national recognition to help protect the wild and scenic Hoback River against oil and gas drilling at its headwaters.
  • Developed a “gold standard” of drilling practices that best protects the fragile water resources, air quality and abundant wildlife of the Hoback area.