You Can Help by Taking Action!
Aug. 23, 2000- Hidden away in
southwestern Wyoming lies one of the most unique and spectacular landscapes in
North America -- The Red Desert. A wondrous and incredible place: the desert's
stunning rainbow-colored hoodoos, towering buttes and prehistoric rock art
define this rich landscape and provide a truly wild "home on the
range" for the largest pronghorn antelope herd in the lower 48 states and a
rare desert elk herd.
Since the settlement of the West and even long before, this region has played
a special role in the lives of Native Americans and early settlers. For
thousands of years the Red Desert has been a sacred place of worship for the
Shoshone and Ute tribes. Pioneers, Pony Express riders, Mormon settlers and
mountain men also found important landmarks among the desert's features, guiding
them west toward Oregon, Washington, Utah and California.
BLM plan falls short
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has recently released a draft environmental
impact statement (DEIS) for the management of the 600,000 acre Jack Morrow Hills
study area in the Red Desert. The BLM plan fails to protect the magnificent
values of the Red Desert. Even the so-called "resource protection
alternative" proposed by the agency, allows oil and gas development, mining
and new roads and utility lines in this fragile area.
What is needed is a fundamental shift in the way BLM manages the Red Desert.
Conservation groups are recommending a completely new management approach to
ensure the protection and continued use of this national resource. This new
approach is outlined in a document called the "Citizens' Red Desert
Protection Alternative" that is currently being drafted by a coalition of
conservation groups and interested citizens.
Red Desert brochure (PDF, 400Kb)
The Citizens' Red Desert Protection Alternative would:
1. Prohibit all new oil and gas leasing and mining activities;
2. Prevent new roads and developments in roadless areas adjacent to wilderness
3. Provide increased protection for nationally significant historic trails;
4. Ensure long-term survival of the unique Red Desert elk herd;
5. Protect traditional cultural properties revered by Native Americans;
6. Give priority to the restoration and protection of air and water quality;
7. Restore and protect wildlife habitat damaged by roads and pipelines;
8. Establish several "Research Natural Areas"; and
9. Expand the boundaries of existing "areas of critical environmental
concern" to focus attention on the extraordinary natural wealth and
sensitivity of the area.
Conservationists are urging the BLM to adopt their Citizens' alternative for
management of the Red Desert. The BLM is accepting comments on the proposal
through October 5, and your comments are needed! Click
here to send a letter to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and the state BLM
director for Wyoming, Al Pierson, or see below for contact information.
- Tell the BLM that you strongly support the Citizens' Red Desert Protection
Proposal for the Jack Morrow Hills Plan which would:
- Prohibit all new oil and gas leasing and mining activities;
- Prevent new roads and developments in roadless areas adjacent to
Wilderness Study Areas; and
- Designate the lands in the plan as one large area of critical
Send your comments to:
Al Pierson, State Director
PO Box 1828
Cheyenne, WY 82003
ALSO, Send a copy of your comments to:
Secretary of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
here to send prepared comments.