CALL TO ACTION!
Teton County WPLI Process: We Need Your Voice!
Our Teton County Commissioners are holding the final public hearing to vote on the land use designations of the Palisades and Shoal Creek WSA’s, and more of your public lands next week. The Commissioners have taken the fate of the WPLI (Wyoming Public Land Initiative) into their own hands, and are voting on whether or not to create 173,000 new acres of new Wilderness, make the Shoal Creek WSA a Wilderness area and keep the Palisades in a WSA. This proposal would END ACCESS to over 1/3 of the remaining lands in Teton County open to snowmobiling, mountain biking and dirt biking. This meeting takes place Tuesday, October 9th at 9am in the BCC chambers at 200 South Willow Street. We need you to attend this meeting, write your Commissioners and to show your support AGAINST this new proposal.
In August the WPLI, a board of volunteers, appointed by the County Commissioners, took three proposals to a vote. These proposals and the resulting vote was the culmination of over two years of hard work by all these dedicated individuals. Ultimately no consensus was met, but the three proposals showed collaboration and transparency by the different user groups’ goals and objectives.
The WPLI was formed by a charter as a state initiative enacted by the WCCA (Wyoming County Commissioners Association). That charter states that a 100% consensus had to be met to determine the fate of the Wilderness Study Areas in the affected counties. Since the Teton County WPLI did not reach a consensus, our Commissioners created new rules to try to reach a decision. Our Commissioners enacted that if the committee voted in favor on a proposal by a 2/3 majority, the Commissioners would then take that proposal forward to a vote and if passed would present it to the WCCA. So, since the August WPLI vote, the Commissioners have a new proposal; that proposal got the exactly 2/3 majority vote from the special interest conservation stacked 18 member WPLI board last week. This proposal is an entirely different proposal than the three proposals that the WPLI put forth to a vote in August.
Our Commissioners are disregarding the public process of the WPLI and re-writing rules to push forth their agenda to close your public lands to mechanized and motorized recreation access. Next week’s meeting is a critical time to make your voice heard – as this meeting is where the BCC will vote on whether or not to advance the final proposal that received exactly a 2/3 support from the committee but zero support from the mechanized or motorized representatives. This proposal creates 173,000 new acres of Wilderness, makes the Shoal Creak WSA a new Wilderness and leaves the Palisades as a WSA.
Highlights of the new WPLI proposal:
· Would result in the largest loss of Teton County Multi-Use land in 34 years, and would shut out mechanized and motorized recreation on 173,000 acres.
· Leaves the Palisades as a Wilderness Study Area, which keeps the door open for conservation groups to continue to sue the BTNF to push out user groups, such as snowmobiling and mountain biking.
· Turns the Shoal Creek WSA into Wilderness, thus closing it to snowmobiling, dirt biking and mountain biking access.
· Closes over 100,000 acres of popular cross-country snowmobile terrain in the Mt. Leidy area.
· Creates in total 173,000 acres of new Wilderness in Teton County.
· Leaves 71,000 acres in Wilderness Study Areas instead of trying to designate productive uses for these “temporary” designations, which have been in place for over 34 years.
What to do? We need your voice!
Please email your commissioners at firstname.lastname@example.org that you are not in favor of this new proposal and mark your calendars to show up Tuesday, October 9th 9:00 am in the BCC chambers.
Here are some talking points to send your commissioners:
· I am not in favor of the new WPLI proposal you are putting forth to vote next week. This proposal closes off access to lands that I value for multi-use recreation: including mountain biking, dirt biking and snowmobiling.
· I find value personally, for our local and state economy and local businesses to keep these lands open to mechanized and motorized recreational opportunities.
· 82% of the public lands in Teton County are already protected and closed to motorized and mechanized recreation. I want to keep the remaining public lands in Teton County open for snowmobiling, mountain biking and dirt biking.