The Wyoming Range is a beautiful and wildlife-rich mountain range in SW Wyoming. Some folks might think this storyline might be a reference to rangeland in the state of Wyoming. No it is the name of a mountain range 70 miles long and about 25 miles wide.

lunchcr-roaringfork1.jpg
At the headwaters of Lunch Creek and the Roaring Fork near the top to the
Wyoming Range, looking east. Although they are hard to see, there are about
a hundred elk in the big meadow. Copyright Ralph Maughan

“Sportsmen” groups have formed a coalition to fend off the natural gas industry, trying now to move its rigs up off the floor of the Green River Basin into the scenic and landslide prone mountains to the West.

Brodie Farquhar has an article about the coalition in New West. Sportsmen Unite To Save Wyoming Range.

Notice that the group “Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife-Wyoming” is not inside the coalition. These are the guys who want to feed elk, shoot wolves, and don’t seem to care much for public lands. They have counterpart organizations in Idaho, Utah, and now New Mexico. They saddle up with the extractive industries.

That brings us to the wolf controversy. I think I am beginning to understand the furious push to suddenly demonize the wolf and so, stir the pot — this is a way for the extractive industries from petroleum to mining, and public land grazing to split the sudden formation of coalition between hunters, anglers, conservationists, labor unions, etc. They can remain in the background and let groups with Orwellian names, like “Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife,” divert attention and coalition building with an emotional issue that is actually of small consequence compared to the wholesale rape of the land that is taking place.

This tactic used to be called a “red herring,” although to younger and more urban folks it may be a lost referent.

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

5 Responses to Sportsmen Unite To Save Wyoming Range

  1. avatar Alan says:

    Damn, that is one helluva beautiful landscape in the photograph.

  2. Yes, it is a beautiful, but relatively unknown mountain range, with peaks up to 11,000 feet plus.

    It has a very steep west face and the gentle east slope in the photo.

    There is a very large upland area with blazing wildflowers most of the summer.

    The land is very unstable. All of the lakes in the range were formed by landslides and earthflows.

    I love Yellowstone, but have always tried to get folks to look beyond the Park because focusing on Yellowstone Park alone feeds Wyoming’s oligarchy who want Yellowstone to be kind of prison where they lock up nature.

  3. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    The Wyoming Range is some of the best mule deer habitat going anywhere in the Rockies, and it would be great grizzly habitat were bears not “socially unacceptable,” according to the existing Wyoming G&F Dept. grizzly plan that seeks to exclude bears from the Range.

    Nevertheless, part of the Wyoming Range has been badly damaged by livestock. Minerals leasing would be another hard blow to the area.

    The same is true of the sagebrush flats, the Little Colorado Desert, where the majority of gas drilling is located. It’s not just the Wyoming Range that needs protecting.

  4. In addition, there is a tiny struggling bighorn sheep population on the range’s north end, which is constantly at risk of getting disease from the domestic sheep the Forest Service allows to graze.

    When domestic sheep are present, disease from them almost always kills off any bighorn that come in contact with them.

  5. avatar Randal Hill says:

    I have hunted, fished and horse packed all over the Wyoming range for many years. It is a truly beatiful range of mountains and should be protected from commercial incursion and ATV use. Theadore Roosevelt hunted near Hoback peak, I’ve visited what I’ve been told was his old camp. There are a few grizzly there now, which I don’t care for, being an older gentleman and a bow hunter.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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