Pinedale, WY provides cautionary tale for Colorado communities

Pinedale provides cautionary tale for Colorado communities. By Gargi Chakrabarty, Rocky Mountain News.

One thing the article doesn’t mention is that when all these gas leases were let and plans made was that the attention of the keepers of the local traditions was diverted by talk about “the menace” of the 2 or 3 wolf packs that had formed at the north end of the Green River Basin. . . the classic politics of diversion.



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  1. cowboy the cat Avatar

    This one is a real punch in the gut because Pinedale was the town that made me fall in love with Wyoming. I arrived in 2002 to work for the Game and Fish on a cutthroat trout restoration project down near LaBarge. I was fresh out of college and just wanted to see the mountains. What I came away with was a love affair that won’t quit, and a deep appreciation for the high desert and the sagebrush ecosystem. O&G was just starting to boom hard in those days in Pinedale, and it was easy to find a table at any restaurant in town. I spent my weekends up in the Wind Rivers, hiking up from Elk Heart Park, or sometimes I’d drive up to the Green River Lakes.

    It’s wierd how the feeling I get thinking about it now is very similar to the feeling you get when you think about an old girlfriend… you know, “the one that got away.” It’s this heavy feeling in my stomach that make me a little queasy.

    Following the summer-o-love in Pinedale, I got a job with the BLM in Kemmerer, and began to see the other side, the darker side, of our public lands. You all know that story. Attending meetings with the field office managers, and stakeholders, I began to understand what the land was up against in Wyoming.

    Now Industrialization is rolling full speed ahead, although, thankfully some cooler heads are sarting to question the wisdom in this course of action as you have pointed out in a few post. Unfortunately, often the last defense of the nature lover is the courts, and it seems like our interests are too often being represented by judges these days.

    I have sent many many, MANY letters to my representatives urging protection of public lands in the west from overdevelopment, and have usually gotten the same form letter back stating that “I support responsible development of our nation’s natural resources and you can be sure that I’m working hard to ensure future generations will still have public lands to enjoy”. I’m glad I’m back in school now (getting my graduate degree) because I needed a break from the emotionally draining struggle.

    I want to come back and join the fray, guys, and I appreciate (most of) you are doing to help keep the west wild.

    Thanks, and sorry for the sappy story.

  2. Bob Caesar Avatar
    Bob Caesar

    It is very sad indeed! Pinedale to this day is the only county seat in the lower 48 that does NOT have a stop light. Unfortunately, in the past couple of years it is a “big city” as you’ll find any where! Too darn bad!

  3. Lynn Avatar

    Cowboy: Not sappy at all. Eloquently spoken. What I think, just wish I could write as well as you. Whenever I read these stories, I get that same “heavy feeling in my middle” as well. The love and passion I feel for the wilderness in Wyo, MT, and ID is equal only to my disdain to those that make the decisions that destroy it. Please continue the fight. Hopefully the numbers will turn our way.

  4. Don Riley Avatar
    Don Riley

    This article today in the Casper paper won’t make anyone feel better about the boom.

    This event is not a adoration, but the norm, meth, beer, company vehicles and oil field workers are combining in the slaughter of Pinedale wildlife. Where is SFW?


  5. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Don, related to the punk who ran over antelope:

    Should U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delist wolves, to the best of my knowledge (someone correct me if I’m wrong), there is NOTHING to prevent Sportsmen for (some) Fish and (some) Wildlife from offering a bounty on wolves in Wyoming where they’re classified as predators JUST LIKE COYOTES ARE and could be killed BY ANY MEANS, AT ANY TIME, BY ANYBODY, no license needed. A $20 or $100 or $500 or $1,000 bounty could be offered by Sportsmen for (some) Fish and (some) Wildlife.

    Wolves could be run over by cars, trucks, snowmobiles, OHV, or whatever – classified as predators, they could be killed BY ANY MEANS, AT ANY TIME, BY ANYBODY, no license needed.

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

  6. Don Riley Avatar
    Don Riley


    As I understand the present situation one can draw a verticle line North and South through Cody and a horizontal line East & West through Jackson and roughly any wolf found East and South of those lines is classified as a predator. North and West of the lines the wolf is classified as a game animal subject to hunting in a season yet to be established.

    Any animal classified as a predator by the G&F commission can be killed at any time (day or night) by any means (including regulated poison but not banned poisons), so I suppose the brave “sportsmen” of SFW could organize a wolf hunt just as they do with coyotes.

    I suspect State and Federal Land Managers would have some means of control over their lands, but there does not appear to be any barrier to such a hunt taking place on private lands with the concurrence of the land owner/s.

    Considering that neither the BLM nor the extraction industries have beefed up either their law enforcement/security forces in the Pinedale area I would not hold my breath over any organized hunt being regulated on BLM lands.
    The G&F is using wardens from other areas of the state to form “strike forces” in the Pinedale area in an attempt to prevent what is going on down there but the problem is so widespread they are overwhelmed.

    Anecdotally, from people here who work and have worked over there, the industry is not even enforcing a ban on alcohol in company owned vehicles used to transport the workers to and from the well pads so lord knows what is in those vans and trucks.



Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan