One of the greatest threats facing sportsmen today is this radical idea in the American West to "transfer" millions of acres of federal public lands – owned by all Americans – to the states. Wyoming legislators are forging a path to take over public lands for the state to manage, develop and potentially sell.
Major points in opposition:
• These lands belong to all of us and already support a vibrant outdoor recreational economy for Wyoming.
• The state of Wyoming does not have the resources to manage these additional lands without selling or leasing them for development.
• Public lands transfers would mean locking the public out of areas that hunters, anglers and others have enjoyed for generations.
The U.S. Congress has the only legal authority to transfer federal lands. However, this has not stopped states from setting the stage for this to happen.
The motivation for these lawmakers is transferring public lands to the states means these lands will not be subject to federal processes for regulating and managing these lands, including environmental review and impact processes.
We the undersigned are opposed to the transfer of federal lands within Wyoming to the state. Federal lands are vital to recreation of all types, including hunting, fishing, and camping. Federal lands require public input for travel management, to open, close and maintain roads and trail systems for public use. They also provide essential economic opportunities for many businesses and communities.
The State of Wyoming will not be able to fund management of those lands, so it will likely have to use a for-profit model and sell a substantial portion of them. This means greater industrialization of those lands. This would have a profound effect on the lifestyles of Wyoming residents, outdoor recreation and the attractiveness of the state to visitors from across the country and around the world.
Article 21, Section 26 of the Wyoming Constitution states: “The people of this state do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries thereof…” We demand that Wyoming’s elected officials at the local, state and national levels cease all attempts to subvert the intent of the Wyoming Constitution and under no circumstances attempt to convert or accept Federal lands to state ownership.