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Fremont County launching wilderness study area reviews

The Fremont County Commission is launching a public lands initiative to review long-standing wilderness study areas around Fremont County. Commission Chairman Doug Thompson said the state's congressional delegation has asked the Wyoming County Commissioners Association to voluntarily review the wilderness study areas in their counties for potential re-designation down the road. Thompson said that congress was supposed to review and act on wilderness study areas years ago, since the lands were set apart in the 1970s. So, Fremont County is putting together a special committee to look at the six wilderness study areas in Fremont County: Sweetwater Rocks (actually a collection of small study areas), Sweetwater Canyon, Copper Mountain, Dubois Badlands, Whiskey Mountain and Honeycomb/Oregon Buttes. The 10-member committee will look at the areas' histories, current uses, existing rights and potential for future use. Where the areas overlap into other counties, coordination will be done accordingly. All of the committee's meetings will be open to the public, and a special page on the county's website will be dedicated to transparency into the process, Thompson said. Over the next couple years, the committee will formulate recommendations for the county commission to approve, which could range from keeping the wilderness designation to allowing multi-use. Those decisions will then be compiled for inclusion in a draft bill with recommendations from other counties for Wyoming's delegation to take to congress. The committee will include representatives from the county commission, general public and the following sectors: agriculture, energy, sportsmen, motorized recreation and non-motorized recreation. Applications are available at all county libraries, the commission's office in the Lander courthouse or at the Print Shop in Riverton. Applications are due by the end of the month, and the commission will select the committee in April. #county10 #news