Wyoming Range Legacy Act passes US House
NOLS celebrates protection of critical wilderness classroom
by National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)
March 25, 2009
(Lander, WY) — Today, the National Outdoor Leadership School celebrated passage of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 by the U.S. House of Representatives, ensuring permanent protection of 1.2 million acres in the Wyoming Range from additional oil and gas development. Since 2004, NOLS has been closely engaged in a broad grassroots effort to protect the Wyoming Range, a key year-round classroom for backcountry wilderness courses.
"Passage of the Wyoming Range Legacy Act verifies that protecting wildlife and wild places in addition to healthy rural mountain economies is a high priority for Congress." said John Gans, NOLS Executive Director. "The National Outdoor Leadership School would like to thank Senators John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, and Governor Dave Freudenthal for their unwavering support of the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, and for their commitment to the legacy of the late Senator Craig Thomas."
This afternoon the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 146, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, by a wide margin. While including over 160 individual lands bills, a major provision is the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, which withdraws the 100-mile mountain chain in the Bridger-Teton National Forest from future oil and gas leasing.
"Combining a true wilderness experience with easy winter access is rare, and the Wyoming Range has it," says Gary Cukjati, NOLS Rocky Mountain Director. "These mountains have been an ideal NOLS winter classroom for years, and with this support from our Wyoming Senators and from Congress, we hope to keep it that way."
"High-mountain valleys and forests bordered by granite peaks have made the Wyoming Range a unique destination for our 14- and 15-year-old students," said Abby Warner, NOLS Teton Valley Director. "These mountains are our best defense against the limited exposure to nature our kids are facing today."