Monte Morlock's Letter to the Editor

A letter to the editor was written by Monte Morlock, a Greater Little Mountain Coalition member, describing the value of the Greater Little Mountain area and that a Master Leasing Plan is an important management tool to move forward. Published in the Rock Springs Rocket Miner on December 3, 2015 and in the Casper Star Tribune on December 5, 2015. 

Let’s keep Greater Little Mountain as Wyoming’s recreation, wildlife ‘crown jewel’

 Wyoming is a great state, full of extraordinary places to hunt, fish, hike and camp that it takes a lot for one to stand out. For me, the Greater Little Mountain area (southern Sweetwater County) stands out from all the rest in part because it’s a hidden gem. When you’re there you don’t see many folks, if anyone at all, you feel like you’ve wandered into a natural paradise that few people know about. Former Gov. Dave Freudenthal called it “the crown jewel for wildlife and recreation.” Its home to some of the best trophy big-game populations in the state as well as small, clear streams that wind through the grassy hills and contain native Colorado River cutthroat trout. The views from Little Mountain whether looking out over the Red Creek Badlands towards Pine Mountain or over the Marsh Creeks towards the Flaming Gorge, are second to none.

This area, with its large swaths of intact wildlife and fish habitat, inspires so much passion that people from a wide range of backgrounds – union members, sportsmen and women, conservationists, community members – have come together to ensure it remains one of Wyoming’s greatest treasures.

The Rock Springs office of the Bureau of Land Management is revising its Resource Management Plan, which includes the Greater Little Mountain area. The plan will guide what happens on public lands across the roughly half-million-acre landscape for the next couple decades.

About half the area is already under oil and gas leases. Sportsmen and women support responsible, balanced use of public lands, including energy development. However, not every area is suitable for drilling because of its importance as a native trout fishery, big-game winter range or wildlife migration corridor. If development occurs, safeguards must be in place to maintain fish and wildlife populations and habitat.

The Greater Little Mountain Coalition has encouraged the BLM to write a master leasing plan, which would take a big-picture look at areas where mineral and wildlife resources overlap to address potential conflicts upfront. Now is the time to decide what is important to us as sportsmen and women and Wyomingites and shape the kind of future we want for our children and grandchildren.

Monte Morlock