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Roberts: Western public lands and their protection

Roberts: Western public lands and their protection

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Editor:

I’m extremely grateful to Erik Molvar and Jennifer Molidor for their recent editorial in the Casper Star-Tribune titled, “Magical cows and the colonization of Western public lands”. It took individuals, not employed by a governmental natural resource agency, to enlighten the public to the fact that livestock grazing is not a highly beneficial management strategy for wildlife and wildlife habitat on our western public lands. The reality is that any human development or land use is detrimental to native wildlife diversity and abundance, and their habitats.

However, we are very grateful to those livestock producers that are good land stewards. They do provide habitat for a large number of wildlife on their private lands and many provide public access to those wildlife species.

If we Wyomingites are concerned about keeping public lands public and the having appropriate management of those lands to sustain wildlife species and wildlife habitat values, we should also consider who we are supporting as congressional, legislative, and public office candidates. Candidates on the far ends of the political spectrum are not the candidates that will address and take action on these concerns. Several far-right conservative candidates won primary elections this year. Are these candidates going to support maintaining or increasing revenue streams to government agencies mandated to manage our natural resources for all Wyoming citizens? Similar candidates stopped a license fee increase proposed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department a few years ago. Are these candidates going to support keeping public lands public or will management decisions be based on the aspirations of the highest bidder?

When considering management of public land and public wildlife for all Wyomingites, we should be supporting those congressional, legislative, and public office candidates that seek common ground to unite us around strategies to conserve and protect these cherished resources. We are not going to get there with divisive, conspiracy theory candidates. Ditto for all the major issues we the people and America face, including climate change.

LARRY ROBERTS, Casper

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