Opportunity to protect land near the Sunlight Basin

A MESSAGE TO WYOMING OUTDOOR COUNCIL MEMBERS AND FRIENDS:

WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO HELP the Shoshone National Forest buy a piece of land near the Sunlight Basin from a private landowner who wants to sell it to the agency.

Please contact Senator John Barrasso and ask him to support a $2.5 million appropriation from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect this land by including it in the Shoshone National Forest.

The land contains important wildlife and recreational values, and it is likely it could be subdivided and developed if sold to a private interest.

The 118-acre tract is in the Russell Creek area between Cody and Cooke City, bounded on three sides by U.S. Forest Service lands, and it contains great riparian habitat, important wetlands, breeding grounds for elk, and crucial winter range for elk, mule deer, and bighorn sheep.

An appropriation for this purchase was included in President Barack Obama’s budget recommendation to Congress.

The property is near Windy Mountain, adjacent to Dead Indian Pass, where Route 296 drops dramatically into the valley of the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River, a national wild and scenic river. It is accessible via road and would offer significant opportunities and access for the public to hunt, hike, and camp.

If the land is not acquired, we believe it would be a prime location for a second-home subdivision, because of its scenic values and proximity to Yellowstone National Park. Subdivision into several smaller parcels is fully authorized under existing county land-use regulations.

In addition to precluding this threat, acquisition by the Forest Service would also allow the agency to improve fire management, control invasive plant species, and resolve obstacles to the free movement of large game and non-game wildlife.

Please ask Senator Barrasso to support this appropriation!

SAMPLE LETTER

(We recommend getting letters to Sen. John Barrasso no later than Friday, March 26, when the decision is expected.)

U.S. Senator John Barrasso
Fax: 202-224-1724
Email: Senator_JBarrasso@barrasso.senate.gov

Dear Senator Barrasso,

Please support the proposed $2.5 million budget appropriation from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for fiscal year 2011 to acquire 118 acres in the Russell Creek Winter Range property. The current owner of this property would like to sell it to the Forest Service, and an appropriation for this purchase was included in the president’s budget recommendation to Congress.

With your support, this appropriation can stay in the budget and be used to protect land on the Shoshone National Forest, just outside Yellowstone National Park.

The property contains prime riparian habitat and important wetlands along Russell Creek. The area is important habitat for many big game species including elk and bighorn sheep. In addition, this purchase would offer significant opportunities and access for the public to hunt, hike, and camp. The acquisition will also allow the Forest Service to improve fire management and control invasive plant species.

If this parcel remains in private hands it is at serious risk for subdivision and development.

If the Forest Service is appropriated the funds for this acquisition the purchase will increase public access for recreation, protect critical wildlife habitat, and improve forest and fire management. Please support this appropriation!

Contact: Lisa McGee, Wyoming Outdoor Council, 307-332-7031 x20, lisa@wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org.

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One comment on “Opportunity to protect land near the Sunlight Basin
  1. Mike Foate says:

    Hi,
    I hope they were able to get this bought. I was up there cowboying for the ranch trying to gather cattle out of Russell Creek during the Yellowstone fires. Pretty crazy.
    Happy trails, Mike Foate

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