By Lisa McGee


Today, thanks to the generosity of so many—including so many of you reading this—the Upper Hoback Basin will forever be safeguarded from oil and gas development. I can think of no better way to greet the New Year than with this fantastic news.

Plains Exploration and Production Company, the leaseholder that had proposed developing a 136-well gas field in this precious Greater Yellowstone landscape just south of Jackson Hole, agreed, in October, to sell its oil and gas leases—covering 58,000 acres of national forest, private, and BLM land—to a conservation buyer, the Trust for Public Land.

The proposed development would have been on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, right in the middle of one of the West’s most important wildlife crossroads.

Although we had an agreement with PXP—we still needed to raise more than half of the $8.75 million purchase price by the end of 2012.

And we did it.

Just days ago, the Trust for Public Land purchased the leases. I am incredibly grateful for the amazing work this organization did to get us across the finish line.

As many readers know, the Wyoming Outdoor Council and its partners—including citizens from across the state—had worked for many years with passion and determination to ensure this very outcome. We couldn’t be happier or more grateful.

Because the 2009 Wyoming Range Legacy Act prohibits future oil and gas leasing in this area, this unique conservation agreement safeguards cherished public land in perpetuity.

The Upper Hoback Basin is one of the most important wildlife migratory crossroads in the nation and the headwaters of the congressionally designated wild and scenic Hoback River. It provides recreational opportunities to myriad forest users, including hunters, horse packers, ranchers and hikers, and offers downstream fishing and boating experiences.

There is one outstanding issue left to address in the Wyoming Range: the 44,720 acres of contested oil and gas leases. But there is time to address this in the coming year and I promise that you’ll be hearing more about it from me.

Now is definitely time to celebrate this historic conservation achievement. We couldn’t have done it without every single one of our members and partners.

My sincere thanks and best wishes to each of you.



Other posts you might want to see:

Great video about the Upper Hoback: Too Special to Drill

Major Announcement: Agreement Struck, Citizens to Buy-Out Hoback Leases

Our Winter Reading List, 2012-2013

West Edge