January 2, 2013

Private citizens protect pubic land

A three-month fundraising sprint has saved a revered slice of the Wyoming Range in central Wyoming from oil and gas drilling.

The Trust for Public Land announced in October it had purchased oil and gas leases on 58,000 acres of the Bridger-Teton National Forest from the company planning on drilling the area, but needed to raise $8.75 million to finalize the deal.

The area under threat – known as both the Noble Basin and Hoback Basin – was featured last July in a video produced by the Center for American Progress. It is a place loved by residents of western Wyoming for its hunting, fishing and other recreation opportunities. Rich in wildlife, the area is important habitat for elk, deer, moose, antelope and other species. It also contains the headwaters of a stretch of the Hoback River that was previously designated by Congress as a wild and scenic river.

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