Let’s protect our access to public and private lands

We’re pretty lucky to live in Wyoming. We have a lot of public land, and we have access to a bunch of private land, too, thanks to the generosity of friendly landowners. But we could lose that privilege if we abuse it.

About half of Wyoming is public land, meaning in most cases we can go there whenever we want to hunt, fish, hike, bike, or do a bunch of other things. There are some restrictions, of course, but for the most part, we have a lot more freedom to do the things we like to do in Wyoming than most other states’ residents have.

On top of all that public land, we also have access to thousands of acres of private land through a number of agreements with private landowners. Many of those agreements are negotiated by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The Game and Fish does a lot of work to get us that access. And for the most part, the people who use that land do a good job of keeping it in at least as good condition as they found it.

But recently, damage at Diamond Lake has put a strain on several of those private land agreements. Diamond Lake, near Laramie, is owned by the Wheatland Irrigation District. The Game and Fish has spent nearly $400,000 on the Diamond Lake Public Access Area, but all that work and money are in danger of being wasted if damage and litter continues at the area. Trash has been left along the shoreline and garbage has been left by target shooters. Also, wooden parking lot posts have been knocked down, and people have been driving off the road and damaging pasture areas. If this damage continues, we risk losing Diamond Lake Public Access Area, and maybe even other areas also owned by the Wheatland Irrigation District.

If you see anyone mistreating public land or private land opened for public access, speak up. We have great opportunities for our outdoor activities in this state, but we don’t want to lose any of the access we have.

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