Sunrise and lens flare over a field in the Bighorn Mountain Range near Buffalo, Wyoming

Wild and Working

The Promise of Western Lands

Perspective by John L. Koprowski

I was a youngster in Cleveland, Ohio, when the Cuyahoga River started on fire…again!

oil derrick

Living in a Natural Resource Economy

What can Wyoming learn from studies of the “natural resource curse”?

By Emilene Ostlind

Wyoming has long produced the most coal of any US state and lands in the top ten states for natural gas and oil production. In a fossil fuel driven economy, all that mineral wealth should make Wyoming rich, and sometimes it truly does.

A New Lease on State Land

A New Lease on State Land

How conservation is hoping to buy a seat at the land management table

By Birch Malotky

In early November 2020, the Wyoming Outdoor Council’s (WOC) staff huddled around a laptop and logged into their freshly minted account on, an online marketplace where 199 leases for oil and gas development on Wyoming state trust lands were up for auction.

Sagebrush in Prisons

Sagebrush in Prisons

Inmates are saving an iconic American landscape—and themselves

By Frani Halperin

On a very windy fall day, Gina Clingerman, project manager for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Abandoned Mines Lands program in Wyoming, walks through rolling hills where a wildland fire torched more than 14,000 acres of sagebrush steppe in 2020.

Driving Through Medicine Bow Forest at the beginning of a snow storm

Road Wager

Agencies bet that hundreds of miles of temporary new roads can help a forest

By Nathan C. Martin

The Medicine Bow National Forest is the most densely roaded forest in Wyoming. Interstate 80 borders it to the north, and winding byways bisect its major mountain ranges—the Sierra Madre and the Snowy Range.

Mountain biker ascends gravel path into mountains.

Reclaimed Wildness

Riding Coal Basin’s closed mining roads

By Manasseh Franklin

While quietly pedaling a narrow, paved road near Redstone, Colorado, I rounded a corner and came face-to-face with a small black bear. 

Weeds illustration

Nonnatives, Invasives, Weeds

Plants as stories of human meddling

The Wyoming census for the plant kingdom is out! Over 2,900 different kinds of vascular plants grow in the wild in Wyoming according to experts at UW’s Rocky Mountain Herbarium. They include more than 2,500 native species along with 372 nonnative ones as of 2018.

Cheatgrass field

Cheatgrass on Fire

The race to save an ecosystem

Locals speculate that Nevada’s largest fire may have started with a Fourth of July firework launched in a canyon. But no one really knows. The 2018 Martin Fire seemed small and innocuous, until a weather cell moved into northern Nevada.

Wildflowers in field

When Natives Persist

One researcher examines how native plants can compete with invasives

In the spring of 2019 Elizabeth Leger drove out from her botany lab at the University of Nevada, Reno to her field site on the western edge of the 435,000 acres burned in the Martin Fire.

Rainbow over grassy hills

Herbicides in Wildlands

What do we really know about their effects?

As Cara Nelson, a researcher and professor of ecosystem science and restoration at the University of Montana, hiked around Missoula’s foothills, she noticed abundant knapweed and cheatgrass growing amidst native bunchgrasses and wildflowers.

Ventenata in grass field

Early Detection and Rapid Response

Can a highly coordinated team of experts and weed managers stop a new invasive species?

For many westerners, cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is the exemplar invasive weed, well known for thriving in sagebrush landscapes where it crowds out native plants, fuels a devastating fire regime, and threatens wildlife and livestock grazing.

Phragmites in water

Fighting Phragmites

Systematic landscape planning software improves the odds against a despised invasive reed

It’s a hot, sunny day in early April, and I’m out collecting GPS coordinates for stands of wetland vegetation in the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge on the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

Chloe Mattilio with drone controls

The Toadflax Needle in the Wilderness Haystack

Using technology to detect and map new invasive species arrivals

The Noxious Weed

Since dalmatian toadflax was introduced in Wyoming, it has checked off all the boxes of an invasive species—it outcompetes native vegetation, reduces biodiversity, and is not palatable for wildlife or livestock.

Prairie and dirt road with hills in distance

Federal lands in public hands

The long history of Congressional intent to keep public lands public

Bob Keiter is the Wallace Stegner Professor of Law, University Distinguished Professor, and Director of the Wallace Stegner Center of Land, Resources, and the Environment

Federal Lands Infographic - for text equivalent, see chart below

Your Federal Public Lands

The United States of America is unique in the world for its vast system of federal public lands, which make up more than a quarter of the country’s land area. Those federal lands, mostly concentrated in the 11 westernmost states and Alaska, span everything from rivers and canyons to sagebrush steppe and alpine peaks.

Two people on a canoe in a lake

Why We Have Federal Land

The citizens and leaders behind our public land heritage

On June 30, 1864, the US Senate approved a grant of federal land to the state of California, a tract in the Sierra Nevada at the headwaters of the Merced River “known as the Yo-semite valley…with the stipulation…that the premises shall be held for public use, resort, and recreation…for all time.”

National monument picture at sunset

National Monuments and Local Concerns

What it means to have protected public lands in your backyard

Waves lap the shoreline. An endless stellar canopy shimmers in the ink-colored sky. Smoky fragrance drifts from a campfire, and 20 middle school students sit around the dancing flames.

wind-blow, old, dead trees in field of sagebrush


An essay

Sunlight and wind circled me, a girl looking out over the Red Desert and the small stream below. Perched next to a gnarled, twisted juniper that had been dead for my entire life, I sat at the edge of the draw that held the green meadow

Aspen trees with aspen leaf in foreground

What to Do with Wilderness Study Areas?

A collaborative stakeholder group negotiates a solution

On a sunny afternoon in early May, twelve people sat around plastic tables in a classroom in the Carbon County Higher Education Center in Rawlins, Wyoming.