The "Outlaw Triangle," named because Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid used the area as a hideout in the late 1800s, includes the Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam and Little Mountain south of Rock Springs. Together, the area boasts trophy hunting for big game and trophy fishing in the Green River, and backcountry angling for native Colorado River cutthroat trout. However, much of Little Mountain has been leased for oil and gas drilling, and the Green is targeted for a trans-basin water diversion project which could threaten one of the West's best trout fisheries.
For generations the Greater Little Mountain area has served as a hunting, fishing and recreational destination for Wyoming's sportsmen and their families. While relatively unknown to many, this area is truly one of the West's hidden gems. However, the future of this great public landscape is uncertain as it faces pressure from extensive energy development, the kind of development that in past years has devastated fish and big game habitat in other parts of the state such as the Pinedale Anticline.
Drawing a deer or elk tag in the Little Mountain area is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity since the area holds some of the best populations of trophy mule deer and elk in the state. For those who enjoy chasing native trout on small streams in remote country, Little Mountain is a favorite, because the area holds excellent conservation populations of native Colorado River cutthroat trout.
The unique qualities of the Greater Little Mountain area represent what is best about the public lands hunting and fishing heritage of the West. For this reason local sportsmen, outfitters, small businesses, union workers and concerned individuals have joined together to form the Greater Little Mountain Coalition. The coalition seeks to find balanced solutions that ensure the area's great hunting and fishing opportunities are preserved for future generations, while supporting responsible energy development.
What sportsmen can do to help:
For years the Green River tailwater below Flaming Gorge Dam, not far from Little Mountain, has been one of the best blue ribbon trout fisheries in the country. With access for both riverbank fishing and for boating, this section of the Green cuts through a beautiful red rock canyon situated almost solely on public land within Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. Anglers who would rather explore Flaming Gorge Reservoir will not be disappointed. Over 90 miles long, the reservoir offers excellent fishing for lake trout, rainbows, kokanee, bass and trophy browns.
The Green River is truly an outdoors paradise, and not just for anglers. Sportsmen who like to combine fishing with outstanding hunting will find plenty of opportunities. The area boasts excellent waterfowl and grouse hunting, and big bulls and bucks haunt the rims of the canyon.
There is trouble in paradise, however, because this amazing stretch of fish and game habitat is threatened by proposals to pump over 250,000 acre feet of water per year out of the Green River above the dam. These plans call for the water to be pumped hundreds of miles away to municipalities that have outgrown their own ever-increasing demands. Sportsmen need to ask this question: Do we really want to threaten this outdoors mecca so people in distant urban areas can water their lawns and gardens?
The Green River has been deemed eligible and suitable by federal agencies for scenic status under the Wild and Scenic act. While currently being managed as scenic, the river has never been permanently protected. Trout Unlimited believes these hunting and angling values should be protected in perpetuity, and gaining scenic status for the river could hinder future plans for trans-basin water diversions from the Green. As one TU member from Vernal, Utah has clearly stated, "I don't want to look off this dam in 20 years and tell my kids that there used to be great fishing on this river."
What sportsmen can do to help: