Trout Unlimited and the SCP work to ensure that energy development on public lands is done responsibly. Part of that effort is to undertake campaigns to make sure that some of the most unique, irreplaceable wild areas in the West are set aside and protected from extensive development.
The greater Little Mountain area of southwest Wyoming is one such area. For generations, the public land near Little Mountain has served as a hunting, fishing and recreational paradise for the state's sportsmen. Located 40 miles south of Rock Springs, the greater Little Mountain area supports thriving populations of elk and mule deer and is considered to be one of the best hunting destinations in the state. In addition to healthy sage grouse populations, the landscape also includes a number of productive streams that shelter sensitive populations of Colorado River cutthroat trout.
At the present time, nearly 170,000 acres in the greater Little Mountain area have been leased by the Bureau of Land Management for oil and gas development. That concerns Wyoming's sportsmen, who fear that large-scale energy development will have detrimental impacts on this sporting paradise. Those concerns are valid: According to the Wyoming State Geological Survey, the proposed energy field in the greater Little Mountain area, if fully developed, will be characterized by closely spaced wells, pipelines and associated roads that might turn this world-class hunting area into a barren industrial zone. It's a scenario Wyoming has witnessed before, most notably in the Pinedale area not far to the north. Extensive gas development near Pinedale, where the number of wells drilled in two of the most productive fields increased from 200 to more than 2,600 in the past decade, has decimated an area once known across the West for its exceptional mule deer habitat.
In response, TU and the SCP have helped organize the Greater Little Mountain Coalition (GLMC), a group of hunters, anglers, local business people, union members and conservation organizations whose goal is to protect the area's vital natural resources. Recognizing the unparalleled value of public lands for fish, wildlife and our sporting heritage, the GLMC's goal is to educate and engage hunters and anglers in the land management policies that affect their treasured places to hunt and fish.