Wyoming’s 2019 legislative session saw HB0099, a bill designating a statewide “public lands day”, pass through both chambers with flying colors. Effective July 1, 2019, HB0099 requires that the fourth Saturday in September be set aside for the celebration of Wyoming’s 31.4 million acres of public lands. The timing of this holiday is no accident; Public Lands Day coincides with the height of the elk rut, a time of year beloved by Wyoming’s hunting population and integral to the state’s $5.6 billion outdoor recreation economy.
The passage of this legislation comes in the wake of an onslaught of support for public lands across the United States, including public lands rallies in Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, and New Mexico. Yet, few states possess as much huntable land as Wyoming, which ranks high for acres of public land per capita.
Most Wyoming residents recognize their public lands as one of the primary factors behind their decision to live in the state. These lands support multiple uses, from ranching, mining, and energy production, to fishing, hunting, hiking and mountain biking. Given the diversity of user groups in the state, it is fundamentally important to Wyoming’s outdoor culture that we come together around the one thing that unites us: public lands.
The Wyoming Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers was a firm proponent of this legislation, and we look forward to seeing our state’s public trust commemorated each September. Please stay engaged with our work as we move forward with our mission to protect and improve Wyoming’s public lands, waters and wildlife.