WPLI Board Named

 Teton County names Wyoming Public Lands 

Initiative Advisory Board 

Teton County commissioners have announced a team of advisors to help develop recommendations for the valley’s wilderness study areas.

The Teton Board of County Commissioners chose from 57 applicants to appoint 17 members of the new Teton County Wyoming Public Lands Initiative (WPLI) Advisory Board. The advisory board will provide local stakeholder input on a recommendation for final designation for the Palisades and Shoal Creek wilderness study areas. The guidance may include recommendations for other wilderness quality lands in Teton County.

The project is part of a larger statewide effort for counties to collaborate in compiling proposals to Congress regarding wilderness study areas statewide.

The advisory board members are, in alphabetical order:

Mike Brennan, conservation law specialist with policy expertise in oil and gas development and endangered species;

Amanda Carey, executive director of Mountain Bike the Tetons and former professional mountain bike racer;

Lloyd Dorsey, conservation director for the Sierra Club Wyoming Chapter with expertise in federal public lands planning processes;

Bruce Hayse, a physician with extensive conservation background, including involvement in the 1984 Wyoming Wilderness Act;

Dave Hodges, Teton County Sheriff’s deputy, licensed guide and outfitter;

Pat Kearney, Wyoming conservation coordinator for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition;

Steve Kilpatrick, Wyoming Wildlife Federation field scientist and former Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologist;

Lisa McGee, Wyoming Outdoor Council staff attorney/program director;

Abigail Moore, environmental law specialist and project manager for Y2 Consultants;

Don Saner, President of Teton Back Country Horsemen and board chair of Back Country Horsemen of America;

Rob Shaul, a fifth generation Wyomingite, former newspaper publisher and owner of Mountain Tactical Institute/Mountain Athlete;

Dan Smitherman, Wyoming representative for the Wilderness Society and neighbor to the Shoal Creek Wilderness Area;

David Sollitt, communications consultant with expertise in wilderness and wild areas relative to economic activity;

Harry Statter, owner of Firewise Landscapes/The Tree and Landscape Company and has expertise in forestry;

Siva Sundaresan, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance conservation director and Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology;

Tom Turiano, author, skiing/hiking guide, and member of American Packrafting Association; and

Jim Woodmency, Mountain Weather meteorologist and former heli-skiing guide in the Palisades WSA.

“It was extremely difficult making our final decisions,” said Vice-Chair Mark Newcomb, who is coordinating WPLI efforts on behalf of the board of county commissioners. “As per the guidelines for the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative process, we were looking for a representative from every stakeholder group, including oil and gas, timber, motorized recreation, mountain biking, outfitter, grazers and conservation. Given Teton County’s legacy of conservation, we had many exceptionally qualified candidates in that field and had difficulty narrowing down that group.”

Commissioners are still looking for representatives for snowmobiling and summer motorized recreation. “Snowmobilers have long ventured into the Palisades Wilderness Study Area, so we know they have a lot at stake and hope we’ll receive an application or two from those groups soon,” Newcomb said.

Commissioners thanked everyone who applied for the advisory board and said they were impressed by all of the applicants’ expertise and passion for Jackson Hole’s public lands.

The new advisory board will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 11. A facilitator from the University of Wyoming’s Ruckelshaus Institute will provide direction into the WPLI process and will aid in promoting group collaboration in the months ahead.

“A spirit of collaboration is certainly in order for a group tasked with tackling a designation that has proven elusive to Federal Land managers for over thirty years,” Newcomb said.

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