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Wyoming

Northern Red Desert

© Kathy Lichtendahl

Highlighted Value

Wildlife and Habitat

Wyoming’s Northern Red Desert is sometimes referred to as “The Big Empty.” Sprawled across nearly 700,000 acres—more than double the size of Grand Teton National Park—the Northern Red Desert is certainly big. But with its extraordinary wildlife, dramatic scenery, nationally important historic trails and expansive wilderness-quality lands, the Northern Red Desert is anything but empty.

The Threat

Oil and Gas Drilling

The BLM is currently revising its management plan for the Rock Springs Field Office, including the majority of the Northern Red Desert. The new plan will decide where and how oil and gas leasing and development occurs for the next 20 years. A 2008 plan for the region made most of the Northern Red Desert unavailable to new leasing or surface disturbance from oil and gas drilling, and only 25,000 acres are leased currently. But with the Trump administration explicitly prioritizing oil and gas development over all other uses of public lands, all of these protections are in grave danger of being rescinded.

These protections have provided a refuge for wildlife from oil and gas development in the region, creating an important island of unleased and undeveloped lands amidst a sea of well pads, pipelines and access roads.
Keep oil development out of Wyoming’s Northern Red Desert

Largely untouched by human development, the North Red Desert is prized for its unique wildlife populations, from tens of thousands of pronghorn antelope to desert-dwelling elk and migrating mule deer. Oil and gas development would disturb and displace these incredible herds. The Bureau of Land Management must keep the current management plan that preserves the strongholds of wildlife habitat in the Northern Red Desert!