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Wyoming: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Following are some of the questions the Public Lands Information Center has recently received from the public about recreation in Wyoming.

Do`s and Don`ts on BLM Lands
FLMPA, NEPA, and other Environmental Legislation
Homesteading on BLM Land
UN Biospheres and Roadless Areas
Are There Any Public Lands For Sale
Township and Range Finder

Do`s and Don`ts on BLM Lands

Question: I am looking for information on the do`s and dont`s reagarding BLM land. Questions such as hunting, shooting, hiking, camping etc...


An old Utah cowboy we met a few years back answered your question this way: "That`s where you go hunting or camping or picking wildflowers, and ain`t nobody can tell you what to do. Because that`s land that belongs to me, and to you, and to everyone else."

WELL, IT`S NOT QUITE LIKE THAT ANYMORE; there are a few rules, or as you put it, do`s and dont`s.

  • HUNTING/FISHING are regulated by the AZ Department of Game and Fish, check the hunting or fishing proclamations for species, seasons and other regulations.
  • TARGET SHOOTING is ok as long as you make sure you have an embankment or hill behind your target so that your bullets don`t go flying all over the place. Make sure you are not disturbing wildlife or domestic animals with your shooting. And please pick up your spent cartridges or shotgun shells--it`s your land, after all, you don`t want to mess it up now, do you?
  • CAMPING: unless you are in a special management area, you can camp pretty much anywhere you want as long as you stay on established roads while getting there and stay at least 1/4 mile from stock tanks and other water sources. Pack out all trash, please. Camping in washes may be hazardous to your health during the summer monsoon season.
  • HIKING: again, unless posted otherwise, go where you please.
  • CAMP FIRES: ok, unless fire danger is high or posted otherwise. A shallow trench which can be filled when you leave is preferable to fire rings. Please be careful and make sure your fire is dead and out before you move on. Check the news section for updated fire information.
  • DRIVING: unless you are in a special OHV management area, please stay on established roads or OHV trails. Much of BLM-managed public lands are leased for grazing, please leave gates as you find them (if closed, close after crossing, if open, leave open. If locked, turn around). Do not disturb livestock.
  • MORE DRIVING: wilderness areas and wilderness study areas are closed to all mechanized modes of travel including mountain bikes and roller blades.
  • WHEN NATURE CALLS: bury human waste at least 6 inches deep, pack out toilet paper and feminine hygiene items with your trash.
  • ARCHAEOLOGICAL OR HISTORICAL SITES: enjoy looking, photographing, and exploring these remnants of the past but take away nothing but photographs and memories.
  • COLLECTING: Generally, collecting of rocks, harvesting plant food, etc is permitted for your personal use, and collecting for commercial use (e.g. for resale) requires a permit. Exceptions include collecting jade (requires a permit for everyone), harvesting endangered, threatened or otherwise protected species, or collecting within areas of critical environmental concern or other special management areas. If you are unsure about the rules for a specific area, please feel free to contact us.

MORE INFORMATION: if you have a specific are in mind, you can always contact the AZ PLIC or the nearest BLM office. THE BOTTOM LINE is that on BLM-administered lands you can come closer to experiencing the freedom and adventure our west-bound ancestors knew than on any other public land. Remember, these are your lands--take good care of them. Have fun!

FLMPA, NEPA, and other Environmental Legislation

Question: I was reading a news story about the BLM that mentioned FLMPA and NEPA. What are they?

Answer: They are government acronmyms for laws which govern the land management policies for the BLM (Federal Land Policy and Management Act), and other Department of Interior and other agencies (National Environmental Policy Act).

If you are interested in other environmental legislation still in the news, you might also want to check out the Endangered Species Act. the National Forest Management Act, the National Antiquities Act of 1906 (a favorite invocation of President Clinton), and the Organic Act.

And when you get really curious, try:
Department of Interior Legislative Links
Forest Service Directives

Homesteading on BLM Land

Question: I am trying to find information regarding public land in the state of Wyoming that may or file a claim (homestead)for the purpose of building a home on...It is my understanding that there is land available to citizens of the USA. Please advise me so I may contiue my search. Thank you.

Answer: In 1976 Congress repealed the Homestead Act and established as policy to keep what remained of the Public Domain in public ownership. Although homesteading is a thing of the past, the Bureau of Land Management does, occasionally, have some lands suitable for purchase by private citizens. These are lands that have been identified as unneeded by the Federal Government or as better utilized in private ownership. By law, these lands are made available for sale at no less than fair market value. To find out what lands the BLM may have listed for sale in Wyoming, please contact:
BLM State Office
2515 Warren Avenue
PO Box 1828
Cheyenne, WY 32003
Telephone: 307/775-6117

UN Biospheres and Roadless Areas

Question: Dear keepers of the land, I have some concerns. At Yellowstone and the Smokies the old signs have been removed and new ones put up. The new ones say United Nations biosphere. A week ago Clinton signed another treaty that will make the Parks roadless. Would you please respond to my concerns. Thank-you

Answer: UN Biosphere signs at Yellowstone and the Smokies.

"Biosphere Reserve" is an international designation for protected, natural environments where conservation is combined with the sustained economic use of natural resources. Each biosphere reserve represents a specific ecosystem and a place where government policy makers, scientists, and local people cooperate to manage land and water resources to meet human needs while conserving natural resources. In the United States, the designation of sites is voluntary.

Several years ago a number of people had the impression that the federal government was giving the United Nations sovereignty over lands in the United States, particularly in the national park system. What precipitated this impression was the appearance of informational signs (like the ones you mention) in some national parks, signs which identified these areas as world heritage sites or biosphere reserves. Since both of these designations are conferred by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)it was mistakenly believed that the United Nations have "taken over" these lands.

Neither "biosphere preserve" nor "world heritage site" designations place US public lands in any kind of a United Nations land use program. Nor do these designations create United Nations reserves in the United States. America`s public lands still belong to the people of the United States.

Roadless Policy

Your second concern probably involves the policy, approved on January 5, 2001 by President Clinton, which bars construction of new roads on 58.5 million acres, or 31 percent of the National Forest system. According to the President, these areas will continue to provide opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hunting, fishing, mountain biking, off-road vehicle use on designated trails, and hiking. The policy does not bar any uses of existing roads.

Not everybody was happy with the President`s decision and several lawsuits have been filed already by recreationists and commercial users to reverse the policy.

Are There Any Public Lands For Sale

Question: I heard about a place where you could buy plots of public land from the goverment. The web site was publicland.com is this a true thing or a scam? thank you for your time

Answer: There isn`t much public land for sale because of a congressional mandate in 1976 to generally retain public lands in public ownership. The Bureau of Land Management does, however, occasionally sell parcels of land where their land use planning finds that disposal is appropriate.

The BLM can select lands for sale if, through land use planning, they are found to meet one of three criteria: 1/ they are scattered, isolated tracts, difficult or uneconomic to manage; 2/ they were acquired for a specific purpose and are no longer needed for that purpose; 3/disposal of the land will serve important public objectives, such as community expansion and economic development.

The BLM has three options for selling land: modified competitive bidding where some preference to adjoining landowners are recognized, direct sale to one party where circumstances warrant, and competitive bidding at public auction.

Your best bet is to contact the specific BLM state office with jurisdiction over the area you are interested in.

"Are There Public Lands For Sale?" is a free brochure produced by the BLM. It lists all the BLM state offices and answers frequently asked questions regarding land sales. We will be happy to send you a copy if you email us your address.

Township and Range Finder

Question: I would like map software that I can search by Range, Township, and Section. Does such a CD/DVD exist?

Answer: For questions of this nature, you can refer to the BLM`s PLSS (public land survey system). You can zoom in on an area & ID it by Township & Range, or do a search for a specific township. Very handy! And it`s free!! It`s designed for downloading GIS shapefiles (for use with ESRI software), but once you identify the correct township, we`re happy to help you find the correct paper map to go with it, if you need one.

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