Letter to the editor: Gov. Gordon should act on designation now
In 2008, Kniffy Hamilton, the supervisor of Bridger-Teton National Forest, designated “The Path of the Pronghorn” in the section of this important migration corridor that went through Bridger-Teton National Forest. After this designation, many optimists thought that the BLM, private landowners and the state of Wyoming would take steps to continue the designation, which would offer this thousands-of-years-old migration a degree of protection from development and overuse. That did not happen.
Much of the research that was going on 20 years ago was led by Joel Berger. I heard him speak in Pinedale in the early 2000s about the fragile nature of this pronghorn migration. The biggest threats he mentioned were bottlenecks and development right here in Sublette County. When you take into account that these migrating pronghorn begin as far north as Yellowstone and Teton national parks and can end as far south as Interstate 80, this is said to be the longest animal migration in the lower 48 states.
Wyoming has a responsibility to these animals and this natural wonder.
This winter has shown, with pronghorn carcasses strewn from Boulder to Rock Springs, that despite its longevity, nothing can be taken for granted in the world of global warming where unpredictability is the new norm.
Gov. Gordon has taken over the “migration designation” process with a cumbersome plan that has been in limbo for at least three years. Under this plan, if we had one more freaky winter, the 25 percent of the herd that is left could be annihilated.
We, the people who cherish our unique Wyoming wildlife, cannot allow this to happen. I urge all of you who value this ancient and spectacular yearly event to contact Gov. Gordon and urge, through letter writing, the BLM to get this designation done immediately.
Jana Weber, Pinedale