Sharing spaces

Recreators learn to balance multi-use areas

Land can serve multiple purposes for locals, from taking a leisurely hike to raising cattle for income. Khale Century Reno, executive director of Wyoming Wilderness Association, believes that must remain true to preserve open spaces.

“We must keep in check our ego as we look at how to strike that balance to keep ranches thriving and recreational users happy,” Century Reno said, adding that users must be asked to help take care of lands to prevent overuse issues.

One avenue that supports multi-use of land is permitting via the U.S. Forest Service. There is a large variety of Forest Service permits, according to Sara Evans Kirol, public affairs officer for the Bighorn National Forest. Common permits include grazing for livestock raisers, commercial for outfitters and recreational.

Stipulations vary between permits, Evans Kirol explained, but they all have similar requirements that permittees must adhere to federal laws and cannot cause resource damage, echoing Century Reno’s concern for responsible use of public land.

“The Forest Service is mandated by law to be a multi-use agency,” Evans Kirol said. “Multi-use is what the Forest Service does. We may have a project that is for vegetation management, but, within that, there may be wildlife habitat improvement or consideration of recreation for trail construction or trail decommissioning.”

Evans Kirol said a staff of people with diverse resource backgrounds consider decisions with a multi-use perspective to ensure all are brought to the table.

“We manage land and look at it from all points of view,” Evans Kirol said.

Red Grade Trails, managed by Sheridan Community Land Trust, are on both Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land, with Red Grade Road owned and maintained by Sheridan County. New construction planned will add 15 miles of trail on Forest Service land following a request approved by the Forest Service last spring.

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Editor's note: This feature was originally printed in the spring/summer 2020 edition of Destination Sheridan, the official lifestyle and tourism magazine of Sheridan County, created by The Sheridan Press. Pick up a copy of DS, free of charge, at The Press (144 Grinnell Plaza in Sheridan).

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