Ask anyone in the West to conjure up an image of public lands and you will get a variety of answers. Even here in Wyoming, some may think of soaring mountains peaks with alpine meadows. While others may think of open, sandy, dry desert lowlands with otherworldly rock formations. And yet others will see miles and miles of soft, rolling plains, dry creek beds and small stands of trees. Wherever your mind’s eye goes when you think about public lands, every image shares one thing in common; each and every one of them are lands held in trust by our government for all of us to use and enjoy. And for the millions of people who do enjoy them, the benefits to themselves, their families and to the surrounding communities is almost incalculable.
As our world becomes increasingly urbanized, frantically paced and full of modern pressures, recreationists are growing more and more conscious of the need to protect our public lands so generations to come can enjoy them. And part of that protection includes ensuring our lands aren’t shut to recreation of all types.
This is why AMPL exists, to ensure, while our members are out there hiking, biking, riding and roaming around enjoying all our public lands have to offer, someone is watching over the decision-makers to ensure they keep our lands open. And to ensure the lands we do use continue to have good stewards and are maintained appropriately.
To that end, it has been my pleasure to be the Executive Director of AMPL for just over a month now. I would be remiss if I didn’t say the learning curve is pretty steep and I’m barely able to see the top of the mountain. But I’m climbing!
I came to this job having done a little work on public lands policy but having a very strong skill in the political and policy process. The stewardship of our federal lands is a very complicated and nuanced process, in part, because of the number of passionate stakeholders. But in many ways, this is what is so uniquely American about our public lands, like this exceptional country of ours, our public lands require the cooperation and compromise of all parties to ensure they are managed and used appropriately. Without that shared work, chaos ensues.
I’m excited about the collaboration and work to come. And I’m excited for the future of AMPL and the growth ahead of us. Thank you for stopping by to read this blog. I hope you will keep coming back to learn more about our public lands, the work we are doing here at AMPL and how you can help ensure all users can recreate on our beautiful public lands!