Landscape Stewardship Certificates of Appreciation - 2008

THE PUBLIC LANDS FOUNDATION presents the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA) with a Landscape Stewardship Certificate of Appreciation and Citation.  The Foundation grants this recognition to honor private citizens and organizations who work to advance and sustain community-based stewardship on landscapes that include, in whole or in part, public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  Candidates for the award include any private citizen or citizen group of the United States who, over the past 1-5 years, has demonstrated sustained outstanding leadership, vision, and purpose in contributing to BLM’s efforts and in motivating other citizens and institutions to work together to more effectively manage whole landscapes, including watersheds, planning or management units, and other land systems upon which people share a common interest.

In the nomination of Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA), William W. LeBarron, retired BLM manager states, “The checkerboard land pattern of alternate private and public land creates unique challenges for orderly resource management.  RSGA implements management of the expanse of open rangeland as a partnership with the BLM, USFS, Anadarko Land Corp, State of Wyoming and Sweetwater County.”  The area of interest is a strip of land roughly 40 miles wide and 70 miles along, following the railroad from Tipton to Green River, Wyoming, commonly referred to as the “checkerboard.”  There are more than 2 million acres within the checkerboard and they are all managed under the principals of multiple use.

The RSGA is a good neighbor in Sweetwater County.  The people of southwest Wyoming are fortunate to have the open space and freedom to roam outside theirs doors.  The large blocks of public lands are a national asset.  The open access to RSGA lands is major local asset.  Their private lands are open to all citizens for hunting, fishing, shooting and other recreational pursuits.  This is an unusual situation today, when many lands once left open are now closed to the public.

The BLM and RSGA have worked together for 74 years in managing resources associated with the checkerboard.  The following are some examples of this cooperation.

  • There are four wild horse management areas in the Rock Springs District that rely on the habitat found on the checkerboard.  RSGA has always supported sound scientific management of wild horses and cooperated with interest groups to allow these herd areas on RSGA lands.
  • The BLM’s Three Patches Picnic Area is located on RSGA private land by a easement.  The area was developed in the 1960’s with cooperation with the RSGA, BLM and the Kiwanis Club.  This is a popular picnic area for local residents.
  • RSGA, BLM, Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Trout Unlimited have cooperated in efforts to improve riparian areas and restore habitat for the Colorado cutthroat trout in Current Creek.  This restoration was successful and the creek has been re-opened for fishing by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

The Public Lands Foundation is pleased to present the Rock Springs Grazing Association with this Citation and a Certificate of Appreciation for invaluable contributions to the stewardship of America’s public landscapes.

/s/ George Lea