Industry, Public Lands, and Historic Landscapes

By Katherine Kasckow, Diversity Initiative Researcher

April 27, 2016

In 2012 the local cement quarry wanted to have access to a vista which overlooks Laramie Valley just off of Happy Jack Road. They wanted to use the land for the available resources it provided, which would involve digging up rocks on the plot. The cement company went through an assessment process before it could use the land. Potential use of the site was stopped after the assessment due to ties with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 and the Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The land falls under National Environmental Policy Act considerations because it is within Medicine Bow National Forest. Additionally, the site is protected under the Historic Preservation Act because it is part of a historic route through Wyoming that was called Evan’s Pass, established in 1866. 

Public lands often become contentious subjects concerning the balance of economy, nature, and history.

Public lands often become contentious subjects concerning the balance of economy, nature, and history.

I recently went up to the area to check out the landscape. I was met with an enjoyable view of Laramie Valley.  The drive up was fairly easy. My car definitely does not have four-wheel drive, which is really saying something about the accessibility of the vista. As I reached the end of the road, I drove past a couple playing with their dog. Foot traffic might not be as high as other sites in the national forest, but the location is known by a lucky few. As I walked down the road, I noticed a fence with a no trespassing sign. I wondered who owned the property. Once I got back to my home, I went online to the Albany County Assessor’s office which showed that the private property around the vista was owned by the local cement and cattle company. Though the surrounding property might be privately owned, the vista itself still remains in the possession of the National Forest Service, allowing access to anyone. 

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