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March 26, 2007


Remains of houses 6,000 years old, part of the Oregon Trail, and oil and gas explorations are all part of Wyoming's history found at basically one location -- the Pinedale Anticline. The area is being evaluated by the Bureau of Land Management, and one thought is to designate part of it as a "Rural Historic Landscape." Lesley Wischmann with the Alliance for Historic Wyoming says that would be a good solution that wouldn't "lock up the land" because it allows other uses to continue. One example is mining, which is part of the area's history.

"[There are] places that give us an insight into how mining has developed, because there are older mining sites. And you can learn from the older mining sites and reclaimed areas."

She notes that there are also many spiritual and cultural notes for the area, like tribal sacred sites, and it's where the first Catholic mass west of the Rockies was celebrated. Those wary of a historic designation are concerned it could limit oil and gas drilling. Wischmann thinks of Pinedale Anticline as a living record of human use over thousands of years.

"Without those cultural landscapes, then we start to lose our sense of who we are, and where we came from, and how we got to where we are now."

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WY