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WYO Red Desert Summit: Outlaws, Fossils and Spirituality

October 14, 2009

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. - Native Americans, conservationists, church leaders and union members are gathering this weekend for a summit about the exciting past and future of Wyoming's Red Desert. It's an area rich in culture, history and scenic views, as well as oil and gas reserves.

Event organizer Carmi McLean with the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance says participants will talk about how to protect the area, as well as educate the public about what's at stake.

"There's some crown jewels in the Red Desert - Adobe Town, Jack Morrow Hills - an incredible history, whether you're talking fossils, or outlaws, or trails west."

McLean says many Wyomingites are passionate about protecting the area, and those who will attend the summit are a good sampling.

"It's a very diverse and broad-based coalition. The Red Desert is just not about a bunch of 'crazy environmentalists.' There's a lot of people who care very, very much about the Red Desert."

Currently, some oil and gas development is taking place in the area. McLean says there are appropriate areas for that, although she believes the most fragile parts of the Red Desert ecosystem need permanent protection from industry.

The summit begins Saturday, October 17 at 9 a.m., at the Main Campus of Western Wyoming Community College, Rock Springs (Rooms 1302 and 1309). A field tour of Adobe Town is scheduled for Sunday.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY