From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 6, Number 44 - January 25, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Golf course expands to migration route

by Cat Urbigkit

Members of the Golf Course Expansion Committee reported to the Sublette County Commissioners Tuesday that the Bureau of Land Management and Wyoming Game and Fish Department threw a loop in the committee’s expansion project two weeks ago by telling the committee that the central part of the expansion area is part of a big game migration corridor that cannot be developed so long as the migration route is in existence.

The county is in the process of acquiring BLM land to expand the existing golf course at Pinedale, but a recent review of the plan revealed the migration corridor.

The committee can’t use the central part of the course until the migration corridor “goes away,” according to committee member Jerry Morrell. Morrell said that with all the development that has occurred near Pinedale, and with more development proposed, the migration corridor might soon cease to exist.

As expected, the golf course committee isn’t happy about the new revelation because it has spent all the money on design for the expanded course, “and now we’re back to point A,” according to Morrell.

“Thanks to the BLM,” added committee member Susan Truluck.

The project architect noted that with a new well site and a new road, as well as topographical limitations, the constraints on the project are getting complicated. The new road could severe the migration route, making the golf course expansion issue mute.

The commission questioned the notion that expanding the golf course – in fact, creating more green space – would be a significant action that would severe the migration corridor.

Commissioner John Linn said the significant impact is occurring to the expansion proposal, by the taking of half the project area by restricting development.

The BLM has suggested that one solution to the issue is to have the BLM transfer an additional 110 acres to the county, for a total of 390 acres, with a restriction on development in the center parcel so long as the migration corridor exists.

Caleb Hiner of the BLM also told the commission that the expansion project may end up having to be subject to an environmental impact statement. Although the federal agency is in the process of preparing an environmental assessment, if a decision, expected within the next six months, determines the expansion may have a significant impact, then the agency would proceed with preparing an EIS, a process that usually takes years.

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