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Lightning strike in the Thunder Basin National Grassland. Photo by Joe Riis/USFS.

Thunder Basin National Grassland

The Thunder Basin National Grassland spans 875 square miles in northeastern Wyoming's Powder River Basin between the Big Horn Mountains and the Black Hills. The semi-arid grassland ranges from 3,600 to 5,200 feet elevation, and provides recreation opportunities such as hiking, sightseeing, hunting, and fishing, as well as year-round wildlife habitat, livestock forage, and mineral resources including some of the nation's largest coal mines. Intermingled federal, state, and private lands create management complexities in the grassland.

Collaboration in the Grassland

In early 2015, the U.S. Forest Service, approached the University of Wyoming Ruckelshaus Institute to ask for assistance exploring stakeholder perspectives regarding prairie dog issues and the possibility for engaging in a collaborative process on the Thunder Basin National Grassland. The process revealed that stakeholders desired a collaborative process to address management questions in the grassland. The Forest Service has engaged the Ruckelshaus Institute in this ongoing collaborative work.

Click the following links for more information:

Cooperative Working Group

The Supervisor of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland is the convener of a Cooperative Working Group for the Thunder Basin National Grassland. The Cooperative Working Group is a discretionary group, comprised of state, local, federal, and tribal governments, which provides a collaborative venue for sharing information about issues affecting land and resource management in and around the TBNG.

The primary purposes of the Cooperative Working Group are to:

  1. Facilitate meaningful communications and interactions between governments to address specific topics of interest;
  2. Strengthen relations between governments that have authority and interest in matters involving lands and resources in and adjacent to the TBNG;
  3. Foster an atmosphere of cooperation, trust, creativity, and group unity; and
  4. Facilitate relations between participants and government entities.

The Cooperative Working Group is an information gathering process, a forum for the free flow of information, and an opportunity to learn about plans, procedures, goals, and objectives of the Forest Service and other governments and agencies represented. In a case-by-case basis, the group may inform management activities and inform the general type, location, and sequence of management activities within administrative and cooperative action areas, engage and inform or promote collaborative efforts, or be used solely as an information gathering process. 

The 2017 Thunder Basin National Grassland Collaboration Report from the Ruckelshaus Institute is now available.



Meeting 1 February 27, 2017, Douglas, Wyoming

Meeting 2 April 13, 2017, Weston County Senior Center, Newcastle, Wyoming, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Meeting 3 June 7, 2017, Campbell County Fire Department Training Center, 701 Larch St, Gillette, Wyoming, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Meeting 4 Sept 7, 2017, Converse County Library, 300 E Walnut St, Douglas, Wyoming, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Meeting 5 October 11, 2017, Newcastle, Wyoming

Meeting 6 December 7, 2017, County Fire Training Center, 701 Larch St, Gillette, Wyoming



Resources for Landowners






Matt Avery

Rusty Bell

Campbell County Commission


Jennifer Hinkhouse

Jay Quintanilla

Campbell County Conservation District


Quade Schmelzle


Campbell County Weed and Pest


Tony Lehner

Rick Grant

Converse County Commission


Michelle Huntingon

Stan Mitchem

Converse County Conservation District


Cheryl Schwartzkopf

Jesse Butler

Converse County Weed and Pest


Raesha Sell

Sarah Anderson

Crook County Natural Resource District


Andrew Litzel


Crook County Weed and Pest


Patrick Wade


Niobrara County Commission


Matt Dockery

Lisa Shaw

Niobrara County Conservation District


Gail Mahnke


Niobrara County Weed and Pest


Marty Ertman

Tony Barton

Weston County Commission


Bill Lambert


Weston County Commission


Lacey Sloan

David Tysdal

Weston County Natural Resource District


Hale Redding


Weston County Weed and Pest


Michael Valle

Rick Miller

Bureau of Land Management


Clayton Schmitz

John Hartung

Natural Resources Conservation Service


Mike Foster

Paul Kokes

Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service


Brad Rogers

Tyler Abbott

US Fish and Widlife Service


Shane Walker

Dennis Jaeger

US Forest Service


Jessica Crowder

Matthew Fry

Governor's Office


Ben Bump

William Rose

Office of State Lands


Joe Budd

Chris Wichmann

State Department of Agriculture


Slade Franklin


State Weed and Pest


Amanda Withroder


Wyoming Game and Fish: Habitat


Zack Walker

Nichole Bjornlie

Wyoming Game and Fish: Non-game


Aaron Voos




Sandy Henning




Jessica Western


Ruckelshaus Institute


Victoria Zero


Ruckelshaus Institute


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