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Wyoming Open Spaces Initiative

Wyomingites have demonstrated a desire for healthy, open landscapes, vibrant communities, and growing economies. The Wyoming Open Spaces Initiative is a long-term project designed to support working landscapes for agriculture, wildlife, and sustainable communities through applied research, information, education, and community-based decision making.

The Open Spaces Initiative is a collaborative effort of the Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources, the Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center, the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, the Department of Geography, University of Wyoming Extension, and the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database. The initiative supports Wyoming citizens' effective maintenance our state's open spaces through research, information, education, and decision-making assistance. The research group considers agricultural sustainability, community planning and development, wildlife, and other related cultural, economic, and environmental issues of importance to Wyoming.

Meet the Wyoming Open Spaces Committee members.


This video provides an overview of the second installment in the Wyoming Open Spaces Initiative's Land-Use Planning Series, "Local Government Land-Use Planning in Wyoming."

Recent publications

Wyoming Conservation Easements: Lands, Services, and Economic Benefits by Nicole Korfanta, Benjamin Rashford, Amy Pocewicz, Eric Schacht, Bo Alley, and James Luchsinger, provides an inventory of conservation easements in Wyoming and the types of lands and services they protect.

Local Government Land-Use Planning in Wyoming: Purpose, Process, and Benefits by Jeffrey Hamerlinck and William Gribb is the second installment in the Open Spaces' Land-Use Planning series. This document provides information to help citizens better understand and engage in the planning process in their local communities.

Residential Development Effects on Firefighting Costs in the Wildland-Urban Interface by Anna Scofield, Benjamin Rashford, Donald McLeod, Roger Coupal, Scott Lieske, and Shannon Albeke, suggests ways local governments can reduce wildfire suppression costs by increasing firefighting efficiency through strategic land use planning. 

Targeting Conservation Easement Purchases to Benefit Wildlife by Benjamin Rashford, Abigail Scott, Matthew Hayes, and Hall Sawyer, offers an approach to optimize economic cost, ecological benefit, and development potential when prioritizing conservation easement purchases. Watch a video about this publication.

Public Opinion on Natural Resource Conservation in Wyoming by Kit Freedman and Nicole Korfanta, provides results from a recent statewide poll of 500 likely voters on topics related to conservation and natural resources in the state.

Understanding Wyoming's Land Resources: Land-Use Patterns and Development Trends, by Jeff Hamerlinck, Scott Lieske, and William Gribb, describes how Wyoming's citizens can create and maintain communities where people want to live, work, and conduct business.

Wyoming Conservation Easements publication cover imageCover image of "Local Government Land Use Planning"Cover image of 'Residential Development Effects on Firefighting'Cover image of 'Targeting Conservation Easement Purchases'Cover image of 'Public Opinion on Conservation 2014'Cover image of 'Understanding Wyoming's Land Resources'

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Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources

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804 E Fremont St

Laramie, WY 82072

Phone: (307) 766-5080

Fax: (307) 766-5099


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