The federal government controls close to half of the state’s land area. This land is primarily administered by the National Park Service, the United States Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. Conflicts between state and federal agencies over land use have a long history in the state. In the late 1920s Wyoming Congressman Charles E. Winter asked Congress to return control over federal lands to the state. Unsuccessful attempts, such as this one, to gain greater control over federal lands have been led by ranchers and individuals from the mining industry. Many other residents, particularly those who enjoy outdoor sports such as hunting, fishing and hiking, generally have opposed these cries for state control over public lands. The issues involving control of public lands remain among the most hotly debated among the people of Wyoming.
In 1988 a series of devastating forest fires blackened nearly one-quarter of the land area within Yellowstone. Naturalists, however, claimed the burn was healthful to the Yellowstone environment as it created new habitat for plants and animals. Annual visitation to the park continued to grow as the park recovered. Tourism, hunting, and fishing remain significant industries in the state. Wyoming has experienced numerous booms and busts. Rising energy prices in the late 1990s and early 2000s led to increased exploration for oil and natural gas. Private companies leased public lands for drilling and brought in many workers. While increasing the state’s revenue, the energy boom also created problems, according to critics. These problems range from rising drug usage and suicide rates to environmental threats such as air and water pollution, and habitat loss. "Wyoming" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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