When one thinks about Wyoming fishing, it likely isn't Little Mountain that comes to mind. With famous fishing destinations like the Miracle Mile of the North Platte, the Snake River sitting in the shadow of the Tetons or the storied waters of Yellowstone, it is easy to understand why. The region's tiny creeks, most of which you can literally step across, aren't drawing anglers from across the globe.
But Little Mountain, which sits inconspicuously in southwest Wyoming near the borders it shares with Utah and Colorado, is home to some of the state's best, most intact habitat for wild fish. It is also one of the last shelters for the gravely threatened Colorado River cutthroat trout. The region's pristine habitat isn't only a bastion of wild, native fish, it is also offers up some of the most prized hunting grounds in the state. The Greater Little Mountain Coalition calls drawing a deer or elk tag in the region a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hunt some of the best populations of trophy big game in Wyoming."
And it's in trouble.
Like many wild places throughout the US, the Little Mountain region is threatened by natural gas leases or, more to the point, the process of hydraulic fracturing that is used to extract natural gas. In fact, over half the region is currently leased by energy companies.
Those who have visited extoll the beauty and grandeur of the region and those who call it home consider it sacred. And many of those people are fighting to protect and preserve Little Mountain's habitat. The Greater Little Mountain Coalition, supported by a partnership of local citizens and sportsmen's groups like Trout Unlimited, is working diligently with the gas industry to find a way to protect the fish and game of Little Mountain while allowing for responsible energy development.
But, despite years of diligent efforts to sort through the complex energy issues facing Little Mountain and find a future for the region, the threats remain and more support is needed.
The coalition is calling on hunters and anglers to learn more about this unique region and make their voices heard about the importance of preserving it for future generations. You can do so by visiting the coalition's web site and by viewing the recently released video below, where 17-year old Haley Powell tells her Little Mountain story and which features beautiful imagery of the region.