The Palisades Project is a film that explores a Wyoming community divided over the future of their public lands, and is the result of a collaboration between the Wyoming Wilderness Association (WWA) and Square State Film (more info below). The film premiered virtually on March 26, 2021 and the recording streamed for one week following. During that time hundreds of people watch the film and have signed our pledge. If you missed seeing the film, please head over to wildwyo.org to join the mailing list for future opportunities to see the film as it hits the road in film festivals this summer.
We hope the film serves as a catalyst for conversation on an issue facing public land management. Within the last few decades, a love for motorized and mechanized recreation has created a wave of opposition to the protections provided by the Wilderness Act of 1964. As this conflict spreads across the west and around the globe, our film uses the Palisades Wilderness Study Area (WSA), located in the Northwest corner of Wyoming, as a case study to evaluate the possibility of a path forward.
When Peggie dePasquale, first took her job at for WWA, the idea of getting to wake up every morning and fight for this state’s wild places could not have excited her more. The degradation from energy extraction, timber harvest and road building to our wild world was something she understood well. However, she was caught off guard when the debate that immediately faced her dealt instead with a community with whom she felt very much a part - recreationists. The conflict between those who want to access wild places either on a bike or with a motor and those who feel strongly these places need to be protected as Wilderness, is becoming one of the leading issues facing land conservation efforts today.
There is no better landscapes to see the implications of this dispute unfold than on the Palisades WSA. A wild landscape that is just one half a the quarter-million acre Greater Palisades area spanning two states, two National Forests and four counties. Mountain Bikers want to ride throughout the landscape; Snowmobilers claim it is the best terrain in the lower 48 states; Conservationist passionately defend it as some of the most contiguous wild country left in our country, deserving nothing short of full Wilderness protection. This heated debate is playing out in real time for the Palisades WSA. However, this conversation is not isolated here, but is occurring across the country and around the globe.
At the same time tensions are growing amongst certain stakeholders, a majority of the public, to whom these lands belong, have been left in the dark. Now, many are unaware of this growing dispute, and many that do know about the issue have flawed understandings about facts. The Palisades Project allows for a baseline of information to be presented, and a sense of responsibility to be bestowed. In its final form, this film demands that the audience, no matter what their background, move towards a solution for the Palisades and other wild landscapes like it. Before opposing sides become any more divided, the issue needs sincere and critical thought in order to move opposing sides towards a solution.
Palisades Project, like all the efforts of Wyoming Wilderness Association, is looking to mobilize our community to join us in finding solutions that protect Wyoming public wildlands. Sign our pledge to commit to finding a solution for the Palisades WSA and wildlands like it.
Wyoming Wilderness Association (WWA) is a state-wide grassroots conservation organization with a mission to protect Wyoming public wildlands. WWA uses education, stewardship and advocacy to bring this mission to life. Check out all their work by clicking the image.
Founded by Mike Vanata, Square State Film is a film & video production company based in Wyoming. Under this banner, a select group of highly skilled and creative individuals gather for one main purpose: to turn artistic vision into reality.