Marathons set for first Wyoming Public Lands Day (VIDEO) - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Marathons set for first Wyoming Public Lands Day (VIDEO)

(NOLS, Youtube)

CASPER, Wyo. — “Run the Red” marathon events in Wyoming’s Red Desert are scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28.

The fifth annual ultra, full and half-marathon events coincide with Wyoming’s first ever “Public Lands Day.”

“Whether one subsists, hunts, fishes, hikes, camps, picnics, climbs, or enjoys any other activity on public land, we all understand on some level the importance of keeping large swaths of land in public trust, owned by the people,” Wyoming Wilderness Association organizer Shaleas Harrison said.

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“This year, WWA invites you to commemorate Wyoming’s first public lands day with us at Run the Red in the Northern Red Desert. ”

The National Outdoor Leadership School shared the following video about the races and the importance of protecting public lands:

The main event this year is the 120 kilometer ultra-marathon, which Harrison says is meant to gain national attention for conservation efforts in the Northern Red Desert.

Photo courtesy of the Wyoming Wilderness Association

“In the past two years, the Red Desert has witnessed unprecedented threats,” Harrison wrote. “BLM sold hundreds of oil and gas leases on thousands of acres within crucial wildlife habitat, including in the migration corridor and sage grouse habitat.”

Image courtesy of the Wyoming Wilderness Association

“Despite all of these setbacks, Wyoming residents statewide spoke on an issue that most believe in—public land. On February 26, 2019, HB 99 establishing a Wyoming Public Lands Day was approved by state legislators and signed by Governor Gordon the following day. Wyoming Public Lands Day will be celebrated annually, starting this year on September 28t.”

The Wyoming Wilderness Association is collaborating with the National Outdoor Leadership School and other sponsors to organize the races. Harrison adds that runners and race attendees will have the opportunity to explore the area, including the Boar’s Tusk, a 400 foot dormant volcanic geological structure, and petroglyphs in the area.

“Run the Red is Wyoming’s premier ultra-, full-, and half-marathon race dedicated to conserving the vast, rugged, and historical landscape of the Red Desert,” Harrison said. “Originally conceived to honor the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the 30th anniversary of the Wyoming Wilderness Act, Run the Red has become an annual celebration of Wyoming’s Red Desert.”

“Runners of all races will experience one of the last undeveloped high desert steppe ecosystems in the country while celebrating this remarkable landscape for Wyoming’s heritage, wildlife, and recreational benefits.”

The races will begin outside of South Pass City and head south towards the Oregon and Honeycomb Buttes, Run the Red’s website says.

“Racers will follow the Oregon and Mormon trails along the continental divide while passing through a maze of buttes, canyons, badlands, Wilderness Study Areas, and miles of wide-open country.”

The event is not just for the runners.

“We encourage you to bring family and friends to explore the desert before and after the race!” the website states. “The Red Desert is a uniquely Wyoming Landscape—one blanketed with sage, carved with colorful badlands, rich with wildlife, and steeped in cultural and historical significance.”

“The Red Desert contains countless opportunities for enjoying wild spaces, including Wilderness Study Areas, the longest ungulate migration route in the lower 48 states, and more.”

For more information about the event, people can check Run the Red’s Facebook page.