Secretary Zinke Announces 20-Year Mineral Withdrawal in Johnny Behind the Rocks Recreation Zone

Area to provide world-class mountain biking opportunities near Lander, Wyoming


Date: June 7, 2018

WASHINGTON – In the spirit of serving America through shared conservation stewardship, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced the withdrawal of public land from mining in the Johnny Behind the Rocks Recreation Zone near Lander, Wyoming. Interior’s Bureau of Land Management will withdraw the land for a period of 20 years for the protection of recreational and cultural resources. The action supports Secretarial Order 3366, signed by Zinke in April 2018, which prioritizes Interior’s recreation mission and calls for increasing access to public lands. Earlier this year, Zinke announced an extension on the mineral withdrawal in the Whiskey Mountain area of Wyoming.

"Public lands are for public use, whether that's energy development, hiking, biking, or grazing. But, I've always said that some places are appropriate for mineral development and some places are not. I think Johnny Behind the Rocks is a perfect example of this balance," said Secretary Zinke. "The president and I believe that the more people we can get out to use and enjoy our public lands, the better. The Johnny Behind the Rocks Recreation Zone will provide world class recreation opportunities and public access for American families for years to come."

The public land order to be published in the Federal Register on June 8, withdraws 4,820.75 acres of federal land from location and entry under the U.S. mining laws, but not from leasing under the mineral leasing laws. Public input gathered during a formal comment period in 2016 showed broad support for the Johnny Behind the Rocks mineral withdrawal.

"Secretary Zinke has been clear: Recreation on our public lands is of the utmost importance," said Rick May, Senior National Advisor for Recreation, who participated in a biking tour of the Johnny Behind the Rocks trails today. "From fishing in the splendid waters of the American Northeast to biking the rugged trails of the Johnny Behind the Rocks Recreation Zone in Lander, Wyoming, enjoyment of the great outdoors is an American tradition like no other. We must be vigilant in defending this heritage, especially for young people as we raise the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. It was great to see fellow bikers on the trail."

The BLM manages public lands for the benefit of current and future generations, and partnerships are vital to accomplish this goal. The BLM has partnered for many years with Lander Cycling, the International Mountain Bike Association and the community to enhance this local recreational area southeast of Lander.

The Johnny Behind the Rocks Trail System, located off Highway 287 near Lander, provides mountain bikers and runners with high desert experiences in a compact area. Most of the system is located on routes that climb to and traverse long and scenic ridgelines. The trails wind and meander through typical Great Basin terrain that ranges from clusters of pinyon-juniper woodlands and open sagebrush meadows while offering spectacular views of the Wind River Mountain Range. The trail is usable much of year, even when recreation opportunities in other areas are limited by weather.