‘Untamed, Wyoming’s Red Desert’ is a personal take on one of my favorite areas in Wyoming. Like most of the country, large portions of the Red Desert have seen a fair share of development. But there are still a handful of pristine, wilderness quality areas scattered throughout the vast landscape, and a majority of them are surrounded by large sections of public land. This video is a wandering tour through many of those locations. They are referred to as Wilderness Study Areas by the federal government, and have been in a limbo status, somewhere between protected and outright ignored, for over 20 years. A wider awareness of these places appears somewhat limited, as most of these WSAs receive only a handful of visitors every year. If you’re looking for accessible, wilderness quality experiences, with unparalleled solitude, surrounded by some of the largest herds of wildlife in the United States, the Red Desert should be on the top of your list.
This video is dedicated to my baby daughter. It is with enthusiasm that I look forward to the opportunity to share these places with her when she is old enough to appreciate them for their uniqueness and beauty. It is our responsibility as stewards of these public lands to keep them safe so that future generations may enjoy them. And to pass on a joy and passion for the wild spaces to those willing to accept it. If we let these places lose their limited protections, they’ll never be the same. The Red Desert has many fragile ecosystems that do not recover well from damage caused by development.
Ashley Holbrook created the custom track for this video. He was an absolute pleasure to collaborate with.
Social media: facebook.com/ashleyholbrookfilmmusic/
Areas photographed in this video:
Alkali Draw Wilderness Study Area
Devil’s Playground Wilderness Study Area
Honeycomb Buttes Wilderness Study Area
Oregon Buttes Wilderness Study Area
Red Creek Badlands Wilderness Study Area
Twin Buttes Wilderness Study Area
Big Sandy Foothills with focus on Elk Mountain and Prospect Mountains
If you read this far, I want to explain my reasoning for not including more night/Milky Way material. There are plenty of people that do this better than me, but my main reason for not doing so is that we’ve already lost the wildness of our night skies. Cities and power plants pollute after dark with low horizon light, while satellites and high altitude aircraft zip in front of the stars. It’s not as apparent to the naked eye, but cameras these days pick up every single object and light source, even in the distance. This is readily apparent in the final sequence of this video, and why I chose to have it as the parting shot. We’ve already lost the wildness of our viewable skies, and that is the price of progress. That is not yet the case for the wilderness on ground.
Cast: Nicolaus Wegner