Policy Sciences

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 95–111 | Cite as

The American West’s longest large mammal migration: clarifying and securing the common interest

  • David N. CherneyEmail author
  • Susan G. Clark


Over the last 10 years, conflict has grown over a 170-mile pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) migration between Grand Teton National Park and the Upper Green River Basin in western Wyoming. Resolving conflict in the common interest is proving difficult. This movement is the longest mammal migration in the lower 48 states, spanning the jurisdiction of three federal agencies, three Wyoming counties, and over 40 private landowners. In addition, there are over ten non-governmental conservation organizations, two major state agencies, Wyoming’s executive office, and many citizens involved in the issue. There are three major problem definitions serving the beliefs of participants: the ecological-scientific (conservation biologists, environmentalists), local rights (local control, property rights), and cultural value (historic, western heritage) definitions. These definitions challenge the social and decision making processes of regional communities and government agencies. Underlying the problem of securing the common interest is the highly fragmented patterns of authority and control, misorganized arena(s), and parochial perspectives of many participants. Options promoted by participants can be loosely classified as top-down (government, expert driven) versus bottom-up (local, practice-based) approaches and reflect preferences for the distribution and uses of power and other values. Given the social and decision making context of this case, the bottom-up, practiced-based approach would likely best secure a common interest outcome.


Policy process appraisal Common interest Problem definition Conflict Wildlife management and policy Practice-based approach Wildlife migration Transboundry management 



We thank Jason Wilmot and the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative for their support of our research. We also thank the individuals who graciously gave up their time to discuss the pronghorn migration issue with us. Space prevents us from naming them all. This research would not have been possible without the generous financial support of the Sussman Foundation, the Carpenter-Spellen-Melon Fund, LightHawk Inc., Denver Zoological Foundation, Wilburforce Foundation, Tides Foundation, and Phil and Patty Washburn.


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Occupations, affiliations, or residential locations of anonymous interviewees and date of interviews

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Science and Technology Policy ResearchUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Yale School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesNew HavenUSA

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