Cheyenne, WY – County memberships in the American Lands Council (ALC) have dropped by almost half since the group working to transfer public lands to states first published a list of members, according to a study by the Western Values Project.

County memberships in the American Lands Council, a national group working to transfer publicly owned lands to states, have dropped by as much as 45 percent – according to an investigation by the Western Values Project. Chris Saeger with the project says drops in membership reflect the A-L-C’s declining influence in Western states.

“Things are not looking good for folks like the American Lands Council and the Bundy folks and others who are advocating for the transfer of federal public lands to states.”

Saeger refers to the group currently on trial for occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He also points to a recent report by the Conference of Western Attorneys General, which concluded that lawsuits to hand over federal lands to states are unlikely to succeed. According to its website, the A-L-C recently met at an undisclosed location in Salt Lake City to discuss strategies going forward. The group did not respond to requests for comments.

Saeger says the battle over who controls federal lands is far from over, and notes out-of-state funders may still be able to keep the A-L-C’s doors open. He says keeping national lands open and accessible for all Americans to hunt, fish, hike and camp drives a multi-billion-dollar recreation economy.

“If you lose that because those lands are ultimately sold off to powerful special interests, then you lose a very significant chunk of the outdoor economy and, more importantly, our way of life.”

Last year the A-L-C removed a list of counties who pay annual dues from its website. The Western Values Project filed formal information requests to the 53 counties formerly listed, and found almost half are no longer members.