In observance of Free Speech Week, WyoFile is asking readers to submit images of Wyoming that may be subject to the state’s new data trespass laws. (Greg Nickerson/WyoFile)

Did you get a great picture of a bison in front of the mountains this summer?

What about wildflowers? Do you have some landscapes or sunsets from your trips on public land?

Did you ask the Forest Service, BLM or Park Service for permission to take your photograph first? Believe it or not, Wyoming’s new data trespass laws say if you collect such “resource data” from “open land” without permission, and it could be submitted to someone who works for the government, you’re a lawbreaker.

WyoFile is an official partner of Free Speech Week.
WyoFile is an official partner of Free Speech Week.

In celebration of Free Speech Week, WyoFile is asking citizen photographers to submit their once-innocent, now-potentially illegal pictures to WyoFile. Join us in showing Wyoming some examples of photography that, despite the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Wyoming says is illegal now.

Submit your shot for inclusion in WyoFile’s Beautiful but Illegal? Wyoming Photo Gallery. There are just a few ground rules:

  • Photographs must have been taken of “open land” in Wyoming — “land outside the exterior boundaries of any incorporated city, town, subdivision … or development.”
  • Photographs must have been taken after March 5, 2015, the effective date when Gov. Mead signed Senate File 12 into law.
  • Photographs must depict resource data, which Wyoming law defines as “relating to land or land use, including but not limited to data regarding agriculture, minerals, geology, history, cultural artifacts, archeology, air, water, soil, conservation, habitat, vegetation or animal species.”
  • Photographs must have been taken on public land without trespassing on private property. WyoFile does not condone or encourage trespassing on private land.
  • Photographs must have been taken without first asking permission from the public agency that manages the land.
  • Photographs should have a short caption and the way you want your credit to appear.

If you think your picture meets these criteria but shouldn’t be illegal, here’s how to submit it:

— Post on WyoFile’s Facebook page
— or, email to
— or, include in a tweet to @WyoFile with #freespeechwyo

You can also download WyoFile’s free speech logo to use as your Facebook profile image.

For more information on Wyoming’s new data trespass laws (SF 80, enacted on July 1, 2015, and SF 12, enacted on March, 5, 2015) read these WyoFile stories:

Lawsuit challenges constitutionality of data trespass laws, October 2015
Groups sue Wyoming over “data trespassing” law, Sept. 2015
Critics say Wyoming data trespassing law criminalizes science, May 2015
Data trespassing bill is aimed at public lands grazing battle, May 2015
High-stakes suit pits ranchers against water-sampling greens, by E&E,Nov. 2014

Enjoy the Beautiful but Illegal? Wyoming Photo Gallery:

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  1. Photographs must depict resource data, which Wyoming law defines as “relating to land or land use, including but not limited to data regarding agriculture, minerals, geology, history, cultural artifacts, archaeology, AIR, water, soil, conservation, habitat, vegetation or animal species.”

    Air, really??? I would love to see some air pictures… not a flag waving, not a pinwheel spinning, but AIR.

    Well, I guess visiting Wyoming is off the list now!

    Jaminet Rivera

  2. I know it’s going to be a tough year for the Wyoming legislature but I’m sure they will find funds to expand prison capacity for all these lawbreakers.

    Fred Maguire

  3. This is so dumb, I suggest people go back and read the law again. Open land and public land are two completely different things. Open land is very specifically defined unfenced private property not incorporated by a city or township.

    Buck Brown

    1. Glad to see at least one person actually understands the intent of the law. While the liberals bang their drums, they can thank Western Watersheds for the new trespass to collect data law. They had no business crossing private lands or collecting data from such in the first place. I do find it hilarious that so many people think they are being rebellious by taking perfectly legal pictures that will, of course, bring them no contact from law enforcement or the state. However, if the new law eventually gets Mr. Ratner booted from the state I see it as a good thing. Happy photo taking everyone.
      Johnny Stine


        I think you guys have forgotten that were part of this union that’s called the United States of America there’s a thing in the constitution called the Supremacy Clause so any congressional authorized authority such as the EPA BLM Department of the Interior have the right to collect data on all lands pursuant to the specific authorities and that have been delegated to them by the federal government. firet of all it’s just stupid that we have to pass a law that protects private landowners ability dafuq with their land and everyone else downstream. Let me give you a prime example, a rancher is not supposed to allow his cattle to stand in the river and s*** “e coli contamination of the water” so you know somebody down stream let’s say in the Green River watershed, that water makes its way down to the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and then is the total used by the entire city of LA, so since we work as a country and not as individual jackasses we shouldn’t allow the person upstream to be able to privately dump all this s*** on someone else.

        I am appalled by the fact that as a conservative I can no longer take photos and send samples of my harvested animals to the state and to the Fed to check to see if it has wasting disease or any other sort of prion disorder. It says something about our government when we have to legislate things that should be common sense

        And if anybody is really interested in doing some reading here’s a link the legislative session it’s under SF 0 0 1 2

        Matthew Ellingford

    2. Buck Brown seems to be quite wrong in asserting that “open land” does not mean public land. I accepted his invitation to go back and re-read the enrolled act, which is the version that passed the legislature. Open land is defined thusly in Section 1 d. (ii): ” ‘Open land’ means land outside the exterior boundaries of any city, town, subdivision approved pursuant to W.S. 18-5-308 or development approved pursuant to W.S. 18-5-403.” This same definition is used in the Wyoming Statutes that were created by the act (6-3-414 and 40-27-101). Perhaps Mr. Brown can straighten this out.

      As for Mr. Stine’s blaming Western Watersheds for this bill, that’s pretty thin reasoning. In the first place, whether people from Western Watersheds trespassed on private land to collect data is still an open question. They say they didn’t, but some landowners say they did. In the second place, if Western Watersheds trespassed, they ought to be prosecuted under EXISTING law. The only reasonable explanation for the passage of this new law is that the collection of data or information, not trespassing, was the activity that galled certain people, and they needed a new law to turn that previously legal activity into a crime. For this outrageous reaction, we should blame Western Watersheds?

      George Jones

  4. This is some smart, crisp journalism. Kudos to WyoFile. I bet this single initiative “makes a difference.”

    Bruce McCormack

  5. Can you see the haze in those pictures? I can. The cows on reclaimed land has haze. Lake Hattie and the marmot are hazy too. These pics are valuable scientific pics showing the air pollution is Everywhere. We need to do something about this and the laws stopping us from these pics is just what they want stopped. They don’t want proof Wy is polluted out there. Not the water, the land, nor the air. We, the people, get sick and die. They, the leaders, get richer and move away.

    Nadine Girouard

  6. Does it have to be only photos? Wouldn’t a written description, made on public land, qualify as well?

    Tom McIntyre