2014 Annual Report


25 Years Strong, Shaping Our West

For over 25 years, Sonoran Institute has been a pioneer in efforts to unite and celebrate the best of Western culture, history, nature and urban spaces by making connections, seeking practical solutions and promoting long-term sustainability. View and download our 2014 Annual Report to see all that we've done up through 2014 and what we plan on doing as we move forward.

2040 Vision

  Stategic Framework Cover

Strategic Framework

For the last 25 years, we have been successfully helping people in the West build the communities they want to live in while preserving the West that brought them here. Discover our vision for our next 25 years. 

Our Letter to You

Read our 2040 Vision 

Contacts - Natrona County

John Heyneman
Project Manager
Sheridan, WY

Read the Report.

Read the Fiscal Impact Analysis. 

Counties in the American West face a special challenge: how to provide public safety, road, fire, andother fundamental services to people living in wide open landscapes. Long roads, old bridges, and far-distant fire stations all come with a price tag, but exactly how much do all these services cost, and how can a county government make smart decisions about future growth?

Senator Alan K. Simpson - for webFinding the balance between fostering development and keeping the Wyoming we love, is terribly hard, but few things worth doing are ever easy.”

U.S. Senator Wyoming (Ret.) Alan Simpson




A new report commissioned by the Sonoran Institute, and performed by RPI Consulting, shows a clear picture of the impact that various development patterns can have on a county’s budget. The results are clear: developments that are adjacent or near to urban centers (metro infill), are much more fiscally responsible than rural exurban and ranchette-style developments, which are farther away from service centers.

John Heyneman for webI think individual landowners have a right to do what they want with their land; they don’t have a right to be subsidized for it.”

John Heyneman, Sonoran Institute.




Gabe Preston RPI Consulting Casper WY 9-2012"When [counties are] making decisions that affect their development patterns, they are also making decision about their fiscal situation.”

Gabe Preston, RPI Consulting






News & Updates

CASPER, WY - Sept. 20, 2012 - The study, commissioned by the Sonoran Institute and performed by RPI Consulting, focuses on the three main development types common in unincorporated portions of Natrona County, Wyoming. These development types are: ranchette, rural exurban, and metro infill. Ranchette and rural exurban developments are located far from metro areas or service centers, whereas metro infill developments are adjacent to the existing infrastructure of towns and cities.  Read the PRWeb Article.

CASPER, WY - Sept. 11, 2012 - Drawing the crowd was Preston’s recent study -- commissioned by the Sonoran Institute and conducted by RPI Consulting -- which focused squarely on development trends in Natrona County. The study suggests a link between increased driving in Natrona County -- spurred by development in the past decade -- and increased stress on Natrona County’s budget. Read the Casper Tribune story by Leah Todd

CASPER, WY - Sept. 4, 2012 - A study to be presented to the Natrona County Commission this week shows the cost of providing services to large rural subdivisions far outstrips the income they generate to the county. Read the Casper Journal article by Leah Todd

CASPER, WY - Aug. 30, 2012 -- Wyoming Public Radio interviews John Heyneman on the cost of providing residential services in a wide open county like Natrona County. Listen to the interview

CASPER, WY - Aug. 28, 2012 — A new study released today by the Sonoran Institute reveals that certain types of residential developments are likely to create large budget gaps in unincorporated portions of Western US counties, leaving many counties struggling or failing to meet costs for basic fire, police, and infrastructure maintenance services.  Read the release.



Senator Alan K. Simpson - for webOpen Letter to the Citizens of Wyoming
U.S. Senator Alan K. Simpson (Ret.)
In 1975 I was a member of the Wyoming Legislature when we passed (and Gov. Ed signed into law!) the Wyoming State Land Use Act, which required counties and cities and towns in Wyoming to prepare and adopt local land use plans. The act did not require the adoption of any zoning regulations to implement the local land use plans. In the same 1975 session, I introduced and successfully led the passage of the Wyoming Real Estate Subdivision Act, which required permits for land subdivision in counties and established minimum standards for subdivision approval.

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