Into the Big Empty The Big Empty, The Great American Desert, the Red Desert: These are just a few of the names given to the stretch of land covering much of southwestern Wyoming and part of Colorado. This 6 million acre landscape remains arguably the largest unfenced land left in the Lower 48. But it might not remain so for much longer. The desert is a gold mine for energy. Oil and gas, uranium, open-pit coal mining, wind and oil shale have turned the desert into a checkbook for development. The advantage of the desert's size is that there could be room for both. A proposed National Conservation Area would protect about a million acres of the desert, protecting a vital corridor for wildlife while allowing development that could support energy independence. That's if we can remember what the Red Desert means to us all. Here, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid used the hoodoo canyons of Adobe Town as their hideout. Tens of thousands of pronghorn and wild horses migrate across the high steppe. In the North, the largest sand dune system in North America rolls from one end of the desert to the other, and if you're not careful, you may crunch fossils beneath your feet. Annie Proulx, the author of Brokeback Mountain, famously said the Red Desert is a hard place to love. She is right. For most people, what they see of the desert as they zip along I-80 is a land that at first glance seems barren and flat and the same for as far as the eye can see. My hope with these images is to peel back that veil a little bit. There's a lot more in the Big Empty than you might expect. Not just the physical, but that remembrence of things inherently human, that sense of adventure and challenge. It is a true remant of the Wild West, where there are no rules except whether you can survive against the elements.