Pronghorn – Winter 2017 – Intro
Return to Pronghorn
Dear Members and Supporters,
Wyoming Wildlife Federation and its members achieved many feats in 2016.
At the forefront, we dedicated a large part of the year to keeping your public lands in your public hands by protecting the U.S. Forest Service and BLM land in Wyoming that provides habitat for our wildlife and open access for our members. The legislature introduced two bills related to transferring ownership of and restricting access to public lands during the 2016 session and sportsmen and sportswomen successfully opposed the bills. Later in the year, the state Legislature surprised us again by introducing a proposed constitutional amendment that opened the door to further discussions about transferring public lands to the State. We helped to organize sportsmen for a major public lands rally, held numerous public meetings, and talked with elected officials to help them understand why we believe it is vital to keep public lands in the hands of all Americans. In the end, the legislature listened to Wyoming’s sportsmen community and did not move forward with the proposed amendment. More work remains, however, and we are taking an active role in working on solution-based approaches that help empower public participation in federal management processes to help elected officials move on from the transfer debate. As I write this opening, U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) announced that he is dropping his proposed bill to order the transfer of 3.3 million acres to western states, including 645,000 acres in Wyoming. With great optimism I note that he used the #keepitpublic hashtag in his announcement.
On the conservation front, our big game migration corridors work took a huge step forward when the Game and Fish Commission adopted a set of definitions for the state’s big game migrations policy, and a process to make recommendations to land management agencies on how actions will affect migration corridors in the future. WWF played a large role in the stakeholder process to develop the definitions and policy, and we will continue to work closely on developing a migrations management strategy.
On the ground, we secured funding for major grants for wildlife fencing along the Red Desert to Hoback migration route – a prime mule deer migration route in Wyoming. In addition, we held a wildlife watching tour in Sheridan and two fencing removal days, Laramie and Lander, with our members. The wildlife fencing days resulted in numerous miles of fence to help big game access vital habitats during their seasonal migrations.
Our leadership and collaboration with the Greater Little Mountain Coalition and Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development to protect the highest value fish and wildlife habitats continued its path of success. Most importantly, the Bridger Teton National Forest issued a final decision to protect nearly 40,000 acres in the Wyoming Range from energy development, a culmination of eight years of hard work. We teed up what we hope is a similar decision in the Greater Little Mountain Area through our efforts to gain support from local, state and federal land managers for the Greater Little Mountain Coalition Proposal for the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan (RSRMP). The RSRMP is expected to open for public comment this spring and we will be asking you to voice your support.
As we turn the page toward 2017, I want to thank you for your engagement and support of this organization over the past year. We are redoubling our efforts to bring our members together for habitat projects, educational events or simply having a conversation with you about important issues impacting our wildlife across Wyoming. When you see notice of an event in your area please do join us – whether you are a teacher, firefighter, coal miner, rancher, banker or lawyer, we know you care about Wyoming’s wildlife and open spaces and we want to continue to visit with you about how to continue helping WWF’s work be successful.