Wyoming Game and Fish Biologist Mark Smith shows Cody middle school students a live trout while explaining how they are managed in the Shoshone River.
It is clear that Wyoming is blessed with incredible wildlife and fisheries. Many of us believe that these resources are one of the things that make Wyoming a special place to live. That we have this quality of fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing is not by happenstance, and is in no small part due to the efforts of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Sadly, the Department that we so rely upon to keep our wildlife and fisheries healthy has endured heavy cuts in the last year. Right now many cherished and valuable programs have dissapeared or are disappearing due to budget shortfalls caused by inflation. For instance the annual Youth Hunting and Fishing expo, opportunities for the average hunter to hunt/fish on private land (Access Yes program), and the ability of the Game and Fish to respond quickly to agriculture and industry needs. Of increased interest to anglers, Wyoming Game and Fish will stock 1,000,000 fewer fish this coming year in Wyoming waters.
These are all impacts which are of concern to Wyoming TU. We partner with Wyoming Game and Fish on many projects around the state, and believe in the wealth of quality work the agency does to faithfully manage and conserve Wyoming’s fisheries and to educate Wyoming’s people about the resource. In addition, Wyoming’s tourism economy, which is based on our wildlife and fish, generates $1.1 billion dollars annually, second only to the oil and gas industry in revenue. With that in mind, we believe it makes sense to strengthen one of our state’s strongest sectors rather than reduce funding to the agency that ensures there are plenty of fish and wildlife for hunters, anglers, & wildlife watchers.
Thankfully, we can address this situation positively with your help. Wyoming Trout Unlimited endorses two important bills headed to the Legislature during the upcoming session, both of which will help fund our Game and Fish Department. These two bills– one modestly increasing 10% license fees for resident and non-resident hunters and the other funding health care insurance for Game and Fish employees through Wyoming’s General Fund, are critical to keeping Wyoming’s wildlife management intact. Both bills represent short term fixes Game and Fish funding and will start to address inflation’s having caught up to the Department’s budget since the last license fee increase in 2008.
It is critically important to contact your Representative and Senator and request that they restore funding for our Game and Fish Department to ensure our children and grandchildren have the same opportunities that we’ve enjoyed to fish and hunt.
Please ask your elected officials to:
*Support introduction of the Game & Fish Fee increase
*Support the Game and Fish Department request for General Fund money for Healthcare Benefits.
To find your Representative and Senator, click here: http://legisweb.state.wy.us/LSOWEB/LegInfo.aspx
For more information on what you can do please contact Scott Christy, Wyoming Coordinator for TU at 307-332-7700 ex: 12 or firstname.lastname@example.org