“Forever West” – Wyoming’s state slogan conjures up images of our wide open spaces, rugged mountain ranges, pristine trout-filled rivers and rolling sagebrush dotted with antelope as far as the eye can see. Wyomingites cherish all of these things as essential to preserving our hunting and angling traditions.
From Yellowstone Park in the northwest, to the capitol Cheyenne in the southeast, every resident of the Cowboy State benefits, either directly or indirectly from our fish and wildlife populations and world class sporting opportunities. Fish and wildlife related activities are Wyoming’s second largest industry, bringing approximately $1.1 billion annually to the state.
However, the challenges inherent in an increasingly complex world are threatening the future of our outdoor heritage. An expanding suite of pressures, both natural and human induced, are having a significant impact on Wyoming’s fish and wildlife and sporting opportunity. There is a clear and pressing need to increase the voice and influence of Wyoming’s sportsmen leaders by creating a unified sportsmen’s conservation agenda.
It is the responsibility of Wyoming’s sportsmen to ensure that they have a seat at the table when decisions are being made that affect our traditions and opportunities, and to see that the policies enacted have meaningful input from those who are affected most. Historically a fractured community, the sportsmen and women of Wyoming can ensure they are heard by uniting and speaking with one voice on issues of mutual concern.
Sportsmen must stand up today to preserve and enhance the important hunting and angling traditions upon which our state was founded, and which still provide significant economic engine to Wyoming. By remaining silent we may lose the opportunity to pass along the values this rich heritage impart to the next generation. The establishment of the Wyoming Sportsmen's Alliance will provide a needed platform for sportsmen to share information and collaborate on issues that affect hunting, fishing, access, habitat and fish and wildlife management.
Designated wilderness areas provide important habitat for five of Wyoming’s migratory big-game species, according to a first-of-its-kind mapping project involving wildlife researchers at the University of Wyoming and cartographers at the University of Oregon.
In new maps highlighted in a short film, the researchers detail how elk, mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep and pronghorn all use Wyoming and Colorado wilderness areas, mostly as high-country summer range. It’s the first time that these migration corridors have been mapped to specifically see how animals use wilderness areas.
“We have known for years that undeveloped habitat is crucial for the West’s iconic big game species, but this new compilation of data shows in detail the extent to which these animals migrate through habitats designated as wilderness,” says Matthew Kauffman, a professor at UW who led the effort. “As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, this information illustrates the benefits of those actions taken five decades ago for these important wildlife species and the migration corridors they depend on today.”
Watch the video here