Public is helping Game and Fish forge its future
CODY - After months of taking public input on the future of Wyoming’s wildlife there is now a report available summarizing that input. These thoughts from residents, non-residents and employees will be used by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to chart a path ahead and specifically a first-of-its-kind strategic plan.
The public had many ways to participate including public meetings, an online forum, as well as a random telephone survey of 2,558 Wyoming citizens and focus groups. The online forum is continuing to be a place where people can go and give their ideas. The forum is accessible at wgfd.wyo.gov.
In every setting the data shows the public has overwhelming support for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and its work to conserve wildlife and serve people. The public and employees did offer many ideas on how to the agency can improve in the years to come. The report on this input is on Game and Fish’s website.
The telephone survey provides scientific data showing opinions and concerns of Wyoming residents. The biggest concerns are:
• For all residents - the viability of wildlife populations, poaching, and wolf management.
• Regarding hunting - it is access.
• For fishing and boating - invasive species.
• Regarding educational programs of the Game and Fish Department is that more are needed in schools.
• Finally, the top issues confronting wildlife enthusiasts who do not hunt, fish, or trap it is dissemination of information and access.
The general public also said that they believe Game and Fish is highly credible and they are satisfied with the agency. “Our employees work very hard to be listeners and to be leaders in the world when it comes to being exceptional biologists and conducting law enforcement efforts. This feedback is appreciated as are all of the comments people took the time to give,” said Scott Talbott, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “We can get better and now we have specific direction on areas the public wants us to focus.”
Game and Fish will now build a strategic plan using this data. That will be done in June 2018. The data was gathered by Responsive Management, a survey research firm specializing in capturing and analyzing public opinions toward natural resources and outdoor recreation, and The Cooperation Company, a firm specializing in strategic and operational planning for this significant project.
The telephone survey shows Game and Fish can improve by continuing to work on access for all users of wildlife, listening to the public and incorporating feedback into decision making, adding law enforcement and providing more outreach to those who do not hunt and fish.
The public meetings and online forum gives more detail on why people have these opinions and give more insight about ways Game and Fish can get better. Examples are how the licensing regulations and the website could be simplified. Also, those who have strong opinions on large carnivores and trapping had the opportunity to be heard by Game and Fish.
As the agency leading wildlife management in Wyoming, the Game and Fish manages and conserves more than 800 species of fish and wildlife across Wyoming. For nearly 120 years, Game and Fish has carried out their mission to conserve wildlife and serve people. Through these efforts, the Game and Fish ensures the public continues to enjoy Wyoming’s vast fish and wildlife resource through hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife watching and other forms of outdoor recreation. Hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers contribute over a billion dollars to Wyoming’s economy each year.
At the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission meeting this week a new president and vice president were elected. Mark Anselmi from Rock Springs is now president and David Rael from Cowley is vice president. The Commission also gave preliminary approval of the standard budget for fiscal year 2019, which starts on July 1. That preliminary budget is available to the public online and would keep spending relatively flat from last year.
(Renny MacKay 307-777-4594)
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