Personally, I think a bill like this is long overdue! Who wouldn’t pay $21 for a Conservation Stamp if it means more public access to hunting, fishing and trapping here in old Wyo? Not to mention that a portion of the $21 will also go to improving the health of our game animals by improving/implementing highway crossings. This is truly a chance for Wyoming sportsmen to continue to put their money where their mouths are by ponying up for wildlife and the future of hunting in the Cowboy State.
I say pass HB 122 and I’d like to thank Representative Western for sponsoring this.
HB 122: Reliable Funding For Hunting & Fishing Access
HB 122 creates an account and allocates money from the sale of Conservation Stamps toward accessing private and landlocked public land with landowner-driven voluntary participation. The Conservation Stamp would increase to $21. What the Bill Does:
- Increases the price of the Wyoming Conservation Stamp from $12.50 to $21.
o Earmarks $9 of the $21 to be put into a specific fund within WGFD
- Creates an account within the WGFD for the extra funding called Game and Fish Fund
o 85% of the account is earmarked for use in gaining access to difficult to access or inaccessible federal, state, and state trust land for the purposes of hunting and fishing – through programmatic and administrative work.
o 15% of the account funds will be used annually and are earmarked for use in wildlife crossing work o Anticipated annual revenue increase is $1,665,270
- The bill takes a broad approach to give WGFD the flexibility to use funds for administrative and programmatic work directly affecting hunting and fishing access – like the AccessYES! program
- Requires the WGFD commission notify the appropriate boards of county commissioners before purchasing any access easements or entering into any agreements. – Does NOT give county commissioners blanket ability to cancel the deal.
- Also requires the WGFD commission to hold a public meeting IF requested by any board of county commissioners. – Does NOT give county commissioners blanket ability to cancel the deal.
- Requires the WGFD commission to present an annual report of funds and work to the legislature – a standard ask.
- Is VOLUNTARY for landowners- AccessYES! offers fiscal incentives to landowners for access and hunting privileges, it does NOT require access or participation. – This bill makes it possible to offer real incentives to landowners and gives the WGFD the ability to grow the AccessYES! team.
Why it’s Needed:
The bill will enable WGFD to incentivize landowners to participate in programs like AccessYES! and provide Game and Fish with funding for administrative costs associated with gaining access and creating agreements with VOLUNTARY landowners. This will provide an avenue to open up access to federal, state, and state trust land, for hunters and anglers in parts of the state where it can be difficult, and provide landowners with fair compensation for allowing access on their property
Sponsor: Rep. Cyrus Western | Co-sponsors: Rep. Clausen, Rep. Lloyd Larsen, Sen. Baldwin
From Rep. Western:
Why is this bill important? What problem does this solve?
- “Public land access is a major issue in the West, and it’s especially severe here in Wyoming. This bill is a major step forward in helping the hunting public get more access to high quality public land while simultaneously respecting private property rights. “
How does it solve it?
• “WGFD already has the ‘arrows in the quiver’ to negotiate access agreements with landowners, but they’re severely underfunded. This bill raises the price of a conservation and uses those proceeds to fund AccessYES programs such as Walk In Areas and Hunter Management Areas.”