Letters to the Editor – Nov. 26

As Wyomingites, we have more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and our wildlife than almost anywhere else in North America. Wyoming is home to over 800 animal species from iconic species like mule deer to pika, sage grouse, and cutthroat trout. A rapidly changing world presents a challenging world for wildlife. The management of these species is complicated involving; habitat alteration, disease, research, conflicts with humans, harassment, poaching and educating the public about wildlife and its conservation. Your state Game and Fish Department is charged with managing our wildlife in this ever complex and ever changing world. The agency has 165 biologists and wardens that cover almost 98,000 square miles. Unlike most state agencies, the Game and Fish Department does not depend on tax revenues. Eighty percent (80%) of their revenue comes from sportsmen’s dollars, and sportsmen only make up about 15% of Wyoming’s hunting/angling public. Only six (6%) of their funding comes from the State’s General fund and those monies are used for specific programs. This funding formula is not keeping pace with the cost of inflation and complex wildlife management, leaving our wildlife vulnerable at a critical time. Recent cuts to the Game and Fish Department budget equals lost wildlife related opportunities for you.

Wyoming is home to complex wildlife issues partly because of the species we manage, including the wolf, sage-grouse and grizzly bear. Several are currently protected under the Endangered Species Act. Today, these complex wildlife management issues cannot be solved without the guidance and support of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, Legislators, and the public. None of these are mutually exclusive; they can and do work together in many ways. Many things contribute to the complexities of wildlife management including weather, land development, diseases, federal and local policies and a mix of land use practices. As members of the public, we have the opportunity to participate and voice opinions regarding licensing decisions, herd management numbers and the general management of wildlife. It is important to let decision makers know that we are willing to be part of the solution, which may include paying more for license fees. Our wildlife needs our help to grow and thrive.

Why is wildlife conservation so important? Our own survival as a species is dependent on the preservation of bio-diversity. Bio-diversity is extremely important to people and the health of landscapes. Species diversity, both plant and animal, equates to landscape stability. Although many of us feel Wyoming would not be the state we love without the diverse wildlife it supports, it is important to recognize the value wildlife also has to industries including tourism.

Tourism in Wyoming created 31,510 jobs and totaled $3.33 billion in revenue. Hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation are sustainable economic activities contributing an additional $1.1 billion in revenue that can provide stability for rural communities. Our wildlife is a precious resource and should be managed and valued as such. Wildlife numbers are impacted by a number of factors, but are sustainable and dependable with little boom-and-bust. If they are managed properly we can continue to enjoy the countless opportunities this invaluable resource offers to us, the nation, and the world.

A properly funded Game and Fish Department is key to this effort. People talk a lot about the importance of states’ rights. An adequately funded Game and Fish Department equates to state’s rights for control and management of Wyoming’s wildlife, by Wyomingites. Our wildlife provides us with endless high quality outdoor experiences. It’s time for the citizens of Wyoming to advocate on wildlife’s behalf.

Janet Marschner

Cheyenne

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The Sundance Police Department would like to remind the citizens who participate in the winter sport of snowmobiling that the following regulations apply to the operation of snowmobiles with the city limits.

Over the snow vehicles may only be operated by persons 15 years or older on the public streets or alleyways.

Persons between the ages of 12 to 14 years of age may operate an over the snow vehicle when in the immediate supervision of an adult. Any person under the age of 12 may not operate snowmobiles on the public streets or alleys.

Over the snow vehicles may only be operated on the roadways within the city limits if the roads are snow or ice covered. The hours of operation of the vehicles are from one-half hour before sunrise and not later than 10 p.m. Snowmobiles are permitted to enter or leave the City of Sundance after 10 p.m., provided they take the most direct route to their destination.

All rules of the road pertaining to motor vehicles such as right of way, speed parking, stop signs, registration and turning will also pertain to over the snow vehicles.

The operator of the over the snow vehicle shall make sure their machines are in safe operating condition.

The vehicles have to be equipped with lights, brakes, muffler and a flag of either red, yellow or orange cloth which is 24 square inches and this flag must extend at least five feet above the ground.

No over the snow vehicles shall operate on any sidewalks except where it would be necessary to enter or emerge from an alley, nor shall they be operated on any ones property without the property owner permission.

Over the snow vehicles are also prohibited from operating on the street adjacent to the Nursing Home or Hospital.

Snowmobiling can be both a fun and safe sport. The purpose of the above regulations is to promote safety for both the snowmobiler and the citizens of Sundance. The Sundance Police Department receives complaints each year concerning the operation of snowmobilers, in particular young operators. The majority of complaints concern the speeds the vehicles are operated on the streets and yielding the right of way. Another complaint is the operation of over the snow vehicles across private property. The Sundance Police Department would like to encourage the parents of young snowmobilers to go over each regulation with their child so that they are fully aware of their responsibilities on the roadway. The Sundance Police Department will act on any complaint received and may issue citations when it is appropriate.

Thanks for your Cooperation

Sundance Police Department