|Eliminating some of the migration obstacles facing big game animals in Sublette County is the inaugural project being funded by the Wildlife Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit organization founded in April 2000 to support Wyoming's wildlife.
The foundation has earmarked $30,000 to help fund the Migration Corridor Fence Modification Project near Pinedale.
"Existing fences in various locations around Sublette County, due to a combination of factors including location, height and type of wire, are a serious impediment to migrating deer and antelope," said Doug McWhirter, Game and Fish Department wildlife biologist in Pinedale. He adds the project will work cooperatively with landowners and the Department of Transportation to convert existing fences to "wildlife-friendly" fences that allow big game easier passage during migration. With the deer and antelope negotiating the fences quicker and getting "trapped" in the highway right-of-way less, vehicle/big game collisions should be reduced.
"Contacts with landowners have been very favorable, and we may end up modifying more fence than we had originally hoped," McWhirter said. Those migrations include some antelope from Jackson Hole that trek nearly to Rock Springs to spend the winter, the longest big game migration in the lower 48 states.
The construction will take place this summer west and northwest of Pinedale, primarily on fences bordering U.S. Highway 189/191.
"It's great that the foundation has reached the stage of being able to fund projects," said John Smithbaker, foundation chairman and CEO of Brunton Inc. of Riverton. "And the importance of this project makes it very worthy of the foundation's first grant."
The foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit entity that is independent from the G&F and was established so both business and individuals who want to help wildlife over and above buying licenses, would have a place to contribute.
The foundation has identified its mission as, "To create an enduring natural legacy for future generations through stewardship of all Wyoming's wildlife."
Anyone interested in contributing to the foundation, including through wills and trusts, should contact Mo Brown, foundation executive director at (307) 777-4693 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2002 J & D Outdoor Communications. All rights reserved.