The one-year special use permit will allow Game and Fish to begin feeding elk in the coming weeks as winter begins. Photo: Buckrail // Nick Sulzer

WYOMING — The Bridger-Teton National Forest is seeking comments on a proposal from the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission (WGFC) to allow the use of the facilities at Dell Creek feedground on the Big Piney Ranger District to conduct their winter elk management activities.

The Forest is accepting comments until Oct. 24, 2021 on the proposal for a one-year special use authorization for WGFC to operate and manage the Dell Creek feedground.

The one-year special use authorization allows for the continued management of the elk feedground on a temporary basis while the Forest Service conducts an environmental analysis for longer-term use.

The Forest Service intends to prepare an environmental impact statement for Dell Creek and Forest Park feedground special use authorizations to analyze the environmental effects of long-term use pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act beginning in the fall of 2021.

Feedgrounds have become a point of contention in recent years. Feedgrounds can perpetuate Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) because larges numbers of elk congregate in one area — if an animal is infected the disease can spread quickly through the herd.

The neurological disease is highly contagious and passed from animal to animal through saliva, feces, urine, and decomposing carcasses. Because CWD is extremely resistant, environments that were contaminated by an infected carcass can infect other animals.

On the other hand, According to a March 2021 report by Wyofile, “feedgrounds reduce Game and Fish reimbursement costs to ranchers and diminish the spread of brucellosis, a bovine disease that has its own draconian effect on stock-growing industry.” One reason feedgrounds exist is to keep elk off agricultural lands and winter cattle feed lines.

This comment period provides those interested in, or affected by this project, an opportunity to make their recommendations and concerns known. The proposed action and other information are available on the project webpage.

Electronic comments should be submitted online on the Bridger-Teton National Forest project webpage. Click on the “Comment/Object on Project” link located in the right column. Written comments may also be submitted by US mail to Gregory Brooks, Acting District Ranger; Big Piney Ranger District, Bridger-Teton National Forest; P.O. Box 218, Big Piney, WY 83113.

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.