New group in Park County tackles wildlife and livestock friendly fencing

WYOMING — A new group in Park County, Absaroka Fence Initiative, is aiming to ensure fences are functional for livestock management and wildlife movement across the landscape through on-the-ground projects, public workdays, and outreach to local communities.

“Fencing is an essential piece of our landscape, yet when wildlife and fences intersect, the result can be costly for both wildlife populations and landowner,” the group said in a press release.

The group, consisting of landowners, community members, non-governmental organizations, and local government agencies in Park County have come together to tackle this issue.

“By bringing together the expertise and resources of our partners into a shared initiative, we can more effectively enhance wildlife movement and livestock functionality by adding, modifying, or removing fences,” says Tony Mong, Absaroka Fence Initiative Chair.

This initiative took over a year of partnership building, and the group said that they still have many relationships to build and seeks opportunities to connect with willing landowners and community members.

The Absaroka Fence Initiative is currently working with research partners to complete an analysis that evaluates the most critical areas where fencing needs to be addressed. Simultaneously the group is completing on the ground projects. Their first public event is tentatively scheduled for Spring 2021.

The group is similar to Jackson Hole’s own Friendlier Wildlife Fencing program, a group that has tackled a cumulative 229 miles of fencing in Wyoming.

In 2020, volunteers and staff worked on over ten different project sites, removing and modifying fences as far south as Boulder, Wyoming and as far north as East Gros Ventre Butte in Jackson. Over 50 volunteers contributed nearly 100 project hours to remove or improve over 10 miles of barbed-wire fence to make life easier for wildlife.

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