WGF: seeks public input but intends to continue supporting feedgrounds

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department presented an update to the Wyoming Legislature’s Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources committee on Dec. 8, on the Department’s work to develop an elk feedgrounds management plan.

Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik informed the committee that while Game and Fish is collecting thoughts and input from the public about managing elk that attend the winter feedgrounds, the department is not considering closures in the short and mid-term, and intends to support the western Wyoming practice that has been in place for over 100 years.

“Given the growing complexities of feedgrounds, I feel strongly we are at a point where we needed to talk to the public and give all the facts on the Department’s approach,” said Nesvik, “People may be familiar with feedgrounds as it relates to their interests but don’t know the ‘why’ behind the Game and Fish decisions. This is an educational effort.”

Game and Fish recently held four virtual meetings to educate the public on feedgrounds and the complexities of management, including disease concerns as the start of a multi-phased public engagement process.

Anyone who wants to submit comments on elk feedgrounds is encouraged to watch the recorded meeting posted online if they were unable to attend a live session. The recorded video features presentations from Game and Fish including an overview of elk feedgrounds in Wyoming, current wildlife disease concerns, including chronic wasting disease, and current brucellosis management on feedgrounds. Presentations also include federal partners on their role in the feeding of elk in western Wyoming. Written comments will be accepted until Jan. 8, 2021.

“We’re fortunate to have extremely high interest regarding the future of elk feedgrounds management from the public,” said Scott Edberg, deputy chief of wildlife. “Your thoughts matter. We want anyone interested to have the chance to get involved and share comments.”

Game and Fish is planning to host another question and answer session beginning at 4 p.m. Jan. 5, 2021. Attendance information will be available at a later date. Anyone interested in the Q&A should watch the recorded meeting before enrolling.

This series of online meetings and comments is the first in a multi-phased process to develop a long-term elk feedgrounds management plan.

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