The Saratoga Sun -

Game & Fish Supports Travel Management NPA

 


Katie Cheesbrough, terrestrial habitat biologist for the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, feels that it is time for an updated travel management plan and is glad to see the West Side Snowy Range Travel Management Project moving forward.

“It is time to kind of look at it and see what they can do — and they can only do so much,” said Cheesbrough.

Limiting access to roads will have positive benefits to the forest and the people who use them according to Cheesbrough; with a decrease in vehicle accessibility, there will be improvement in undisturbed areas for wildlife.

Wyoming Game & Fish at one point completed an “exercise” where they used GIS, a computer mapping software, to use the current road layer to look at road densities. According to Cheesbrough, “It was far above what they had in their standards and guidelines that was okay for wildlife.”

Cheesbrough hopes that this project will help habitat, including mule deer, inhabit some less disturbed areas — as when they don’t, wildlife will move down from the Medicine Bow Forest — to private landowners property.

“It’s kind of this catch-22 where hunters need access onto public land to get to the animals but if there’s too much access that they are stressing out the animals they leave the public land.”

In addition, Wyoming Game & Fish is concerned about the spread of invasive species, such as cheatgrass, on the user created extension roads. “It generally stays to those disturbed roads so if you start trailing off into new roads it just drags that cheatgrass further into suitable habitats,” said Cheesbrough.

Although not invited on as a cooperating agency, the Wyoming Game & Fish Department has been involved in the Travel Management Project by providing extensive comments during the scoping process. They will be submitting more comments in response to the Notice of Proposed Action.

When asked about the public meeting, Cheesbrough was happy to hear that they would be provided. “I am glad to hear she is doing some public meetings. Cause I think people just hear ‘roads are closing’ and they don’t know why or how many,” said Cheesbrough.

 

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