Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation helps provide 46,500 acres of Wyo. hunting, fishing access

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CASPER, Wyo. — A $15,000 donation from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will provide about 46,500 acres of hunting and fishing access in Wyoming.

That will support the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s “Access Yes” program.

“Access Yes is a program that facilitates the partnership between private landowners, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and hunters and anglers to create free public hunting and fishing access on private land and inaccessible public land,” Game and Fish said on Monday, Aug. 19.

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“These include walk-in fishing and hunting areas, hunter management areas and other Game and Fish public access areas.”

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has given $127,500 to the program over the last six years, which helps provide 2.8 million acres of access, according to the announcement.

“’This organization cares deeply about wildlife and we are grateful for their efforts to go the extra mile to ensure today’s resources are available for future generations,’” Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik said.

Access easements are paid for through the “Access Yes” funding, though it does not cover operating expenses for Game and Fish programs. The funding is used to pay landowners in exchange for hunting or fishing access to their properties.

“Walk-in areas and hunter management areas funded by Access Yes provide hunting opportunities for big game, small game, wild turkey, upland game and migratory game birds,” Game and Fish added. “They also provide fishing opportunities throughout the state.”

Every dollar donated provides about 3.1 acres of public access, according to Game and Fish Cody Regional Access Coordinator Jordan Winter.

“‘This donation helps every hunter and angler in Wyoming have increased access opportunities for years to come,’” Winter said. “’I join the director in offering my thanks and appreciation to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.’”

The public can also support the “Access Yes” program by donating when they buy licenses. Information about that is available online.

The program has been in place for 20 years.

“Currently there are 54 walk-in fishing areas, 379 walk-in hunting areas and 62 hunter management areas throughout the Wyoming,” Game and Fish said. “In 2018, donations provided more than 2.8 million acres of hunting access on otherwise inaccessible private, state and landlocked public lands and 4,006 lake acres and 86 stream miles were provided for fishing.”