Cheyenne, Wyoming — Get out and celebrate Public Lands Day recreating on the land the day is dedicated to.
Wyoming’s first Public Lands Day is on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Following Gov. Mark Gordon’s signing Wyoming HB 99 in March, the day will official commemorate the importance and value of public lands in the state for the economy, open spaces, diversity of mineral, grazing and forestry resources, wildlife and recreational opportunities.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission manages nearly 450,000 acres of land throughout Wyoming that is open to the public for hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, hiking and other outdoor recreation. The primary purpose of the majority of the land, designated as wildlife habitat management areas (WHMAs), is to protect crucial winter habitat for Wyoming’s wildlife.
“The Game Fish Commission-owned land is a valuable state resource for wildlife and the public,” said Ray Bredehoft, chief of the habitat and access branch.
Game and Fish has 42 WHMAs throughout Wyoming. People are able to hunt, fish, hike, take photos, explore and in many locations, camp, on these properties beginning in early spring throughout the early winter. During the coldest part of the year, WHMAs are closed to protect wintering wildlife.
These areas are also managed by Game and Fish to provide high-quality habitats and forage for wildlife throughout the year with irrigation, stream restoration projects, habitat improvement projects as well as growing hay for elk feedgrounds.
“Because of the location and habitat, WHMAs are a good place to see wildlife if you are a photographer or someone who just likes to be outdoors,” Bredehoft said. “Some areas, like the Amsden and Kerns WHMAs near Sheridan are designated as Important Bird Areas by the Audubon Rockies, the regional office of the National Audubon Society.”
For public access to fishing and public lands for hunting, Game and Fish also manages 199 public access areas. Public access areas (PAAs) are permanent or long-term easements or Game and Fish Commission-owned land.
On many PAAs and WHMAs, Game and Fish maintains roads, outhouses and boat docks. The land, facilities and maintenance are paid for by hunting and fishing license fees and federal dollars.
To visit a WHMAs or recreate using PAAs, check locations and information on the Game and Fish website.
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