Pinedale G&F to get new office building
Legislature also funds hatchery improvements and electronic licensing
by Wyoming Game & Fish
April 9, 2006
The Wyoming Legislature is helping anglers get to the water quicker and catch more trout when they get there.
In its recent session, the legislature passed a bill allowing the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to complete an electronic licensing system. The system, often referred to as "point of sale," will allow hunters and anglers to receive their over-the-counter licenses quicker with a computer printout.
The legislature also approved a $19.5 million general fund appropriation for the Game and Fish. Over half the money is targeted to expand the Speas Rearing Station west of Casper and nearly triple the facility's trout production. The appropriation will also fund improvements to the Story Hatchery to protect the facility from whirling disease, purchase an office building in Pinedale, and build handicapped-accessible fishing piers on the North Platte River west of Casper and Renner Reservoir near Hyattville and handicapped-accessible duck blinds on Ocean Lake near Riverton.
Prior to the Game and Fish receiving a $4 million general fund appropriation in 2004, the department had not received general fund money for more than 60 years. The 2004 appropriation funded improvements at the Dubois and Wigwam hatcheries and began the improvements at the Speas Rearing Station.
"We really appreciate the legislature's generosity in bolstering the Game and Fish Department with these capital facilities appropriations," said Bill Wichers, Game and Fish deputy director. "This money is a good investment in the state and will ensure better fishing."
The recent appropriation will also fund local sage grouse working groups and the department's veterinary services program, which includes brucellosis work.
Several Game and Fish related topics will be studied by legislators prior to the next session. The Joint Travel Committee will examine funding alternatives for Game and Fish, increased penalties for repeat wildlife violators and the effect of complimentary licenses, personnel and administrative costs on the department.
"These are important issues the legislature needs more information about," Wichers said. "Hopefully, they will be tackled in the next session."