Revision of Elk Feedground Management Moves To Phase Two
Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials updated the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission on the public engagement process as it looks to update its elk feedground management plan.
Game and Fish manages 22 elk feedgrounds in northwest Wyoming and gathering public feedback is part of the first phase. Elk feedgrounds provide supplemental feed for elk during the winter.
Scott Edburg, deputy chief of the Wildlife Division, said, even though the engagement process had to be moved online, he was happy with the turnout and discussion.
During the public meetings, the department asked participants to provide their input and thoughts on elk feedground management. Participants included sportspeople, outfitters, conservation organizations, and the general public. Edburg said they all gave very important input that will be factored into the next step.
Edburg said, overall, the public was concerned about the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) throughout elk feedgrounds. CWD is a neurological disease that is deadly to elk, deer and moose. The public was also concerned whether this management revision would result with the closing of feedgrounds.
"This is not a plan to close the grounds," said Edburg. "But we did need to get it out there that this plan may include looking at some feedground closures or at least changing feedground operations."
Additionally, the public wanted to know more about the economic impact elk feedgrounds have and whether that is through tourism or hunting.
"Those are real things people realize the impacts the grounds have on those, whether it's positive or negative and then something that they have there, that folks have their radar on and are concerned with or or something that we need to address," said Edburg.
He said the next step will include more discussions with internal stakeholders and start drafting an updated feedground management plan.