Hunters and anglers are required to have a Conservation Stamp when they're in the field. Starting July 1, though, the price of Conservation Stamps will increase 72 percent from $12.50 to $21.50. The $9 increase will generate $1.6 million in additional funds for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) every year.
Funds from stamp sales are carefully allocated and are used for things like conservation projects, education, and research. The new funds generated from the increase will be used primarily to improve land access with access easements but will also be used to finance fish and wildlife crossing projects, like culverts and wildlife over and underpasses.
According to a 2018 WGFD survey of the public, one of the top priorities of the public was more access to places to hunt and fish.
"There are lots of places around Wyoming that have challenging public access for hunting and fishing, and having a mechanism to be able to look at the state overall and determine some of these areas that we can provide better access to is very exciting," said the department's Sara DiRienzo. "We're happy that we're able to meet that ask that our public had about really enhancing the access to places to hunt and fish so this will directly get us there, and we're excited for the changes to come in the future because of this bill."
Access projects will receive 85 percent of the $9 increase. The other 15 percent will be used for fish and wildlife crossing projects.
"We've been working on reducing wildlife collisions with vehicles for a really long time and so this guaranteed funding source only helps improve our work in that area," said DiRienzo. "The money towards fish passage projects is also really important, and what that does is ensure fish can swim freely, fish can swim where they need to. If they migrate, they can also get around some of the barriers that might help them be healthier and more successful, and they can move around those manmade obstacles like dams or other diversions."
This is the first time Conservation Stamps have increased in price since 2008. A price increase can only be made by the legislature, not by WGFD or the Game and Fish Commission. The bill that facilitated this increase was sponsored by Sheridan Rep. Cyrus Western.
How Conservation Stamp revenue is spent is determined by State Statute.
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