Social Distancing Still Crucial In Vast, Outdoor Landscapes

Apr 9, 2020

Last weekend, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) sold 153 nonresident fishing licenses, about the same number it sold during the same period of time last year.

For some, like Cheyenne's Mayor Marian Orr, that indicated a lack of social distancing. She tweeted, "Please stay away. We'll welcome you back another day."

However, the WGFD's Sara DiRienzo said fishing licenses can be purchased online, and many of those could have been folks renewing from the previous year. Plus, one other kind of purchase dropped.

"When we compared the nonresident daily licenses from this last weekend to the same weekend in 2019, there was actually a 21 percent decrease in license sales," she said. "So that shows us that non-residents aren't popping up for a weekend of fishing in Wyoming."

If out-of-state visitors can't follow Governor Mark Gordon's order to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, DiRienzo said they need to stay home. And for Wyomingites, she urged residents to choose where they recreate wisely. Even in Wyoming's vast and wide-open landscapes, social distancing remains crucial.

"If you get to a place that looks crowded because the parking lot is full, or there's a lot of people at a trailhead, don't go there. Go and find another spot because we don't want people congregating at areas like that," she said.

Brian Nesvik, director of the WGFD, said in a press release, "We are dealing with an unprecedented set of conditions, so you must strike a balance between getting outside and avoiding as many people as possible."

To the west of Wyoming, Idaho suspended the sale of several kinds of nonresident hunting and fishing licenses on April 4. In a press release, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission said the suspension "lasts until the rule is repealed consistent with relevant state of Idaho public health orders."

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Maggie Mullen, at mmullen5@uwyo.edu.