Talk about a reason to celebrate! Representatives from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD), Clark Cattle Company and various volunteers recently gathered to commemorate the Raymond Mountain Public Access Project. It opens the door for hunters, anglers and others to access to more than 32,900 acres of previously difficult to reach public land in the Sublette Mountain Range of western Wyoming.
“This project represents determination and vision on the part of the landowners, Wyoming Game and Fish Department staff, and the critical funding partners and supporters of the project who recognized the outstanding opportunity presented and stepped up decisively to make it happen,” said Leah Burgess, RMEF senior lands program manager for Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska. “What an incredible legacy project for sportsmen and women to have permanent public access to the Raymond Mountain Wilderness Study Area.”
The access agreement creates a permanent public roadway and a parking area linked to the Groo Canyon trail from Highway 30 north of Cokeville near the Wyoming-Idaho border. The new entry point allows access across private ranchland to lands overseen by the Bureau of Land Management known as the Raymond Mountain Wilderness Study Area and additional state and federal lands beyond that.
Since the parties finalized the agreement in December 2020, WGFD staff, contractors and volunteers worked to construct the road, parking area, corrals, trail and fencing to establish the access site. On the day of the on-site August 2021 celebration, the group continued that work in a particularly difficult area of the canyon to erect needed fencing as well as an interpretive partnership sign at the entrance to the trail. RMEF and WGFD also presented awards to acknowledge the partnership effort and hard work of all involved.
Below is a letter to RMEF from Wyoming Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik, presented to Burgess along with a medallion of excellence.
On behalf of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission (Commission), I would like to extend our appreciation for your work and dedication that resulted in Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s donation of the Raymond Mountain Public Access Area. The Commission acknowledges your long-term commitment to conservation of wildlife resources and providing opportunities for sportsmen and women throughout the state of Wyoming.
As you know, big game management in the Sublette Range has been particularly difficult because of limited public access. Your involvement was instrumental in the success of this project, and as a result, the public can enjoy this area for years to come. Projects of this nature are rare and its success was largely due to your efforts.
We want to thank you and RMEF for collaborating with us. We value your support and look forward to partnering with you in the future.
Director, Wyoming Game and Fish Department
(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)