Elk NetworkWyoming Program Opened Access to 2.8 Million Acres in 2019

Conservation | March 26, 2020

There’s more access to lands for hunting and fishing in Wyoming thanks to a Wyoming Game and Fish Department program that uses public donations to open private land. In 2019, Access Yes, through public donations, provided more than 2.6 million acres of hunting access as well as 4,007 lake acres and 89 stream miles for fishing on otherwise inaccessible private, state and landlocked public lands through partnerships with private landowners.

Access Yes coordinators collaborate with landowners to enroll them into one of the Game and Fish access programs: hunter management areas, walk-in hunting areas and/or walk-in fishing areas. Donations from hunters, anglers and conservation groups are used to make easement payments to landowners for hunting and fishing access.

“For 20 years, our Access Yes Program has partnered with landowners to increase quality hunting and fishing access to privately-owned lands and landlocked public lands. This relationship, and the opportunities it offers to hunters and anglers, is a Wyoming success story,” said Rick King, chief of the Game and Fish’s wildlife division. “Thank you to landowners for their partnership to make these access opportunities possible. We also extend our thanks to hunters and anglers for donating to Access Yes when buying a license and to our partners for their continued donations to support the program.”

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation contributed $15,000 that provided nearly 46,500 acres of access.

Access Yes areas also help hunters and anglers gain access to inaccessible public lands not enrolled in walk-in and hunter management areas — places that were not accessible without the program. In 2019, those totaled an additional 168,603 acres of inaccessible public lands.

“In 2019, every dollar donated provided approximately 3.1 acres of access,” King said. “Access Yes properties spread hunters across the landscape and help the department meet management and harvest objectives statewide.”

(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)