WYOGA News & Updates - August 2020

The 2020 Wyoming Outdoors is in final stages of layout. If you are advertising and need your ad designed, please contact Mark Schuler. He will design a great ad for you. If you already have an ad and have no revisions, please let me know. November 1st, ad material and payment is due.

The directory will go to print November 18th and mailed to the non-residents the week of December 7th. 

Thank you for your continued support for this project.

Joint Travel Recreation and Wildlife met virtually on September 24-25th. The agenda was light on hunting issues.

Senator Driskill floated the idea of a task force on increasing public access. In a backdoor move, he invited incoming State Rep. Bob Wharff and the director of the State of Utah’s access program to testify in the committee without noticing them as witnesses. After their testimony, Senator Driskill polled the committee about having a draft committee bill creating an access taskforce. It was resoundingly rejected with only Senators Driskill and Wasserburger showing support.

Rendering of carcasses was covered. The discussion moved into a discussion of CWD and the discretion of game wardens when issuing tickets for wasting game. Ultimately, it was pointed out that state statutes that cover slaughter and rendering fall under the jurisdiction of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. The committee will be drafting a bill to allow wild game meat scraps to be rendered for dog food. 

TRW may hold a 4th virtual meeting in November to examine the Game and Fish’s study on trapping. This would be pending the approval of Management Council.

I will be monitoring the Joint Judiciary Committee’s meeting on October 26-27th for any additional discussion on liability protections. WYOGA remains engaged with the tourism industry liability coalition facilitated through our membership in the Wyoming Business Alliance. 

Finally, I have been reviewing the draft “Safe Session Plan” for the 2021 General Session of the Wyoming Legislature. I am gravely concerned about the recommendations and planning that would severely limit our ability to personally lobby and interact with the Wyoming Legislature. The Wyoming Capitol Club, the professional organization for lobbyists, just sent a letter to the Management Council stating our opposition to the plan. Under the proposed rules, fighting bills like 90/10 would be more difficult.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or concerns. 

Bill Novotny, Lobbyist

Sustainable Solutions: Catalyzing Wyoming’s Economy in a Changing Climate Tourism | Outdoor Recreation Stakeholder Committee Meeting Summary

Meeting participants: Domenic Bravo, Visit Cheyenne; Addie Dees, Ugly Bug Fly Shop and Crazy Rainbow Fly Fishing in Casper; Chris Floyd, Wyoming Office of Outdoor Recreation; Laurie Marcovitz, Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association and Sy Gilliland, SNS Outfitter & Guides in Casper; Tyler LaMotte, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort; Renny MacKay, Governor Gordon’s Policy Director; Shawn Parker, Sheridan Travel & Tourism; Mike Phillips, BLM Worland Field Manager; Jeff Way, Eatons’ Ranch in Wolf

Meeting purpose: We would like to better understand the economic, social, and environmental trends and problems Wyoming faces; look for places in our state’s economic sectors where opportunities for sustainable growth intersect; and identify options for a process to reach consensus on feasible actions to aid the needed transition.

Summary: This group of tourism and outdoor recreation leaders came to the table from diverse backgrounds and with different perspectives, but most agree on several key points:

1. Wyoming needs to diversify the economy; the tourism and outdoor recreation industry can and should play an increasingly important role in the effort to replace the $1.5 billion budget deficit resulting from the declining oil and gas industry.

2. COVID accelerated tourism and outdoor recreation growth in the state and most see this trend continuing even after the pandemic ends.

3. Wyoming’s open space is among its most valuable resources and must be protected for tourism and outdoor recreation to thrive into the future.

4. The desire to protect Wyoming’s landscapes and keep population growth low can seem at odds with the desire to share what Wyoming offers and strengthen the state’s economy. There must be honest communication between stakeholders to manage that tension and achieve balance.

Similar to participants in the other industry groups, stakeholders in Wyoming’s tourism and outdoor recreation sector love Wyoming’s wide-open spaces and characteristic lifestyles. They all see a challenge in balancing the desire to prosper by sharing what they love and protecting what they love about the state. Most expressed optimism about the future of the industry, although participants recognized that climate impacts such as winter warming trends and increasing occurrences of wildfire could dramatically affect their operations. That said, they seem more focused on the potential long-term consequences of COVID-19 at the moment, and what that means for the outdoor recreation and tourism industry.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission’s (Commission) revenue is generated from fish and wildlife constituents, associated federal funding sources, grants, donations, and from Commission owned property. The Commission receives no State General Funds. Revenue can be broken into five main categories and is reflective only of revenue that can be expended. (Updated Sept. 2020)

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission’s yearly revenue is approximately $88.5 million. This includes hunting and fishing licens- es, conservation stamps and fees, preference points, boat registration, Super Tag and Federal Aid. The majority of the revenue, $75.7 million or 85%, comes from hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and boaters.

Of the $56.3 million that comes from license revenue, approximately 77% comes from nonresidents.

Prior to the current fiscal year, the Commission received approximately $800,000 annually from the State General Fund for license recoupment to offset the revenue lost from free and reduced price licenses. This year General Fund support was eliminated to aid in the State’s current financial crisis.

The Commission’s budget is based on needs and identified priorities. When revenue exceeds the budget, the Commission places those funds in a reserve similar to a personal savings account. This reserve is for emergencies and allocating funding to significant projects, including capitol construction, wildlife crossings and wildlife research.

All funds tied to license revenue must be controlled by the Commission and spent on approved wildlife related activities to meet the requirements of Federal Aid.

The 2020 Annual Winter Retreat is presently scheduled for:

December 11-12, 2020
Ramkota Hotel
Casper, WY

Invitations with a tentative agenda will be mailed November 1st.  We will hold Election of Officer’s on Saturday, December 12th during the general membership meeting. Mark your calendar and plan to attend.

Copyright © 2020 Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association, All rights reserved.

Contact us for more information:
Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association
P.O. Box 2650, Casper, WY 82602

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