Elk NetworkNew and Extended Public Access Agreements Reached in Wyoming

General | September 29, 2023

Below is a news release from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department has established one new Public Access Area (PAA) and extended access to a PAA and Wildlife Habitat Management Area (WHMA) in the Laramie Region. These are permanent or long-term easements that provide public access for recreational purposes.

The Pitcher/Brokaw PAA agreement was extended for an additional 20 years. Located in Arlington, this PAA is open annually from August 1 through December 31. It provides 3.6 miles of vehicle road access to 10,000 acres of federal lands and is a popular access point for hunters and wildlife viewers. The easement allows the public to pass through the Overland Trail Corporation (Pitcher Family), and the Brokaw Family properties to access the federal lands. This easement is only possible with generous support from Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The John and Annie Woodhouse WHMA was also granted a 20-year extension. This 680-acre WHMA near Table Mountain is owned by the City of Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities. A Memorandum of Understanding through 2043 allows public use of the WHMA for archery hunting, fishing, boating, hiking, and other recreational pursuits. This property prohibits overnight camping, open fires, off road vehicles, trapping, and hunting with firearms. The goal of this jointly managed WHMA is to promote and maintain the availability of high-quality habitat to sustain and enhance future wildlife populations, to protect and enhance water quality in North Fork Crow Creek and its riparian areas, and to provide public education, hunting, fishing, and other wildlife based recreational opportunities.

In August, an agreement was reached with Sims Cattle Company to establish the Sims PAA. Located in McFadden, Sims Cattle Company donated a five-year easement on a road that provides access to state owned land. Access will be available to the public from August 15 to January 31 each year. Information on use restrictions for this easement is available on the Game and Fish website, and we anticipate the area will be opened for hunter access later this fall.

Providing public access to fishing, hunting, and other recreational opportunities is a top priority for Game and Fish. Not only do these areas allow increased recreational opportunities, but allowing access to otherwise grid-locked lands can also improve management of big game herds. For example, in the Snowy Range where two of these PAAs are located, elk populations are above objective. Allowing hunters to access more public lands through PAAs can help manage these large herds, reducing the damage to habitat and property that can occur when the population grows too large. Game and Fish is grateful to the many landowners who have entered into public access agreements across the state.

(Photo credit: Wyoming Game & Fish Department)