Wildlife Tourism For Tomorrow announces $20,000 grant

First grant from innovative initiative presented to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission

$20,000 to help native cutthroat trout in Teton County

Trout Unlimited’s Spread Creek project first to receive check from unique program generating wildlife funds from ecotourism in Wyoming

RIVERTON, Wyoming — The first grant from a new initiative created to support wildlife projects in the state was presented today during the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission meeting. Taylor Phillips handed a check for $20,000 to Alan Osterland, Chief of Fisheries for Wyoming Game and Fish, Cory Toye, the Wyoming Water and Habitat Program Director for Trout Unlimited, and Ken Roberts, Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioner District 3.

The money will be granted to Trout Unlimited to support a large-scale collaborative project to prevent future losses of native migratory cutthroat trout and other native fish by installing a fish screen on the Spread Creek irrigation system near Jackson, Wyoming. The work will also stabilize the diversion structure and river channel in the project area which had been damaged by flooding.

“We are thrilled to present the first grant from Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow to this important fish passage project which will help native population of Snake River cutthroat trout,” said Taylor Phillips, founder of Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow, owner of Jackson Hole EcoTour Adventures and a board member for The WYldlife Fund. “We are incredibly grateful for the businesses and individuals who have supported Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow in these early days of the program. We see great opportunity to further engage the billion-dollar tourism industry and, in turn, get more done for Wyoming’s wildlife.”

Wildlife Tourism For Tomorrow is an initiative underneath the umbrella of The WYldlife Fund, a partner nonprofit to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department focused on directing money to advance wildlife projects across the state.

“Bettering connectivity and quality aquatic habitat for Snake River cutthroat trout is important for Wyoming’s healthy native fish populations,” said Wyoming Game and Fish Department director Brian Nesvik. “In supporting businesses who are part of Wildlife Tourism Tomorrow, you are contributing to the conservation of wildlife, and making a difference.”

Trout Unlimited uses funds from many sources to complete projects. The $20,000 contribution raised by Wildlife Tourism For Tomorrow helps make possible the current work on Phase 2 of the Spread Creek Fish Passage Project. Partners on the project include Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and Trout Unlimited. Altogether, there are more than 20 partners involved in the multi-year project.

“We are honored that the Spread Creek Fish Passage Project will be the first project to be funded by Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow. Wildlife tourism and the fishing industry are vital components of the local tourism economy in the Jackson area, and while this project primarily benefits Snake River cutthroat trout and other native fish, healthy watersheds and riparian areas also benefit wildlife species,” said Leslie Steen, Northwest Wyoming Program Manager for Trout Unlimited. “Many times, when I have gone out to visit the Spread Creek project site, I’ve seen wildlife tour trips in the area, and it is really neat to think that those same businesses are now giving back to native fish. We are grateful to all the businesses and individuals that generously made contributions to support this collaborative, multi-agency project, and to Taylor Phillips and The WYldlife Fund for their leadership in this effort.”

Inspire a Kid Grant!

Thanks to the Wyoming Sportsman’s Group a $10,000 grant is headed to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to support Inspire a Kid!

Raising up the next generation of conservationists is important to The WYldlife Fund and WSG!

The WYldlife Fund cares about inspiring the next generation of conservationists and so does the Wyoming Sportsman’s Group (WSG)! All thanks to WSG, we were able to present $10,000 to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission this week specifically for the Inspire a Kid program. Inspire a Kid, championed by Director Brian Nesvik, seeks to inspire Wyoming’s kids through the majesty of our wildlife and wild places. The great outdoors teach us incredibly valuable lessons, and Inspire a Kid seeks to pass those lessons down to Wyoming’s youth.

These grant dollars from WSG will be used to help purchase pronghorn educational boxes and educational tracking collars.

The pronghorn educational boxes will be loaned out on a long-term basis to schools and museums across Wyoming, to teach children about this wonderful Wyoming critter. The boxes will hold multiple interactive pieces that will teach children about pronghorn. Before this grant, boxes like this were often requested by teachers but none were available for long term use. This grant will help solve this challenge and provide an additional resource for our incredible teachers across Wyoming.

The educational tracking collars will be used in classrooms across Wyoming by biologists to teach children about the importance of migration research. These tracking collars are designed specifically for in classroom use, and can even be hid in order to allow students the opportunity to use the same technology which is used by biologists in the field to track down the hidden collar! This mimics actions used in the field by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to track down collared wildlife for research purposes. This hands on learning experience won’t soon be forgotten by the children who experience it.

Thank you to the Wyoming Sportsman’s Group for making this grant possible!

First Annual Golf For Wildlife – A Success!

Thanks to the hard work of our good friends at Muley Fanatic Foundation, passionate golfers and outstanding sponsors the first annual Golf For Wildlife Outing on July 31,2021 was deemed a smashing success. Each and every year we plan on partnering with our good friends at Muley Fanatic Foundation to raise funds for a critical wildlife project in Wyoming. This year, we raised funds for the important I-25 Kaycee to Buffalo Wildlife Crossing Project.

This stretch of roadway is the second deadliest in the entire state for wildlife, mainly mule deer! This cost effective project will include building 17 miles of exclusionary fencing on each side of the interstate to funnel wildlife to existing agriculture underpasses. The project is now under design by the Wyoming Department of Transportation and we hope that this project is under construction by next spring. Keep an eye out for this development!

The wildlife of Wyoming help support thousands of jobs and small businesses. It is also a very important part of our heritage and traditions. Golf For Wildlife has clearly shown what can be done to help our wildlife when we come together with passion and purpose. We are happy to report that Golf For Wildlife raised $7,028.78 all of which will be headed to the I-25 project. We will also route this money through the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust for a 1:1 match which will mean over $14,000 will be headed to the project thanks to your generous gifts!

We value your partnership and belief in these efforts. Thank you for believing in Wyoming’s wildlife.

Stay tuned for info regarding the 2022 Golf For Wildlife Outing!

Best Regards,

Chris McBarnes
President
The WYldlife Fund

Outdoor Fund provides transformational grant

The WYldlife Fund Announces $125,000 Grant for Kaycee-Buffalo Wildlife Crossing Project. We thanks our friends at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s for believing in Wyoming’s wildlife!

Grant from Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund will help protect wildlife on the move and make safe crossings possible

Thanks to a generous grant from Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund another $125,000 is going to the I-25 Kaycee to Buffalo wildlife crossing project. Across Wyoming, thousands of animals die from roadway collisions annually, including deer, pronghorn, elk, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats. This cost-effective transportation project will protect wildlife and allow for safe crossings between summer and winter range habitat.

In announcing this grant, The WYldlife Fund Chairman Mark Wilson expressed the Fund’s commitment to supporting Wyoming’s wildlife and roadway safety.

“We thank Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s for their generous investment. We’re grateful for the support from these businesses that know that crossings are an effective way to make a positive and direct impact on wildlife across Wyoming as well as keeping drivers safe. The cost-effective approach of this project will help our state’s wildlife and serve as a model for other projects like it throughout the West,” Wilson said.

The stretch of road on I-25 Kaycee to Buffalo from mileposts 253-271 has the second-highest collisions rate with deer on a Wyoming interstate and limits the safe movement of mule deer seeking additional habitat. This shovel-ready project will utilize exclusionary fencing to funnel wildlife to six existing crossing structures, such as underpasses, bridges and culverts. This project will also add deer ramps, gates, and cattle guards, as needed.

“In Wyoming and across the West, it’s never been more critical to protect and support wildlife movements,” said Bob Ziehmer, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s senior director of conservation. “The I-25 Kaycee to Buffalo wildlife crossing project shows the power of partnership in addressing key wildlife needs. We thank our customers for rounding up spare change at the register to the Outdoor Fund and making this work possible.”

The WYldlife Fund will route the Outdoor Fund’s investment through the Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resource Trust Fund to be matched dollar-for-dollar. This will result in a total project gift of $250,000.

“We welcome the involvement of Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund in conservation of Wyoming wildlife. Partnerships are crucial to getting these projects on the ground,” said Bob Budd, Executive Director of the Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resource Trust.  We truly value the relationships we’ve created to mobilize state and private resources. This is a model that can be used in Wyoming and elsewhere to achieve higher conservation objectives.”

The WYldlife Fund is a 501c3 who unites people to advance Wyoming wildlife habitat, research and education. The newly established Fund is a home for all lovers of wildlife and exists to inject funds on the ground to advance critical wildlife projects.

 

The WYldlife Fund presents a check for $225,000 to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission for the I-25 Kaycee to Buffalo Wildlife Crossing Project ($125,000 from the Outdoor Fund and $100,000 from the Knobloch Family Foundation)

Knobloch Family Foundation

The WYldlife Fund Announces $100,000 gift towards the I-25 Kaycee to Buffalo Wildlife Crossing Project

The I-25 Kaycee to Buffalo Wildlife Crossing Project gains huge momentum thanks to an incredibly generous gift from the Knobloch Family Foundation!t

Gift from Knobloch Family Foundation makes safe crossings possible

Buffalo, WY – July 12, 2021 – A generous gift from the Knobloch Family Foundation means another $100,000 is going to theI-25 Kaycee to Buffalo wildlife crossing project. This lower cost transportation project will protect wildlife and keep our drivers on the go.

In announcing this gift, The WYldlife Fund Chairman Mark Wilson expressed the Fund’s commitment to supporting Wyoming’s wildlife and promoting safety on roadways for all drivers.

“We thank the Knobloch Family Foundation for their generous gift and know that crossings are an effective way to make a positive and direct impact on our wildlife as 15 % of all Wyoming crashes are with wildlife,” Wilson said.

The I-25 Kaycee to Buffalo Project, mileposts 253-270, has the second highest rate of collisions with deer on a Wyoming interstate. The interstate currently limits the safe movement of mule deer seeking additional habitat. This shovel-ready project will utilize exclusionary fencing to funnel wildlife to six existing crossing structures, such as underpasses, bridges and culverts. This project will also add deer ramps, gates, and cattle guards, as needed.

Statewide, over 6,000 animals like deer, pronghorn, elk, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats die each year from collisions with vehicles. This number may even be larger due to underreported crashes.

“The I-25 crossing project is poised to be a model for transportation projects throughout Wyoming and beyond,” said Nicole Korfanta, Executive Director of the Knobloch Family Foundation. “By taking advantage of existing infrastructure, we can reduce wildlife mortality and risks to people on our busy roads, and we can do it for much less money than a traditional crossing project.”

“We know 15% of all Wyoming crashes are with wildlife and that there is an average cost of $11,600 in injury and property damage per collision. The cost-effective approach of this project will save our wildlife and serve as a model for other projects like it throughout the west,” Wilson said.

The WYldlife Fund will route this generous gift by the Knobloch Family Foundation through the Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resource Trust Fund to be matched dollar for dollar. This will result in a total project gift of $200,000. This is in addition to a previous gift from the Knobloch Family Foundation to support the project.

Bob Budd, Executive Director of the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust stated, “We are really appreciative of this contribution to the Kaycee-Buffalo crossing project.  Protecting deer and human life is a priority in areas where we have chronic issues with animal movement, and this project will allow safe passage for deer and people on Interstate 25.  The Knobloch Family Foundation, through the WYldlife Fund, has been a stalwart advocate and catalyst here and elsewhere in Wyoming to get this work done.”

The WYldlife Fund is a 501c3 who unites peoples to advance Wyoming wildlife habitat, research, and education. The newly established Fund is a home for all lovers of wildlife and exists to inject funds on the ground to advance critical wildlife projects. You can learn more about The WYldlife Fund at https://www.thewyldlifefund.org.

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For questions or interview requests, contact WYldlife Fund President Chris McBarnes at (307) 316-3863.

Wildlife Tourism For Tomorrow – LAUNCHES

A groundbreaking funding model is born

Taylor Phillips, owner of Eco Tour Adventures vision comes to life and will leave a great legacy for Wyoming’s wildlife 

Impact! How often do we think of it in terms that are mind boggling in their extremes? Take tourism, for example, in and around the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, sometimes known as the Serengeti of North America for its easily visible charismatic wildlife. The annual pilgrimage of millions of visitors has perhaps become synonymous with frustrations and infrastructure challenges but not for Taylor Phillips, owner and operator of EcoTour Adventures. ‘Impact’ for Taylor means opportunity. As someone whose livelihood depends on wildlife, he knows that the future of wildlife is made brighter by conservation.

Taylor has long explored the idea that while most of his vans follow prescribed routes, the animals that so lure and delight his clients are completely unaware of jurisdictional boundaries and nuanced policy. Without going into too much of a history lesson, Taylor’s inner compass for opportunity set him on a course to see how revenue might be integrated into the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, traditionally supported-up to 90%-by hunters and anglers.

Impact! President of the WYldlife Fund, Chris McBarnes, knows a little about it. If you read his bio here, you will see he came into his present position with the idea of positive impact as his NorthStar.

Chris’ mission from the Board was to ‘make a home for everyone who loves wildlife’…

This portal to contribute to projects that directly benefit wildlife, was exactly what Taylor was looking for when Chris accepted his position in March of 2020, but of course, the events that stalled a nation, kept them waiting too.

The wait was worth it. Over the year, ideas surged, and the delay gave them time to pitch and refine, adapt, discard, and start again! Taylor and Chris formed a strong bond through their commitment to the goal of opening doors for businesses that depend on Wyoming’s wildlife for their livelihood. Promoting the idea, to tourism-based establishments, that they would now be able to support projects that enhance wildlife, became the rallying cry and Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow was born.

On April 20th, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioners, together with the Grand Teton National Park Superintendent and the Manager of the National Elk Refuge, and their key senior staff, graciously accepted an invitation to take a tour with Taylor to enjoy what watchers come from all over the world to experience.

Wyoming is the least populated state in the lower 48, so ‘day-tripping’ is a small portion of the 4-4.5 MILLION people that come every year, specifically to see landscapes and wildlife. Those far-flung visitors depend on Wyoming hospitality. They eat, rent rooms, houses, campsites, buy souvenirs, clothes, entertainment, and then return home with precious memories, which they cherish, and share, and maybe even renew as they are able. In fact, Taylor’s Ecotour Adventures is one of 50 road-based wildlife watching businesses in Jackson alone that collect toward an estimated $377M that wildlife watchers spend and the total $511M added annually to Wyoming’s economy, providing 5,184 jobs. (UW 2017)

Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow has already become the ‘Ah-ha’ moment for at least 28 businesses in and around the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in just the last few weeks.

Although the wildlife itself remains blissfully unaware of the effort and collaboration that Chris, Taylor, and Wyoming’s business leaders are spearheading, the projects that the businesses select and make a tax-deductible contribution to-and you will know them by the beautiful plaque they display-will positively support and sustain the wildlife for generations to come.

Muley Fanatic Foundation

Critical wildlife crossing project receives another impactful donation!

Thanks to our friends at the Muley Fanatic Foundation another $10,000 is headed towards I-25 (Kaycee to Buffalo).

Muley Fanatics are making a difference!

A 15-18 mile span of road on I-25 starting just south of Kaycee and north towards Buffalo is a high priority wildlife crossing project for the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.

This is the second most deadly section of interstate in Wyoming for wildlife. On average, 1,841 vehicles traveled this section of interstate daily in 2018. Mule deer are heavily impacted along this stretch of roadway.

Deer currently use the interstate right-of-way and median areas for forage, creating an unsafe environment for deer and vehicles.

This generous gift will help fund fencing to funnel wildlife movements under the interstate using existing structures.

Once completed, this project will allow for safe deer movements across the interstate, increase habitat connectivity and maintain populations and improve traveler safety.

The project is one of the most cost effective in the state, especially considering an interstate crossing, and still boasts long-term solutions for mule deer.

The project is a top five public concern for the Upper Powder River Mule Deer Initiative.

There is buy-in and support for this project by WYDOT, BLM, landowners, Johnson County and numerous stakeholders. To date, 7 agencies and partners, plus multiple landowners, have contributed to this project.

The Muley Fanatic Foundation has made this project one step closer to reality!

Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Camp WILD

The WYldlife Fund Announces New Grant Awards

Funds Will Combat Aquatic Invasive Species in Laramie Region and Support Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Camp WILD

Grant awards benefit key initiatives in Wyoming!

The Wyldlife Fund is committed to putting money on the ground to advance key wildlife initiatives across Wyoming. We are pleased to announce the following gifts!

The Fisheries Division in the Laramie Region of Wyoming Game and Fish are working hard to keep aquatic invasive species (AIS) from infiltrating our pristine waters.

New Zealand Mudsnails (NZMS) are AIS that pose a significant risk to the blue ribbon fisheries of the Laramie Region. Game and Fish Laramie Region fisheries biologist will erect 10 boot cleaning stations with educational signs about the biology of NZMS and the risk of transporting them via gear. These stations will be located at high risk high use areas in the Laramie fisheries management area such as the Upper North Platte River, Diamond Lake, the Big Laramie River, Twin Buttes Reservoir, and Wheatland Reservoir #3. The signs and stations will be designed in the spring of 2021 and installed in the fall of 2021.

New Zealand Mudsnails are currently in the North Park and Front Range of Colorado and the Casper Region in the North Platte River. Mudsnails are thought to be moved to different locations via fishing gear in particular waders and boots. The goal of the NZMS informational signs and boot cleaning stations is to educate and engage anglers on the importance of cleaning gear and to also provide a tool for the public to use to help stop the spread of AIS. The WYldlife Fund is pleased to grant $1,250 to this important initiative.

The second initiative being awarded grant funds is Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Camp WILD. Wyoming Game and Fish does an excellent job of putting together camps which engage families with young children and high school youth!

Some of the main activities included at family camps are:
  • flycasting/fly fishing
  • bear safety & biology
  • canoeing
  • geocaching
  • outdoor survival skills
  • air rifle
  • archery
  • birdwatching
  • intro to wildlife management
  • nature hike to torrey creek falls
  • petroglyph hike / history of the Whiskey Basin WHMA

Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Camp WILD

High school youth camps include many of the same activities, including:
  • inquiry-based research projects
  • hike to lake louise
  • intro to wildlife management (including radio telemetry and sampling)
  • intro to fisheries management (hands-on sampling)
  • bear safety & biology
  • intro to birdwatching
  • air rifle
  • archery
  • canoeing
  • flycasting
  • -GPS/geocaching

Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Camp WILD

Thanks to the Williams Foundation we are pleased to announce a gift of $2,500 to support Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Camp WILD. The WYldlife Fund is committed to supporting the Department’s Inspire a Kid program and we will continue to invest in the future of conservation through these great young people!
Thank YOU for your continued support.
All the best,
Chris
2020 Accomplishments-success for WYO's wildlife

2020 Accomplishments – Success for WYO’s Wildlife

Because of partners and ardent supporters like YOU, The WYldlife Fund deems 2020 a success!

This year has been anything but normal. However, the spirit of America and Wyoming will never be broken. In the face of tremendous trials and tribulations the citizens of Wyoming kept moving forward, never batting an eye at the odds before us. Our thoughts and prayers are with every individual, couple, and family who have been impacted by COVID-19. Our love and support will always be with you.

This was the first year “on the ground” for The WYldlife Fund. Our Board of Directors, volunteers and supporters stepped up and helped advance Wyoming’s wildlife in a big way. We are a small organization but mighty in our passion and drive for wildlife.

Not only have individuals stepped up to support The WYldlife Fund but several of our fellow not for profits have partnered with us to help the wildlife we all hold dear. The WYldlife Fund is simply unable to express enough gratitude for these individuals and organizations.

So, what has been accomplished? The following grants and sponsorships were proudly approved by The WYldlife Fund in 2020.

Grant or Sponsorship Amount
Red Rim Grizzly WHMA Fence Conversion $10,000
Access YES $10,000
Dry Piney Wildlife Crossing $49,500
I-25 Buffalo to Kaycee Wildlife Crossing $135,000
Land Owners Awards Banquet $394
Wyoming Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet $7,850 (held in reserve until event is rescheduled due to COVID-19)
Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness $2,500
Governor’s 2020 Wildlife Conversation License Plate Initiative $2,500
Absaroka Fence Initiative $150
Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation Trail Camera Project $4,676.06
Total: $222,570.06

 

These gifts were made possible by several partners who include the Knobloch Family Foundation, the Muley Fanatic Foundation, the Mule Deer Foundation, and the Williams Foundation. Along with these amazing foundations there have been countless organizations who have stepped forward to chip in anywhere from $5 to $1,000. We thank each and every one of these selfless individuals.

On top of these grants and sponsorships The WYldlife Fund worked with the Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resource Trust to generate $885,000 in matching dollars to advance the the I-25 Kaycee to Buffalo wildlife crossing project. We thank WWNRT and Executive Director Bob Budd for their tireless efforts and support. 

Thanks to Commissioner Mike Schmid and Commissioner Gay Lynn Byrd The WYldlife Fund was the recipient of two Wyoming Commissioner Licenses which were raffled off and auctioned for $24,016.20 and $22,000 respectively. All of these funds were committed to on the ground wildlife projects.

The Wyldlife Fund also held our first virtual auction. We had several donors step forward and donate amazing experiences. Everything from a Belize beach vacation to a world class pheasant hunt in Cowley, Wyoming were donated for auction. The auction generated $8,396.70. Just as our Commissioner License revenues all of these funds were committed to on the ground projects throughout Wyoming.

COVID-19 obviously impacted fundraising events across the spectrum for all nonprofits. We were saddened to cancel a joint golf outing scheduled to be held on September 12th in memory of September 11th, 2001 with our good friends at Hunting with Heroes. We hope to join back together with Hunting with Heroes for a golf outing next September.

The year 2020 also provided the jumpstart of Wyldlife Art.

Jessie Dube of Buffalo created our very first WYldlife art print. Staring Contest is inspired by the majestic moose. We thank Jessie for lending her incredible talents to the creation of this world class painting. All prints come framed, matted, and ready for display! The outside measurements of the frame are approximately 16X13 inches and you may choose from two different frame colors and three different matte colors. Every print is numbered, signed by the artist, and comes with a certificate of authenticity. A big thank you to Prosinski Custom Framing and Fine Art in Buffalo for helping bring this idea to life!

Donations are the engine which keeps our mission churning forward but we see our organization as being much more than this. We are also rolling up our sleeves to give back to the great state of Wyoming and its wildlife.

The year 2020 saw The WYldlife Fund taking part in volunteer projects which included adopting a stretch of Highway 789 outside of Lander! Our cleanup took place in the baking sun but it didn’t stop the heart of our volunteers.

The WYldlife Fund was also thrilled to join with the Absaroka Fence Initiative in Cody. We took part in helping convert one mile of 4 barbed wire fencing into smooth wire wildlife friendly fencing! This conversion will help the passage of antelope, elk, and mule deer for the years to come.

The WYldlife Fund will continue to unite people to advance Wyoming wildlife habitat, research, and education. Remember, this mission isn’t possible without YOU.

Although 2020 has been a trying time, just as in the enduring spirit of America, The WYldlife Fund perservered. We will continue to push forward to help the wildlife we all know and love. This will be achieved through a tireless work ethic, collaboration, partnerships, and holding the values of Wyoming close to heart.

We wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and holiday season. The best is yet to come.

See you in the field,

Chris McBarnes
President
The WYldlife Fund

$100,000 Gift to Kaycee-Buffalo Wildlife Crossing Project

$100,000 gift announced to I-25 Buffalo-Kaycee Wildlife Crossing project

The WYldlife Fund Announces $100,000 Gift to Kaycee-Buffalo Wildlife Crossing Project

Gift from Knobloch Family Foundation makes safe crossings possible.

Buffalo, WY – November 18, 2020 – A generous gift from the Knobloch Family Foundation means another $100,000 is going to the I-25 Kaycee to Buffalo wildlife crossing project. This lower cost transportation project will save wildlife and keep our drivers on the go.

In announcing this gift, The WYldlife Fund President Mike Schmid expressed the Fund’s commitment to supporting Wyoming’s wildlife and promoting safety on roadways for all drivers.

“We thank the Knobloch Family Foundation for their generous gift and know that crossings are an effective way to make a positive and direct impact on our wildlife across Wyoming as well as keeping our drivers safe,” Schmid said.

The I-25 Kaycee to Buffalo Project, mileposts 255-270, has the second highest rate of collisions with deer on a Wyoming interstate. The interstate currently limits the safe movement of mule deer seeking additional habitat. This shovel-ready project will utilize exclusionary fencing to funnel wildlife to six existing crossing structures, such as underpasses, bridges and culverts. This project will also add deer ramps, gates, and cattle guards, as needed.

Statewide, over 6,000 animals like deer, pronghorn, elk, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats die each year from collisions. This number may even be larger due to underreported crashes.

In affirming this gift, the Knobloch Family Foundation Executive Director Nicole Korfanta explains how this gift furthers the Foundation’s mission.

“The Knobloch Family Foundation recognizes the importance of landscape connectivity for wildlife, and one way to promote that is through crossing projects like this one. We’re excited to see agencies and other stakeholders come together to improve highway safety and allow mule deer and other animals to access both sides of I-25,” Korfanta said.

“The cost-effective approach of this project will save our wildlife and serve as a model for other projects like it throughout the west,” Schmid said.

The WYldlife Fund will route this generous gift by the Knobloch Family Foundation through the Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resource Trust Fund to be matched dollar for dollar. This will result in a total project gift of $200,000.

“The attention to public health and safety, as well as the protection of mule deer in Wyoming is unparalleled, and The WYldlife Fund has been a major player in that regard. Governor Gordon, the Wyoming Legislature and the private sector have all stepped up to make these projects happen, and we appreciate the opportunity to make a difference for our wildlife and our people,” Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resource Trust Executive Director Bob Budd said.