By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming raised more than $300,000 in 2020 through the sale of state conservation license plates.
The money will be invested in projects that improve Wyoming’s roadways and reduce vehicle collisions with wildlife, Gov. Mark Gordon announced.
“Thank you to the thousands of people, businesses and organizations who purchased the Wyoming Conservation License Plate and helped fulfill this challenge,” Gordon said. “We share the roads in Wyoming with our abundant wildlife, and the funds generated from the sales of the plate serves as a basis for projects that can prevent crashes with over 6,000 big game annually.”
The Wyoming conservation license plate is a permanent specialty plate option for drivers and is available for $180 with an annual $50 retention fee, in addition to regular registration fees.
The funds, along with other donations, will be used to support wildlife crossing initiative projects throughout the state. Planning and research for these projects is led by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Wyoming Department of Transportation.
Currently, there is a list of 240 projects throughout the state aimed at improving roadway safety.
Gordon extended his appreciation to the 44 Wyoming businesses that helped with the sale of the plates by joining a challenge in which they would offer discounts to drivers of vehicles displaying the conservation plates. Other companies were honored for equipping their entire vehicle fleets with the conservation license plates.
“Many businesses and organizations took the extra step to outfit their vehicle fleets with this plate and show their dedication to this cause, and I am very appreciative of those efforts as well,” Gordon said.
In August, there had been 15 vehicle/wildlife collisions, resulting in 19 injuries but no fatalities.
When it comes to a vehicle crashing into an animal in Wyoming, injuries are more likely than a fatality, according to the data provided. The highest number of fatalities resulting from such crashes was three in 2015.
A 10-year chart tracked what type of animals are involved in crashes on Wyoming highways, with deer being named the winner by a landslide. From 2009 to 2019, there were 23,058 collisions involving deer.