I would like to encourage Sublette County residents to support the proposed annual closure of the Fremont Lake “Bottleneck” to assist mule deer migration during the months of April and November.
This area, identified as the “Finger Lakes Segment” in Wyoming Game and Fish documents, has a distinct wasp shape as seen from aerial photographs. The petiole or narrow “waist” of the mule deer crossing zone sits directly south of the toe of Fremont Lake.
I’ve watched the annual migration over several years, seeing mule deer attempt to avoid humans and pursuing canines, while navigating their two crossing areas, near the Fremont Lake outlet and irrigation/dam control structure/pedestrian bridge. Within the past two years, two additional residential structures have been constructed on the east side of Fremont Lake in the Lake Ridge subdivision, adjacent to a historical resting spot for migrating ungulates.
There are an additional four currently vacant residential lots in the Lake Ridge subdivision, which will be developed at some point in the future. Further, in 2003, the U.S. Forest Service approved the construction of a 50-plus room hotel adjacent to the existing Lakeside Lodge. The ever-increasing development, with its accompanying vehicular traffic, supplies, tourists, bicyclists and people taking advantage of this world-class recreational spot, continues to place pressure on this important mule deer migration crossing.
Homeowners along Pine Creek, i.e. Hidden Hills subdivision for one, can testify to the presence of mountain lions traveling through this corridor. These mammals also hunt along Fremont Lake as one was treed and shot in the Sylvan Bay Summer Homes area in 2022. Mule deer are a primary source of nourishment for mountain lions, so the presence of these predators is a significant stressor.
As it seems the cards are stacked against these long-distance mule deer travelers, I suggest that the U.S. Forest Service consideration of the Fremont Lake Migration Closure proposal receive the highest urgency. This section of the mule deer migration will not miraculously move to another spot and re-form. If not protected, it will simply cease to exist. Their migration saga will be told to later generations beginning with the words, “I can still remember seeing mule deer by the thousands….”
Jocelyn Moore, Pinedale