Game and Fish members include director Brian Nesvik, Jason Burckhardt, Joe Skorupski, Sam Hockhalter and commission president David Rael. (Courtesy photo)

Members of the Cody regional office of Wyoming Game and Fish received special recognition for developing a public-private collaboration plan to restore cutthroat trout in the Bighorn Basin.

Fisheries specialists Sam Hochhalter, Jason Burckhardt, Joe Skorupski and education specialist Tara Hodges were acknowledged for their conservation efforts with the 2019 U.S. Forest Service Rise to the Future Award for Public Awareness.

The staff project was “The Cutthroat Trout Collaborative” and the planning process connected the agency, the public and the Bighorn and Shoshone national forests soliciting ideas to plan the future for the native and popular fish.

Alan Osterland, chief of fisheries in Cheyenne, who previously manned the Cody office, praised the group.

“Within our agency, we know the excellent work our employees do,” he said. “However, it is an honor when they are recognized nationally for their work.”

Hochhalter, who spearheaded much of the effort, said this recognition also demonstrates the public interest and dedication to cutthroat trout restoration and preservation.

“This was a huge ask of the public,” Hochalter said of the time committed at public forums, “and without their participation and willingness to take time out of their lives to help us, it wouldn’t have been the success it was.”

(3) comments

Gift that is Giving

ok, there was type of "collaboration" between the G & F and the public. A lot of big talk, a lot of big planning. ok, since then, what has been done? these cutesy little G & F and public get togethers never seem to add up to anything and the fishing in our area seems to only go downhill.

not sure if I'd be accepting any trophies or atta-boys just yet, G & F department

Pahaska Angler

About the only thing that most of use see Game and Fish accomplish is driving around in new trucks and burning fuel. The other response is correct - the fishing around here is much worse than 20 years ago. Thanks Game and Fish, thanks a bunch

TU 4 life

the cutthroat collaborative is another feel good but do nothing puff of smoke from our g & f department. how many of these public dealings need to be put on and yet no one is really listening? look at the quality of fishing today in cody country, now compare it to 5, 10 even 20 years ago. this present biologist regime at the g & f has dropped the ball and we're getting scarily to the point of no return. many of us see no reason to be handing out trophies and plaques for mediocrity and not truly listening to the public

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