KEMMERER – It all started with a call from the governor. Kenneth Roberts, the clerk of the 3rd Judicial District Court in Lincoln County, received a call asking him to finish out the term of former Wyoming Game and Fish Commission member Mike Schmid. Roberts had applied years ago for the position and is happy to be on the commission.
“It is a great honor,” Roberts said. “Like everybody in Wyoming, I love the outdoors and the wildlife. It’s a huge responsibility. You have to be acutely aware of the wildlife and fisheries in Wyoming.” Roberts said, because of that, he is diving into the position cautiously and trying to understand concepts he doesn’t know.
Roberts was appointed to District 3, which encompasses Lincoln, Uinta, Teton and Sublette counties, for the remaining two years of Schmid’s term. Roberts said he will be voting with the board, but an emphasis will be placed on his district counties.
Roberts has lived in Lincoln County his whole life, except during his college years. As a youth, Roberts grew up in Star Valley. After college, Roberts said he moved to Kemmerer, where he lives now. He said he brings a perspective of a sportsman or a common person.
“I have the perspective of being a guy that shows up and shares the stream for fishing,” Roberts said. “I just have a desire to make it better.”
According to Roberts, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is a “vast agency” that deals with large amounts of land and wildlife. Roberts says he came into the position with no agenda; however, he did say his focus was on senior citizens.
“I want to ensure senior citizens are able to enjoy the state’s parks and wildlife,” Roberts said. For example, Game and Fish is working on a new website, according to Roberts. Roberts said he checked with them to make sure it would be easy for senior citizens to navigate. On the old website, it was “tough to find what you needed,” he said.
Although he has only been to one meeting, Roberts said he is impressed with the thought they put into every agenda item.
“Everybody truly wants to be there and improve the outdoors in Wyoming,” Roberts said. “Everybody is in it to help.” Roberts said that Gov. Mark Gordon is interested in improving the outdoors for everyone in Wyoming.
Roberts believes everyone deserves a seat at the table when it comes to the discussion of wildlife and the outdoors. The wide open spaces and low population of roughly 500,000 are perfect for an adventure in the outdoors for those living in the state.
“If you live in Wyoming, you are apt to love the wildlife and the beauty of the outdoors,” Roberts said. “Everybody has ideas and opinions on how things should be done. We do the best we can to listen to everyone.”
He said there are currently a few projects on the table for the commission, including mule deer corridors, deer-friendly fences, trapping reform and elk feedgrounds. He wanted to assure everyone that the commission has no plans to close any feedgrounds at any time soon.
Many of the deer projects are to prevent deaths and injury when encountering human development, such as roadways.
According to Roberts, one project in Casper has planted vegetation along the road that the deer don’t like to eat. This will, hopefully, prevent deer from meandering along the side of the road as well as push them to cross at a faster pace, according to Roberts.
While there are not too many projects in the area yet, Roberts is confident in the ability of the commission to handle them when they come up.
“The volunteers are great,” Roberts said. “Everybody wants to see and help the beauty of Wyoming.”