GILLETTE, Wyo. — Wyomingites who want to harvest hay from the state rights-of-way must first obtain a forage permit, the Wyoming Department of Transportation said today.
Those who live next along WYDOT’s rights-of-way have until April 1 to file for the permit. After April 1, permits are issued on a first come, first-served basis, the department said. It examines applications for right-of-way field conditions and requirements before issuing a permit. The permittee must show proof of liability insurance coverage. The permit allows holders to mow and collect forage free of charge through Oct. 1.
“Offering the public the opportunity to apply for a forage permit allows farmers and ranchers to obtain free livestock forage,” the department said. “It also creates a beneficial relationship that reduces costs to maintain the public roads and provides free forage for agricultural operations.”
Removal of tall grasses and other plants from the rights-of-way is a matter of safety and aesthetics, the department said. Wildlife and other animals often move to highways when other food sources become scarce, and they might be struck by vehicles. Predators and scavengers then inhabit these areas, which can also lead to vehicle/wildlife crashes. Motorists who discard burning cigarettes or who have vehicles with faulty exhaust systems or brakes might cause fires, which tall vegetation along highways could exacerbate. Fires near highways can jump across roadways to adjacent property.
To obtain a forage permit, contact WYDOT maintenance offices. The number for Gillette’s is 307-685-5942. Wright’s is 307-464-1361.