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WYDOT: Forage permits required to harvest hay near roadways

Sunrise is seen looking east over Pine Tree Junction on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023. (WYDOT webcam)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Forage permits are required for any resident looking to harvest hay from state-owned rights-of-way, according to the Wyoming Department of Transportation.  

Permits are available through the department and allow holders to mow and collect the forage free of charge through Oct. 1, WYDOT says, adding that adjacent landowners to state rights-of-way have until April 1 to file for a forage permit, after which permits will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Per WYDOT, offering the public the opportunity to apply for a forage permit allows farmers and ranchers to obtain free livestock forage while creating a beneficial relationship that reduces the costs of maintaining public roadways. 

“Removal of tall grasses and other plants from the rights-of-way is a safety issue as well as an appearance issue,” WYDOT says. “Wildlife and other animals often move to highways when other food sources become scarce. This results in animals being struck by vehicles. Predators and scavengers then inhabit these areas and are involved in other vehicle–wildlife crashes.”

Tall grasses alongside highways also create a fire hazard, according to WYDOT, which says fires can be started by passing motorists who have faulty equipment or who discard burning cigarettes. Fires started near highways can also jump across roadways and impact adjacent property. 

Those interested in obtaining a permit can do so by contacting WYDOT maintenance offices in Sheridan, Buffalo, Gillette, Moorcroft, Wright, Hulett, Sundance and Newcastle, per WYDOT.