Wildlife Federation donation helps fund purchase
A one-of-a-kind, 320 acre tract of Lower Illinois river front property will be available to Oklahoma sportsmen forever, thanks to the Wildlife Department's first property purchase using Legacy Permit funds, donated funds from the Oklahoma Wildlife Federation and Sport Fish Restoration funds.
"This is a unique property which encompasses almost a mile of the Illinois
River trout stream and it is very exciting that we were able to secure it
for future generations of anglers. This is certainly the biggest news
for Oklahoma fishing that has come along in a very long time," said
Kim Erickson, chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
Located in Sequoyah County between Lake Tenkiller and the town of
Gore, the 320-acre area will continue to provide access to trout anglers
and will also offer hunting opportunities beginning in 2007. In the
coming months fisheries and wildlife biologists will begin work on stream habitat and wildlife habitat improvements, access improvements for anglers and hunters and new public fishing and hunting regulations for the area.
To purchase the property the Wildlife Department used several different funding sources. Notably, the purchase marks the first use of the funds from the Hunting and Fishing Legacy Permit.
Most hunters and anglers must carry the permit, which was passed in 2004 by the Oklahoma State Legislature.
"Fishing is a way of life to so many Oklahomans and since so many anglers have been so supportive of the Hunting and Fishing Legacy Permit it is only fitting that we were able to make this purchase on their behalf," said Greg Duffy, director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "I'm confident that over time this will become a real crown jewel of our public fishing and hunting areas."
The Oklahoma Wildlife Federation also provided a significant funding source for the purchase. Last year, the Federation gave the Wildlife Department $200,000 for purchasing land for fish and wildlife conservation and over $125,000 was used for this purchase.
"We are proud to partner with the Wildlife Department in this landmark purchase and we at the Oklahoma Wildlife Federation are excited about the future and finding more ways we can work toward the common goal of securing wild places for the enjoyment of all Oklahomans," said Andy McDaniels, director of the Oklahoma Wildlife Federation.
However, the majority of the purchase price was paid for by sportsmen through the Sport Fish Restoration program. Fishing tackle, as well as boat trolling motors, is subject to special federal excise taxes which help fund conservation efforts around the country. Additionally, federal fuel taxes attributed to motorboats are directed towards conservation.
The federal government collects these taxes from manufacturers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers and reimburses the funds to the state fish and wildlife agencies. The funds are used by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for a wide range of important activities, including the purchase and maintenance of public fishing areas.
Complete details about this new public fishing and hunting area will be available in the "2007 Oklahoma Fishing Guide available in the early spring or in the "2007-08 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" available next summer. For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
Anglers are reminded that everyone who fishes the designated trout stream between Tenkiller Dam and Highway 64 bridge are required to possess a trout license. Trout anglers ages 17 and under can purchase a youth trout license for $5, trout licenses for anglers 18 and older $10. There are no exemptions from purchasing the trout license. Additionally, anglers must have a state fishing or combination license and if 18 or older they must possess the hunting and fishing legacy permit unless otherwise exempt. Residents age 17 or younger, or age 64 and older are exempt from the legacy permit. Non-residents age 13 and younger are also exempt.
Before visiting one of Oklahoma's trout areas, check the "2006 Oklahoma Fishing Guide" for complete regulations, as well as maps and additional information for each area.