Casper, Yu. Albert Somers, Majority Leader of Rancher and Wyoming House, was honored with the 2022 National Land Private Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Award.
The Wyoming Department of Fish and Game said Monday it had nominated Somers for the National Award.
“Albert Somers is an outstanding leader in conservation on the ground along with his outstanding representation on boards, committees, and the Wyoming legislature,” said Brian Nesvik, director of Wyoming Game and Fish. “He and his family have a basic understanding that an economically viable cattle ranch and healthy wildlife habitat are not mutually exclusive. His practices and his voice for wildlife are truly important to the West.
“For these reasons, Game and Fish is proud that Representative Summers has been honored for his contributions to Wyoming. He is a model for our state and nation for conservation practices.”
Jim & Fish said Summers owns and operates a third-generation farm in the upper Green River Valley near Pendel. The working farm is 1,876 acres and is part of the largest conservation and public access easement in Wyoming, according to Game and Fish.
The Sommers-Grindstone Conservation project that led to this conservation easement is one example of why Game and Fish nominated Sommers for the award. Sommers Ranch and an adjacent landowner entered their entire property to create the easement in 2010.
“By working with additional land owners, the conservation easement now exceeds 19,000 acres and spans nearly 30 square miles, making it the largest in Wyoming,” said John Lund, Pennedale & Game District Wildlife Supervisor.
The land in the Conservation Easement is located in two areas considered important for wildlife in western Wyoming, including parts of the Sublet Mule deer migration corridor, the longest mule deer corridor in the world. Sommers Ranch has participated in the Wildlife Incentive Program, which aims to remove fences and implement other wildlife-friendly measures.
Fishermen and anglers are able to access the farm through game and fish access management initiatives.
“Sommers, in partnership with the Grindstone Cattle Company, has awarded five miles of quick relief to fishing,” Game and Fish said. “The public access and boat launch area is one way to enter the Green River for pontoon fishing and bank fishing, which is very limited in the area. The farm also provides opportunities for small and large game hunting.”
Another example of why Game and Fish nominated Summers for a National Award is his approach to cattle grazing.
“Beginning in 1996, Somers began a collaborative field monitoring program with the University of Wyoming,” the department said. “The volunteer group monitors range conditions, identifies areas of interest and – if necessary – grazing changes to achieve goals with species such as sage grouse in mind.”
Sommers Ranch has 26 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Game and Fish added. The statement said the farm welcomes group tours of the community and school to learn about its history and lifestyle, raising livestock and appreciating the outdoors.
Summers has served on the Wyoming Brucellosis Coordination Team, the Colorado River Basin Working Group, the Three Governors Committee on the Review of Bear Conservation Strategy in Yellowstone, the Sage Gross Green River Basin Working Group, and the BLM Rock Springs Mixed Use Advisory Group. and fish. He also helped found the Sublet County Invasive Species Task Force.
He has been a member of the Wyoming Livestock Board and has served as president of the Green River Valley Cattleman Association and the Game and Fish Association of the Top Green River Valley Cattleman.
Sommers has received other awards related to conservation and stewardship, including the Best Game Owner in Wyoming and Fish Management Award, the Wyoming Leopold Conservation Award and Outstanding Contribution to the Sage Grouse Initiative Award.
“Re\come back. Sommers has spent his life living and working around the wildlife of western Wyoming,” Lund said. “He understands and appreciates the role and importance of all wildlife on the landscape, and strongly supports reasonable conservation measures to ensure the future prosperity of wildlife populations. I offer the department’s deepest congratulations – and thanks – to Rep. Summers and his family on behalf of Wyoming Fish and Wildlife.”
Wyoming Stockgrowers, the Wyoming Association of Conservation Distres, and the Muley Fanatic Foundation submitted letters of endorsement in support of Summers’ Game and Fish nomination for the 2022 National Land Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Award.
“I have a deep respect for these landscapes that I occupy and for the wildlife that coexist with them,” Summers told Game and Fish after learning of the award. “This landscape has defined who I am and what motivates me as a rancher and legislator. We are on the cusp of change in Wyoming, and I fear that the deep respect for the landscape that has imbibed us who have lived here for generations will disappear.”