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Counters help track visitors to Wildlife Management Areas

JEROME - Answers to questions like, "How many people fish at the Hagerman Wildlife Management Area or what's the average number of weekend hunters at the Niagara Springs Wildlife Management Area?" are now at the fingertips of biologists with the installation of portable traffic counters by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. "We know a lot of people use the WMA's, but we didn't know how many," said Scott Gamo, Fish and Game Habitat Biologist. "These counters just help us quantify it." The Hagerman WMA counter, installed Oct. 16, revealed over 900 vehicles entered the WMA in a three-week time frame. The Niagara Springs WMA counter told much the same story. One counter on the main entrance to the area has been averaging about 110 vehicles each weekend and another 110 vehicles during the week. "We just get a lot of people using these WMA's," said Gamo. "There is a high demand from the public for Fish and Game managed land. These areas provide recreational opportunities for people that don't have access to private land for hunting and fishing." Knowing how many people are visiting WMAs and how that use changes throughout the year provides critical information when decisions are made concerning resource management. "The more information we have the better we can manage the wildlife, habitat and people visiting the six WMA's in the region," said Mark Fleming, Fish and Game Regional Habitat Manager. "The more we know the better we can protect the resources and provide services for the people."