Forestry Conservation Program
Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp
Wyoming State Forestry Division
#40 Pippin Road
Newcastle, WY 82701
307-746-4436, ext. 227
WYOMING FORESTRY CONSERVATION PROGRAM
Wyoming State Forestry Division utilizes an inmate crew to provide state trust land management, fire management, and community assistance projects.
Background and Operations: (1964- Present) Wyoming State Forestry Division and the Board of Charities and Reform (later incorporated into the Department of Corrections) have combined efforts and resources in the development and support of a Forestry Conservation Camp Program manned by inmates from a Wyoming Department of Corrections facility. Prior to the authorization of the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp by the legislature, the Wyoming State Forestry Division, in conjunction with the Board of Charities and Reforms, operated fire and conservation camps in the Black Hills area as early as the 1960’s and in the 1980’s in the Snowy Range area. These camps were manned by a forestry technician, one correctional officer, and six inmates from the Wyoming State Penitentiary.
The Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp was constructed in 1989 on state land north of the town of Newcastle. The Wyoming Department of Corrections operates the facility and the State Forestry Division manages the Forestry Conservation Program. The program consists of a Program Manager, a Module Leader, and seven Correctional Forestry Crew Supervisors. Each Crew Supervisors directly supervises up to ten inmates assigned to the Forestry Conservation Program. The Forestry Conservation Crews work year-round to complete project work assigned.
FORESTRY CONSERVATION CREW USE:
State Trust Land Management: The majority of crew time is spent performing forestry management activities on state lands. This includes pre-commercial thinning, timber stand improvement, fuel reduction, salvaging cut wood, slash burning, tree planting, seed collection, wildlife habitat improvement and forest health projects.
Fire Management Activities: The Forestry Conservation Program trains inmate crew members to National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) standards as Basic Wildland Firefighters. The program is available year-round as a wildland fire resource, identified as the “Wyoming Smokebusters.” When fully staffed, the Smokebusters are a type 2 Handcrew available to assist on Federal, State, and County fires throughout Wyoming and the Blackhills of South Dakota. The Smokebusters are available for initial attack, extended attack, and mop-up on fires, as well as prescribed / controlled burns.
Community Assistance Projects: Local, State, and Federal government agencies can apply for assistance from the Forestry Conservation Program. The work must not compete with private enterprises and should be of public benefit with emphasis to natural resources. Agencies must fill out a “Project Proposal” application for scheduling of a crew. These projects include building and placing sandbags during floods; large natural resource-based work; waste clean-up; and living snow fence planting and wildlife habitat improvements for conservation districts. Project applications can be requested through the Forestry Conservation Program Manager.