Now, imagine that at one point along this journey these mule deer are funneled into a 400 meter wide passage. This happens twice every year at the Fremont Lake Bottleneck in Sublette County, Wyoming. To make matters worse, a key 364-acre parcel in this bottleneck went on the open real estate market in 2004, with the expectation that it would be subdivided into residential housing lots, which would cut off this crucial migration pathway.


The Conservation Fund acquired the property on April 17, 2015, which takes it off the open market and helps secure a conservation future for the lands. Without this protection, a private buyer could have subdivided this key wildlife haven for adverse residential development. In addition to the acquisition, the Fund has raised funds for fence modification, habitat enhancement and long-term management of the property. In 2016, The Conservation Fund donated the 364-acre Fremont Lake Bottleneck property to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission. The new Luke Lynch Wildlife Habitat Management Area (WHMA), located along the western front of the Wind River Range north of Pinedale was named in honor of Luke Lynch, who was the Fund’s Wyoming state director and had helped conserve this portion of the migration corridor, as well as many other critical properties in the State, before his untimely death in 2015.


Researchers at the University of Wyoming have identified the Fremont Lake Bottleneck as the most threatened lynch pin in this internationally significant wildlife phenomena. The property we aim to protect is wedged between Fremont Lake to the north and the growing town of Pinedale, Wyoming, to the south, forcing the entire migratory population (4,000 – 5,000 mule deer) to negotiate a narrow 400 meter wide corridor. Residential development of this critical area would severely diminish, if not entirely eliminate, this essential pathway.

“Every effort must be made to ensure that these migratory bottlenecks are maintained, while using a voluntary approach that reflects property rights of landowners. Your [TCF] effort to acquire the property off the open market from a willing seller fits the voluntary approach that we support.”

—Sublette County, Wyoming Board of Commissioners