Ocean Lake fish habitat got a boost Saturday from donated Christmas trees
Kevin Johnson from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in Lander annually obtains a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deposit the trees in the lake, and determines where the trees will be placed.
Howard Johnson of Riverton and a group of friends started the fish habitat improvement project nearly a quarter century ago and Howard has been here every year since hauling and placing the trees on the ice. He estimated that over 8,000 trees have been placed in the lake since the project began.
One volunteer this year, Tom Baysinger, said he used to come out and fish at Ocean Lake with his his late friend Gary Gatenbein, and the two volunteered over the years to help with the habitat project. “I guess you can say I’m coming out to help in Gary’s memory,” he said.
The trees are hauled out into the lake by four wheelers and trailers, wired together in groups of ten, and anchored by five cinder blocks. The warmth from the dark trees helps melt the ice, and when they melt through, the weighted trees fall to the bottom.
Saturday the ice at the drop off point was 15 inches thick.
Andrew Frey, the new superintendent of the Solid Waste District, was on hand Saturday helping place the trees on the lake along with the other volunteers.