March 7, 2008
Cheyenne, WY - After 39 years of service to the state,
Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director Terry Cleveland is
retiring, effective June 30, 2008. The Wyoming Game and Fish
Commission will immediately commence a nationwide search for his
replacement. The commission will select three final nominees for the
position and forward those names to Governor Freudenthal, who will
make the final selection.
A Rawlins native, Cleveland began his career with the department in
1969 after graduating from Colorado State University. His first
assignment was as Special Deputy Game Warden at Elk Mountain. As his
career as a Wyoming Game Warden progressed, he was assigned to
stations in Jeffrey City, Greybull, and Saratoga. In 1978 he was
promoted to District Wildlife Supervisor for the Casper district. In
1996 he was promoted to Assistant Division Chief in the Wildlife
Division. And in 2003 he was appointed Director of the Wyoming Game
and Fish Department.
"Few people have the good fortune to spend their entire professional
life in employment for which they have a passion," said Cleveland.
"I am one of the lucky few who have looked forward to going to work
on a daily basis for almost four decades."
"Terry Cleveland may be the finest director that the Game and Fish
Department has ever seen," said Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal.
"During his tenure, he navigated some of the most difficult wildlife
management issues that our state has ever faced, including the
delisting of wolves and grizzly bears and the ongoing challenges of
sage grouse conservation and brucellosis. As he grappled with these
challenges, Terry did so with a sense of mastery, and conducted
himself in a manner that built confidence in department staff and in
the citizens of Wyoming. Terry will leave the Game and Fish
Department in very good condition heading into the future, and I
thank him for his dedication, his service and his enduring
commitment to the state. I will miss him as a colleague and a friend
and hope to not let him go very far as I will continue to rely on
him for his wise counsel."
"It's been a pleasure to work with all the people I've crossed paths
with during the past four decades," said Cleveland. "We are blessed
to have professional, dedicated people throughout the department.
The Wyoming Game and Fish commission has done an outstanding job of
bridging the gap between the department and the public while always
keeping the best interests of Wyoming's wildlife at the forefront. I
also want to recognize the efforts of Governor Freudenthal and the
Wyoming Legislature. Their commitment to Wyoming's wildlife
resources has made my job much easier. And finally, I would like to
thank all of the private landowners who provide habitat for wildlife
across the state. The richness, abundance, and diversity of
Wyoming's wildlife resources would not be nearly so great without
the contributions of the hundreds of private landowners in the
During his tenure as director, Cleveland focused on finding
additional sources of funding for wildlife management in Wyoming. He
was instrumental in obtaining general fund appropriations for a
number of wildlife programs that benefit Wyoming's citizens,
including capital facilities, veterinary services, management of
gray wolves, sage grouse conservation, and sensitive species.
"The department's management and conservation programs have
traditionally been funded almost entirely by hunters and anglers,"
said Cleveland. "But I've always felt that Wyoming's wildlife
benefits all of our citizens, and that those who don't hunt and fish
should have the opportunity to help support conservation and
management of these precious resources. As hunter and angler numbers
continue to decrease and costs for management and conservation
continue to rise, one of the most pressing challenges for the future
of wildlife in Wyoming will be finding a dedicated funding stream
for wildlife and fisheries management in the state."
As director, Cleveland also oversaw the removal of grizzly bears and
gray wolves from the federal list of threatened and endangered
species and the transition of those high-profile species from
federal to state management. He led the implementation of a new
electronic licensing system that provides new levels of customer
service and convenience for hunters and anglers. Cleveland was also
instrumental in addressing the problem of brucellosis in northwest
Wyoming, and helping the state regain its brucellosis-free status.
Though Cleveland was involved in many high-profile projects over the
past four decades, one of the most important for Wyoming's wildlife
was his role in resolving the controversy over private game farming,
which embroiled the department from the late 1980s to early 1990s.
Cleveland was intimately involved in developing and defending
Wyoming's position throughout this process. His involvement and
perseverance were critical to the ultimate decision to say no to
game farming and associated problems with wildlife diseases in
Wyoming and have helped make Wyoming the envy of others throughout
the United States and Canada with an entrenched game farming
Looking to the future, Cleveland said he sees a number of challenges
on the horizon for Wyoming's wildlife and their habitats, including
the myriad of diseases and invasive species that plague wildlife;
adapting to the challenges brought on by continued persistent
drought and climate change; addressing the loss of habitat due to
urban and industrial expansion; and fulfilling the Wyoming Game and
Fish Commission's statutory mandate to provide for an adequate and
flexible system for control, propagation, management, protection,
and regulation of all Wyoming wildlife.
"It has been my privilege, honor, and great good fortune to have
served on the Game and Fish Commission these past four and a half
years that Terry Cleveland has served as director," said Bill
Williams, president of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission. "The
passion, institutional knowledge, and most of all the credibility he
brought to the job is unsurpassed in the history of the department.
The department, the commission, and most importantly wildlife and
the people of Wyoming have benefited immensely from not only his
four and one half years as director--but his nearly forty years as a
dedicated, fully engaged Game and Fish employee. I'm sure I speak
for the entire commission when I say that there will be a huge void
to fill when he leaves the department--but at the same time we wish
he and his wife, Donna, all the very best as they enjoy his well