The Lake DeSmet lease agreement signed Wednesday by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Johnston County now releases Sheridan County from any responsibility for the lake.
Up to this point, Sheridan County had held part ownership of the lake for about a decade through a coalition, though the body of water is located in Johnson County. Sheridan County Commissioner Tom Ringley called us Wednesday morning, right after the meeting to relay the details.
He then went on to explain what this means to the people of Sheridan County.
He said all the maintenance responsibilities associated with the lake, now fall to Johnson County. The issue was addressed during a meeting of the state game and fish department held in Casper. Along with Ringley, Sheridan County Commissioners Bob Rolston, Steve Maier and Mike Nickel also attended. The only Sheridan County commissioner missing from the group was Chairman Terry Cram.
The good news for the county citizens, said Ringley, is that Lake DeSmet is no longer an issue for Sheridan County.
As mentioned earlier, as part of the agreement, the Game and Fish department will pay a little less than $3 million to Johnson County to lease the water in the lake for 99 years. As per the new contract, Johnson County will be paying a half a million dollars back to Sheridan County, over the next five years, in increments of $100,000 a year, from money collected from the Game and Fish Department.