Forest roads may not be passable on May 1 (posted 4/24/17)
Late winter conditions may delay accessibility to backcountry
Bridger-Teton National Forest
While winter wildlife restrictions will lift on the Bridger-Teton National Forest on May 1. 2017, most forest roads will not yet be drivable or open.
"We still have a long period of snowmelt ahead and we are seeing several issues our roads and highways already." said Jackson District Ranger Dale Deiter. "While we will be lifting the winter wildlife closure on May 1, roads may still be snow drifted, heavily saturated, or impassable," he said. "Visitors should be prepared to walk into areas or take their horses. There will no longer be restrictions to human presence, but the reality is that access roads may not be drivable or may be closed to prevent resource damage." he said. "We are also concerned with the overall wet forecast between now and May 1st." Lastly, Deiter stated, that "we are committed to opening roads as soon as practical because we want to have people out enjoying their public lands."
People come to the Bridger-Teton from faraway places such as Wisconsin, Gillette WY; Maybell and Rifle, CO; and even closer communities like Rocksprings and Dubois, WY to look for antlers that have been dropped as wildlife moves from the winter ranges to higher ground.
The current status of roads on the Jackson Ranger District for those planning to venture out on May 1 is the following:
• Gros Ventre road – lower gate may open at midnight depending on conditions; regardless the road will be closed to motorized vehicles until June 1st above the gate near Red Rock Ranch; non-motorized use is allowed. Several landslides near Atherton Creek and Russold Hill are being repaired this week.
• Flat Creek road – the gate on the National Elk Refuge opens at midnight April 30th and people will be able to drive to the Forest trailhead; the road will be closed past the trailhead
• Curtis Canyon road – the gate on the National elk Refuge will probably open at midnight depending on conditions and people will be able to drive up to the campground/overlook area; the upper part of road will remain closed due to snow and wet road conditions
• Shadow Mountain north and south roads – closed due to snow
• Ditch Creek road – closed due to snow
• Fall Creek road – closed due to snow
• Granite Creek road – closed due to snow
• Mosquito Creek road – closed due to snow
• North Fork Fall Creek – closed due to snow
Visitors to the Bridger-Teton National Forest can obtain free copies of motor vehicle use map by visiting http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/btnf/maps-pubs . No wheeled motor vehicle travel is permitted off of designated roads and motorized trails. The higher elevation roads take a long time to dry out after the winter. Even at lower elevations, pockets of wet areas can keep an entire road closed.
Depending on spring warm up and drier weather, the Bridger-Teton may be able to report the opening of some lower elevation roads by May 1, but some years the wet conditions prevent that from happening. When roads are wet, vehicle travel can cause considerable resource damage by creating deep ruts. Road widening can also occur when vehicles drive around deep pools of water. The chances of getting stuck are higher earlier in the season.
Once roads open remember to not attempt routes more beyond your skill level or vehicle capabilities and be prepared in case you get stranded. Be mindful of the damage driving on wet roads can cause as the Forest has limited capacity for repairs and impacts may persist through the summer and fall. Changes in weather can result in impassable conditions even when roads are open. To learn if a road is open or closed please call the Bridger-Teton National Forest at 307-739-5500 or visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/btnf/recreation for the latest in trail, road and campground conditions.
Adventure Lovers invited to answer the ‘Call of the WY’ (posted 4/21/17)
Wyoming Office of Tourism's Immersive Promotion features a tiny house and epic adventures
Wyoming Office of Tourism
The Wyoming Office of Tourism is looking for an adventurer who's ready to leave their regular life behind for six weeks of exploring Wyoming's epic landscapes as part of an experiential "Call of the WY" promotion this summer.
Part of the larger national "That's WY" campaign for the Wyoming Office of Tourism, the "Call of the WY" promotion includes a casting call that invites interested adventurers to apply at HGTV.com/CallOfTheWY, where they will be asked to tell WOT about themselves and share why they'd like to spend six weeks under Wyoming's big blue skies as they explore the state's wide-open spaces.
"For those of us lucky enough to live in Wyoming, we understand the things that make it so special. The wide-open spaces, the mountains, the outdoor recreation, the beautiful skies, the wildlife and most importantly the people," said Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. "Visitors to the state get a glimpse of this, but with the 'Call of the WY' promotion, those participating will get to experience the full breadth of why we choose to live in Wyoming."
Through the "Call of the WY" promotion, Wyoming and its diverse landscapes, activities and colorful characters will be highlighted through the eyes of the selected adventurer as they road trip around the state in a 200-square-foot tiny house.
"Wyoming is a destination that's ideal for adventure," said Diane Shober, executive director of Wyoming Office of Tourism. "We know that prospective travelers have Wyoming on their vacation radar because it's a place that remains wild and free and where anything is possible."
During their six weeks in the Cowboy State, the adventurer from the casting call will visit iconic locations and have authentic Wyoming experiences that include driving the Beartooth Highway and soaking in natural hot springs in Cody/Yellowstone Country, attending a pow wow in Wind River Country, stargazing near Pinedale and hiking in Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.
The "Call of the WY" will be hosted on HGTV.com/CallOfTheWY and the WOT website at TravelWyoming.com/Call-Of-The-WY, with commercial spots running on HGTV. In addition, it will have a strong digital presence on HGTV channels and a social media presence on WOT's channels--including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram--while the selected adventurer from the casting call will be sharing their first-person experiences at HGTV.com/CallOfTheWY and on their own social media channels.
"This promotion combines the three trends of tiny house living, road trips and authentic experiences," added Shober. "And there's no better way to have an immersive experience in the place we call home than to travel through Wyoming for six weeks."
Beware of ‘Facebook Friend’ scam (posted 4/17/17)
Beware the 'Facebook scam'
Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office
ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING - April 20, 2017 - The Sheriff’s Office today issued an alert concerning a social media scam circulating in the county.
Sheriff Mike Lowell said his office has received reports, particularly from Green River residents, concerning a resurgent "Facebook Friend" scam.
Intended victims receive a "friend" request from someone they know on the Facebook network; the red flag is (or should be) that the individual is already one of his or her Facebook friends.
Thinking it’s safe because they know the individual, the victim-to-be accepts the "friend" request, and that’s when the trouble starts.
Criminals re-create an already-existing Facebook profile using that individual’s profile picture and "About" information. Next, they employ the fake new profile to send "friend" requests to that person’s Facebook friends.
If the friend request is accepted, the scammers then have access to the many personal details in a person’s profile, including location, photos, date of birth, and status updates. These simple details can be used as substantial steps toward full-blown identity theft and the havoc that ensues.
This particular "Facebook Friend" scam adds an additional twist, Lowell said.
If you "friend" the scammer, you are then contacted by him/her (posing as your friend), who informs you that your name has appeared on a government award list that says you are entitled to stimulus/grant/award money in some large amount - in this latest instance, $90,000. Your "friend" then provides a text number to contact, where you learn that you must send in a "collection charge" - ranging from $750 to $1,000.
That, of course, is the sting: if the scammer is successful, you send in the bogus "collection charge" and you never hear from your counterfeit "friend" again.
Lowell said that when it comes to scams of all sorts, the Sheriff’s Office works to foster awareness and prevention.
"We encourage everyone to follow the MAP principle," he explained. "Remember the letters of the word MAP. "
M - If you are contacted and they ask for Money (M), it’s a scam.
A - If you are contacted and they ask for Account information (A), it’s a scam.
P - If you are contacted and they ask for Personal information (P), it’s a scam.
Cybercrime specialists recommend that Facebook users exercise caution and never accept "friend" requests from someone who is already a Facebook friend. Another strategy has also proven helpful - to avoid being contacted by these scammers, consider changing your Facebook security settings so strangers can't see your photos, profile or friends list.
For more information on scams of all kinds, the Sheriff’s Office recommends the Federal Bureau of Investigation's website at www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud as an excellent source of information.
Hoback River blockage cleared (posted 4/20/17)
Bridger-Teton National Forest
JACKSON, WYOMING April 20, 2017 –The tree that had been blocking the Hoback River channel on the Bridger-Teton National Forest has cleared.
Earlier this week, river users reported a blockage of the river channel at a location in the Hoback known as Sherri's Ledge, near Hoback Junction, Wyoming. Obstructions in a river channel are particularly hazardous when water levels rise and currents are swifter due to increased river flows.
"With the amount of avalanche activity and the summer fires we had last year, the opportunity for trees to be in the river channel and blocking the stream is much higher this year," said Bridger-Teton National Forest Wild & Scenic River Manager David Cernicek.
River users are encouraged to consider the following before attempting any springtime boating on the Bridger-Teton.
• Properly wear safety gear such as life jackets and helmets at all times.
• Check water levels the day of your trip to determine the relationship of the water level to the degree of hazard. Low or high water changes the character of rapids and the difficulty and manner in which they should be run. In addition, high water carries debris such as whole trees and logs that can pose serious and unpredictable risks.
• Rapids are not posted, listen for them, know where they are and scout them prior to running them.
• Be constantly alert for logs and other debris that may have become lodged in critical passages.
• Spring and early summer water temperatures are cold and hypothermia can set in rapidly if you are exposed to cold water for even a short period of time.
• Alcohol and other stimulants impair judgment and motor functions affecting your ability in making quick decisions. Use a designated driver just as you would when driving an automobile. Don't risk your safety and the safety of others.
• Accidents occur on the river shoreline too. Be cautious when entering and exiting your vessel and wear appropriate footwear.
"Keep in mind that response time to river rescues can vary depending on where the incident is located on the rivers," said Cernicek. "Around every bend there is a chance for blockages to appear and it is up to everyone to be sure they are alert and to plan accordingly," he said.
For more information, visit the Forest Website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/btnf. For additional information, contact the Bridger-Teton National Forest at (307) 739-5500.
Game & Fish delays opening of four Wildlife Habitat Management Areas near Pinedale to protect migrating deer (posted 4/20/17)
Wyoming Game & Fish
PINEDALE, WYOMING - Coming off one of the hardest winters western Wyoming has seen in recent history, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has announced it will delay opening the Soda Lake, Fall Creek, Halfmoon and, the recently acquired, Luke Lynch Wildlife Habitat Management Areas near Pinedale until May 10, 2017. The closure prohibits any human activity. The decision was made primarily to afford migrating mule deer extra protection from human disturbance. These four Game and Fish administered properties are located within a major migration corridor for the Sublette Mule Deer Herd. Game and Fish considered other closures, but these four are the most important for mule deer at this time.
The delayed opening of the Soda Lake Wildlife Habitat Management Area will also preclude anglers from accessing Soda Lake for fishing until May 10.
It’s no secret that this past winter has been particularly hard on local deer and pronghorn populations. Wildlife managers are estimating a minimum of 80 percent of last year’s mule deer fawns to have perished this past winter, as well as an above average portion of the adult animals.
There cannot be an extension to the annual antler hunting season on other public lands, because that season is set in state law. The antler hunting season closure law prohibits the gathering of shed antlers from January 1 through April 30 on all public lands west of the Continental Divide in Wyoming. These dates have been set by the Wyoming State Legislature and cannot be changed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.
Game and Fish officials are asking all recreationists to respect these seasonal closures and to use good judgment when encountering wildlife after a long, hard winter. "We realize the extensions on the winter closures are an inconvenience for antler hunters and others wanting to get out and recreate," said Pinedale Region Wildlife Supervisor, John Lund. "There are still other places people can go and we believe the extension will benefit deer migrating through these critical areas. Deer that have survived this winter are in poor body condition and are extremely vulnerable to continued mortality throughout the spring. We ask everyone to be part of helping our mule deer and all wildlife start to recover from this winter."
Wyoming Community Foundation awards spring 2017 grant recipients (posted 4/18/17)
Wyoming Community Foundation Spring 2017 grant awards.
The Wyoming Community Foundation announced the winners of their spring grant program at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 18th at the Sublette County Visitor Center in Pinedale.
This year’s winners were:
Children’s Discovery Center
Main Street Pinedale
Sublette County Library Foundation, Inc.
Sublette County Sexual Assault Family Violence Task Force (SAFV)
Wyoming Natural Resources Foundation
Community Resource Center of Johnson County (Prevention Coalition of Sublette County)
Children’s Discovery Center applied for a grant that will assist their early educational services and community based programs to the Sublette County community. CDC is focused on providing a safe, healthy, affordable and nurturing environment where developmental and educational needs of children are addressed. Their community based programs include Inter-generational programs with the Sublette Center; food and gardening programs with local farmers market; Literacy program with the Sublette County Library.
Main Street Pinedale applied for a grant for the GO SPOKES! Bike Share Program. The grant will assist in the purchase of 10 bikes and a docking station which will be installed at the Sublette County Visitor Center in downtown Pinedale for public use. This will be the first paid bike share program in the state of Wyoming. The program is intended to provide recreation, tourism and a transportation option for those visiting Pinedale.
Sublette County Library Foundation applied for a grant to provide a bike/skateboard repair station to be located at the Library. Due to the location of the skate park in close proximity to the Library, the Library has been a "go to" for borrowing tools to repair skateboards, scooters and bicycles. This grant will allow for tools to be used as needed without being checked out at any hour. The repair station is also anticipated to serve the growing number of cyclists that travel through the town of Pinedale.
SAFV Task Force applied for a grant to provide a comprehensive direct service advocacy and prevention program to Sublette County residents who live in big Piney and Marbleton areas through a satellite office in Big Piney. SAFV’s goals are to provide fundamental services to victims of crimes; assist in strong community collaboration; be engaged in the community. The SAFV Task Force provides a wide range of services to those who need assistance in crisis situations.
Wyoming Natural Resources Foundation applied for a grant to the Sublette County Conservation District to promote and educate the community on natural resources and responsible management of these resources on private lands. The SCCD will be at the Spring Expo conducting seminars on gardening, small acreage grazing management, and raising chickens. (They were not present at this award presentation.)
Community Resources Center of Johnson County (Prevention Coalition of Sublette County) applied for a grant for speakers at the 2nd Annual Prevention Education Summit to be held in Pinedale June 12 & 13th. Speakers will assist in educating Sublette County citizens on drug, alcohol misuse and suicide prevention needs. The summit will cover topics to educate first responders, community members and collaborating agencies interested in learning about methods of prevention for their community.
The Wyoming Community Foundation is a family of funds for nonprofit organizations in Wyoming. For over 25 years the Wyoming Community Foundation (WYCF) has granted nearly $50 million to Wyoming nonprofits, while also providing a variety of supports to their agency fund holders. This spring, the WCF awarded 15 grants in Sublette County. The family of funds is composed of the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance, the Wyoming Wildlife Foundation, and the Wyoming Women’s Foundation. The WYCF is overseen by a volunteer board who ensures funds are being used to best support Wyoming. Local WYCF board members are: Aimee Davison, Ann Chambers Noble, Roger McMannis, Carolyn Bing, Charmain McLellan, Janet Bellis, Bettina Sparrowe. WYCF staff member Mandy Ferril also attended.
Click on this link for more photos
www.wycf.org Wyoming Community Foundation
www.pinedalediscoverycenter.org Children’s Discovery Center
www.mainstreetpinedale.com Main Street Pinedale
www.sublettecountylibrary.org Sublette County Library Foundation
SAFV Task Force Facebook page
Sublette County Prevention Coalition Facebook page
www.sublettecd.com Sublette County Conservation District
Rocky Mountain Power seeks rate decrease for Wyoming customers (posted 4/18/17)
Rocky Mountain Power
CASPER, Wyoming (April 17, 2017) Rocky Mountain Power has asked the Wyoming Public Service Commission for a rate decrease for customers totaling $16.2 million. For the average residential customer using 733 kilowatt hours per month, this will mean a decrease of approximately $15.36 annually.
In addition to today’s request for a rate decrease, Rocky Mountain Power pledges to not increase base rates before January 1, 2020.
"When customers’ rates are set, they include the costs of electricity such as fuel and wholesale electricity purchases. These costs fluctuate, so there is a method to adjust rates for our customers. This proposed decrease is the result of an annual filing and, if approved by the Wyoming Public Service commission, will be effective June 15, 2017, on an interim basis," said Rita Meyer, Rocky Mountain Power Vice President.
Part of this requested decrease includes adjustment for the sale of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). The RECs represent the environmental attributes of renewable energy produced by the company. RECs are sold on the open market and revenues are credited to customers to lower their bills.
"These adjustments led us to request a decrease for our Wyoming customers," Meyer said. "We work hard to provide reliable electric service at reasonable prices, and these annual power cost adjustments are made so our customers do not overpay or underpay for the electricity they use."
The Wyoming Public Service Commission will review the request for this decrease with interim rates scheduled to take effect June 15, 2017.
About Rocky Mountain Power
Rocky Mountain Power provides safe and reliable electric service to more than a million customers in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. The company works to meet customers’ growing electricity needs while protecting and enhancing the environment. Rocky Mountain Power is part of PacifiCorp, one of the lowest-cost electricity providers in the United States. More information at rockymountainpower.net.
Wolf News Roundup 4/18/2017 (posted 4/17/17)
Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
Yellowstone Wolf Killed
The National Park Service reports that on April 11, hikers discovered a severely injured wolf inside Yellowstone National Park near Gardiner, Montana. Park staff investigated the situation and concluded the wolf was in shock and dying from the injuries. "Staff on scene agreed the animal could not be saved due to the severity of its injuries. The decision was made to kill the animal and investigate the cause of the initial trauma," said P.J. White, Chief of the Wildlife and Aquatic Resources Branch. At this time, the nature of the initial injuries is unknown. An investigation into the cause of the injuries has begun which will include a necropsy.
Park staff identified the wolf as the white female of the Canyon Pack, one of three known white wolves in the park. This wolf lived to 12 years, twice the age of an average wolf in the park and had a broad range that extended from Hayden Valley to the Firehole River area to the northern portion of the park. For these reasons, the wolf was one of the most recognizable and sought after by visitors to view and photograph.
The Associated Press reports that Montana wildlife officials are proposing a harvest of up to four wolves in the wolf hunt areas north of Yellowstone National Park. For more information, see the links below.
Nineteen Democratic lawmakers in Oregon have signed a letter requesting that Oregon wildlife officials reject the possibility of wolf hunting. The letter responds to a proposal that would allow the public hunting of problem wolves already deemed subject to lethal control eastern Oregon. According to media reports, 14 of the 19 legislators signing the letter are from the metro area of Portland – an area not impacted by wolves.
Oregon’s wolf population is up slightly from last year, but the number of wolf attacks on livestock increased significantly, according to press accounts. Monitoring the state’s wolves has proven difficult, with a number of radio-collars failing.
Montana - Associated Press report
Oregon Politics - Statesman Journal
Oregon Wolf Monitoring - Statesman Journal
Pronghorn on the move (posted 4/14/17)
A pronghorn antelope herd runs across the Trappers Point Wildife Overpoass as part of their spring migration. Photo by the Trappers Point Wildlife Overpass webcam.
Spring migration north has begun
The antelope have started to move north up the Green River Valley beginning this week. Reports are that they can only get about as far north as 40 Rod Road due to deep snow further north into the Kendall Valley, but things have dried out in the Pinedale area and grass is starting to green up. Big and small herds are moving up over and across the Trappers Point Wildlife Overpass which gives them safe passage over highway US 191 between Pinedale and Daniel. Many hundreds of pronghorn have crossed over already in the past several days. Typically the herds are moving through very quickly, and can go from horizon to horizon in the webcam view from south to north in under ten minutes.
The best way to watch the migration is to view from the live webcam, so as not to disturb the animals. The camera is set to patrol pre-programmed viewpoints about every three minutes. Sometimes camera administrators may also move the view in real time to follow some of the herd movements. Click on this link to watch the real time live camera and to learn more about the Path of the Pronghorn seasonal migrations: www.trapperspoint.com.
(Shameless plug: We welcome advertising sponsors to help us pay to maintain the operation of this webcam so wildlife biologists have access to the recorded video and photos of the herd movements across the overpass for research purposes. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 307-360-7689 anytime.)
Click on this link to see more pictures: Pronghorn on the move
Trapper’s Point Wildlife Overpass webcam offers live views of migrating pronghorn
Pronghorn Migration Interpretive Site completed in Wyoming Pinedale Online! April 12, 2016
Path of the Pronghorn Sculpture Project Facebook page
Path of the Pronghorn Wildlife Conservation Society
BLM Burma Road washed out (posted 4/12/17)
Burma Road washed out - temporarily closed. Photo courtesy Pinedale Field Office - Bureau of Land Management.
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management Pinedale Field Office regrets to inform the public that a section of Burma Road in Sublette County has washed out.
The washout on Burma Road is approximately 8 miles north of Luman Road. Traveling from Highway 351 the washout is south of Blue Rim. Flagging is posted at the washout to notify motorists.
Through travel from Highway 351 to Luman Road is not possible on Burma Road at this time. Access to Luman Road can be achieved from Jonah North Road or multiple locations off Highway 191.
The Pinedale Field Office will advise the public when a repair timeline has been determined.
The BLM respectfully asks the public to not attempt to cross the washed out section of road or travel off road to bypass the washout.
Please drive cautiously in the area and on all BLM roads.
For more information, contact the BLM Pinedale Field Office at 307-367-5300.
Click on this link for more pictures
Bridger-Teton National Forest completes Environmental Assessment for Oil & Gas Exploration near Big Piney (posted 4/6/17)
45 day pre-decisional objection period open
Bridger-Teton National Forest
BIG PINEY, WYOMING, April 4, 2017 – The Bridger-Teton National Forest Big Piney Ranger District has completed the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the True Oil - Lander Peak Area Exploratory Proposal.
True Oil’s valid, existing federal leases for the Lander Peak Area Exploratory Proposal were issued in 1969. The draft decision selects the Mitigation Alternative with minor revisions and includes development of two exploratory wells; one on existing Well Pad 42-27 which would be expanded and one on proposed Well Pad 23-15 which would be reconstructed. True Oil would also install a water supply well and temporary surface water line. "If True Oil determines there is economic potential for the Lander Peak Area as a result of this exploration project, they would be required to submit a Master Development Plan prior to full-field development," said Big Piney District Ranger Don Kranendonk.
"The Mitigation Alternative was developed in response to public input collected during the scoping process," said Kranendonk. The proposed decision is subject to a pre-decisional objection. Objections, including attachments, must be filed with the reviewing officer, Forest Supervisor Patricia O’Connor, within 45 days of publication of the Legal Notice in the Casper Star Tribune. Those wishing to submit objections electronically should email to email@example.com; mail or hand delivery to Bridger-Teton National Forest, P.O. Box 1888, 340 N. Cache, Jackson, WY 83001; or fax to 307-739-5010.
This project is not to be confused with the signed Forest Service Record of Decision (ROD) for Oil and Gas Leasing on Portions of the Wyoming Range that occurred on January 17, 2017 and where potential impacts were analyzed in a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS). The signed ROD selected the "no leasing" alternative for oil and gas leases on 39,490 acres on the eastern slope of the Wyoming Range within the boundary of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. True Oil’s valid, existing federal leases were issued in 1969 and were not part of the lands considered for oil and gas leasing in the 2016 FSEIS and the 2017 ROD.
The Draft Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact for the True Oil Lander Peak Area Exploratory Proposal is available on the Bridger-Teton National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=31165. For additional information concerning this project contact: Anita DeLong, Environmental Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, 307-886-5329.