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Pinedale Online!
Pinedale, Wyoming  •  www.PinedaleOnline.com
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Weather update, Wednesday, April 1, 7:30AM: Gusty west winds and dry conditions will increase wildfire risk across Sublette and Sweetwater counties-please avoid agricultural and debris burning in these areas today. Cooler temperatures with rain/snow showers possible in the NW mountains today, with an outside chance for a thunderstorm. Expect slick road conditions in the stronger showers and remember, when thunder roars-go indoors to protect from lightning. Colder with a chance of snow showers Thursday. Weekend expected to be dry with windy conditions that could potentially increase fire danger ahead of a cold frontal passage. Daytime highs in the 30s & 40s, nighttime temps in the teens & 20s.  
DARE to resist drugs and alcohol
DARE to resist drugs and alcohol The fifth grade classes in Big Piney celebrated the culmination of their DARE program at the Fine Arts Center on Friday, March 27, 2015. Over the course of their program, the students learned the health effects and facts about alcohol and tobacco, how to deal with stressful situations, bullying, helping others, dealing with peer pressure, and a number of other essential lessons that they will be able to carry with them as they move into the Middle School next year. Pictured above, Sheriff Haskell looks on as Deputy Mason Zeiger presents gifts and certificates of appreciation to Big Piney Elementary School Principal, Amy Bell, and teachers Christine Willford, Logan Barlow, and Jeanne Davis. Click here for more pictures (3 photos) Photo by Sublette County Sheriff’s Office.
Sage Grouse
Sage Grouse strutting his stuff Arnold Brokling sent in this photo of a male sage grouse strutting out on the desert. This is the mating season for these birds. Photo by Arnold Brokling.
Gas Prices
March 28, 2015
Pinedale2.499
Big Piney2.399
Wyoming2.239
USA2.426
Regular unleaded average.
WY & US provided by AAA.
Diesel Prices
March 28, 2015
Pinedale3.099
Big Piney2.999
Wyoming2.830
USA2.844
WY & US provided by AAA.
Headlines:

Pinedale Local:

Big Sandy Clinic Annual Benefit May 2nd in Farson
Town of Pinedale update: Water Meters & Road Work
Eastern Star Card Party April 11
Third Annual Scrabble Tournament at the Library April 18
JIO and PAPO request public comment on Oil and Gas projects for 2015 funding
Big Piney celebrates DARE culmination
Sublette BOCES offers classes about gardening in Sublette County
M.E.S.A. Volunteer training offered in April
Wyoming Construction Lien/Notice Class in Pinedale April 22
Cast your vote for the Pinedale Gateway Project
Prenatal Classes begin April 8th in Pinedale
Kenneth Becker exhibit opening reception at the Library April 2nd

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Events: Click for event information
April 3 & 4: Wyoming Brewers Collaborative Brew in Pinedale - 4th Annual Wyoming Collaboration Brew will bring 20 microbreweries to the Wind River Brewing Company in Pinedale to brew a 620 gallon batch of beer together. Brewers reception Friday evening. Live music with and prized craft beers on tap.
April 4: Pinedale Lions Club Annual Easter Egg Hunt - Boyd Skinner Town Park on Saturday at 10:00 AM sharp! For children from toddler through 5th grade. Special visit from the Easter Bunny, so be sure to bring your camera.
May 30: April Lippincott Memorial Run/Walk - 5K or 10K walk/run/bike event fundraiser for Kickin’ Cancer in Sublette County. Starts at 9AM at the corner of Horse Creek Rd and US 191, just north of Daniel, Wyoming. Entry fee is a donation to Kickin’ Cancer, any amount. Customer appreciation at the Daniel Junction starting at 11:30AM. The Kickin’ Cancer annual fundraiser is June 6th. More info
June 20: The Color Dash 5K Fun Walk/Run - Starts at 535 N Tyler Ave in Pinedale. Packet pick up at 7AM. Color Dash starts at 9AM. Price $35/team, $40/individual, $85/family. All prices $10 more day of event. Register at www.thecolordash5K.com. Sponsored by Body Move and Altitude Drug
June 21: Hi Country Ranch Rodeo - Sunday, 9AM at the Pinedale Rodeo Grounds. 4 man teams compete in doctoring, branding, team roping, trailer loading, team tying & bronc riding. Enter by June 15th on Facebook or call 307-760-2778.
July 3 & 4: Chuckwagon Days in Big Piney - www.chuckwagondays.com
July 4: Town of Pinedale 4th of July celebration - Saturday, Pinedale Town picnic and 4th of July fireworks. www.townofpinedale.us
July 9, 10, 11: Rendezvous Rodeo in Pinedale - Thursday, Friday, Saturday, part of Green River Rendezvous Days celebration in Pinedale. 7PM, all three evenings at the Pinedale Rodeo grounds, just south of town.
July 9-12, 2015: Green River Rendezvous Days - In Pinedale
July 22-25: Sublette County Fair - Wednesday - Saturday at the Sublette County Fairgrounds north of Marbleton. For schedule and more info go to www.sublettecountyfair.com

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Pinedale Online is Pinedale, Wyoming on the web. We give our viewers, locals and out-of-area visitors, a "slice of life" snapshot window into our world view of what is happening in Pinedale. Visit us for current local news on what is happening, photos of local events, links to area businesses and services and more. We are long-time area residents and are happy to answer questions if you are planning a visit to our area. Much of our information is by community contribution.

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Anglers reminded of new fishing regulations (posted 4/1/15)
Wyoming Game & Fish
The warmer weather of the past few weeks has effectively removed the ice from most waters in the state and anglers in increasing numbers are taking advantage of the good fishing that is usually available once waters open up.

With that increase in fishing activity, the Game and Fish is reminding anglers of the new fishing regulations that went into effect beginning in 2015. These changes came about because of action by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission last fall and went through a series of public meetings.

Of interest to anglers and live baitfish dealers is the change that allows transport of live baitfish into the state from approved commercial hatcheries. The regulation includes new requirements specific to live baitfish importation. The new regulation will allow those holding a commercial hatchery license or a live baitfish dealer license to import fathead minnows from Game and Fish approved commercial sources outside the State of Wyoming.

"This regulation was changed specifically to improve the live baitfish supply for those anglers that prefer to use live baitfish," said Game and Fish fisheries chief, Mark Fowden. "We are confident the safeguards we have put in place by only allowing baitfish to be imported from secure sources will make it easier for anglers to get baitfish and still prevent introduction of unwanted species into Wyoming waters."

Other changes of note reflect a change in state law allowing the use of corn for bait and the use of artificial lighting devices while fishing. The regulation will continue to prohibit the use of artificial light when spear gunning for game fish.

Of interest to bass anglers is the liberalization of the size limit regulation for bass on several southeastern Wyoming waters. Festo Lake and Hawk Springs Reservoir have had the bass size limit removed completely. On Grayrocks Reservoir, the 15-inch minimum size limit has been removed. Anglers can now keep three (3) bass but only one can be over 12 inches in length.

The new fishing regulations booklet listing all changes is now on the Game and Fish website wgfd.wyo.gov. Printed copies are available at license selling agents. The new changes are highlighted throughout the booklet.


States challenge Feds on new fracking rule (posted 4/1/15)
North Dakota joins Wyoming in lawsuit
North Dakota is joining Wyoming’s lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management over its new fracking for rules for federal and tribal lands. Wyoming filed their challenge against the U.S. Department of the Interior on March 26, 2015. See the links below for more on the lawsuit. Wyoming argues that the BLM’s rule exceeds the agency’s statutory jurisdiction, conflicts with the Safe Drinking Water Act, and unlawfully interferes with the State of Wyoming’s hydraulic fracturing regulations.

Related Links:
North Dakota Joins Wyoming Fracking Lawsuit By Emily Guerin, www.wyomingpublicmedia.org, March 31, 2015
Wyoming Becomes First State To Challenge Federal Fracking Regs By Leigh Pater, www.wyomingpublicmedia.org, March 26, 2015
State of Wyoming v. United States Department of Interior, et al. (BLM Fracking Rule) State of Wyoming Attorney General’s Office
New Federal fracking regulations set to begin in 90 days www.pinedaleonline.com, March 20, 2015
Obama Administration Unveils Federal Fracking Regulations By Coral Davenport, www.newyorktimes.com, March 20, 2015


Granite Hot Springs Pool closed until mid-May (posted 3/31/15)
Due to spring thaw inaccessible road conditions
Bridger-Teton National Forest
The Jackson Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest is announcing the closure of Granite Hot Springs Pool a week earlier than its scheduled closing date due to the unusual warm conditions making the road inaccessible. Granite Hot Springs will be closed on Tuesday, March 31 for the winter season.

"The unusual early warm weather conditions we have had this winter has caused the roads to become excessively muddy and slushy for snowmobiles and snow bikes to reach the Hot Springs" said Linda Merigliano, Recreational Manager of the Jackson Ranger Districts. "A lot of our outfitters are done for the season and it just makes the most sense for both the public convenience and resource protection to close it a little early this year."

Vehicle access through Granite road is closed until May 1st. Granite Hot Springs Pool will open for the summer mid-May, if the weather is favorable.

For further updates on Granite Hot Springs or current road conditions on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/btnf/alerts-notices or call (307) 739-5500.


BLM High Desert District prepared for coming fire season (posted 3/31/15)
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) High Desert District (HDD) and its partners are working together to ensure they are ready for the 2015 fire season, which has already had 8 fires for over 1600 acres burnt. At lower elevations we have abundant dead grass and shrubs from last summer’s above average rain fall. Under our current warm dry conditions fires will burn and carry very quickly with little to know wind.

"We’ve met with county and local fire departments, the State of Wyoming Forestry Division and other federal agencies to coordinate wild fire responses and resources so that we’re prepared to protect the public at a moment’s notice," said Frank Keeler, High Desert District Fire Management Officer. "Each year, the district also signs formal operating plans with Teton, Sublette, Sweetwater, Fremont, Albany, Carbon, Unita, Lincoln and Laramie counties and fire districts to ensure seamless wild fire operations."

BLM Fire Management would like to ask the public to be aware of the elevated fire danger at this time and be proactive in preventing wild fires. No fire restrictions are in place at this time on BLM Public Lands, however, all outdoor users need to follow some common sense rules:
• No fire works on BLM Lands.
• Make sure camp fires are dead out.
• Travel and camp with a shovel, fire extinguisher and ample water.
• Ag burns on private lands, please ensure that your local authorities are aware and insure you have the ability to handle the amount of fire you put on the ground.
• Pay attention to wind speeds and wind direction before you lite.
• Sports shooting on public lands can and will start fires.
• Spark arresters on four wheelers/motorcycles etc. must be in working order, do not park your vehicle in tall grass that comes into contact with your vehicle’s exhaust system.
• Industry should have protective measures in place to limit fire ignitions, and report all wild fires promptly to 911 or 800-295-9953.

For more information, please contact Keeler at 307-352-0282.


Rocky Mountain Power asks for slight rate decrease for its Wyoming customers (posted 3/30/15)
Rocky Mountain Power
Rocky Mountain Power has asked the Wyoming Public Service Commission for a rate decrease totaling $17.6 million. For the average residential customer this will mean a decrease of 2.3 percent, or approximately $1.33, per month.

"When customers’ rates are set, they include the anticipated variable costs of electricity such as coal, natural gas and wholesale purchases. These costs fluctuate so there is a separate mechanism in place to make annual adjustments, subject to review by the Wyoming Public Service Commission. The proposed decrease is the result of such an annual filing and will be effective May 15, 2015, 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 produced the requested decrease for 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 is currently reviewing the request for this decrease with interim rates scheduled to take effect May 15, 2015.


Seminars on large carnivores to teach safety and awareness (posted 3/26/15)
Seminar in Pinedale April 29
It’s that time of year again when bears are waking up and people are preparing to enjoy the great outdoors. As spring arrives, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department reminds outdoor enthusiasts to be "bear aware" and take the necessary precautions to avoid conflicts with large carnivores.

Large Carnivore Conflict Coordinator Brian DeBolt said that at this time of year, bears are emerging from their dens.

"Typically, male bears emerge from their dens in mid-March and April, while females and young-of-the-year cubs emerge in late April and early May," DeBolt said. "This makes it an ideal time to attend a workshop to learn about large carnivores and how to avoid encounters and potential conflicts."

Educational workshops will be offered in communities across the state. At each workshop, Game and Fish large carnivore managers will present information about bear, mountain lion and wolf ecology, population status, management and more importantly, what people should do in an encounter situation. In addition, there will be discussion on preemptive measures to be taken by the public in order to reduce the likelihood of conflicts with carnivores.

Seminars are free and open to people of all ages and skill levels. Please call your local Game and Fish office for more information.

Community When Location Time
Dayton March 30th Dayton Town Hall 7:00-9:00pm
Sheridan March 31st Sheridan WGFD Regional Office 7:00-9:00pm
Cody April 9th Cody Library 5:30-7:30pm
Douglas April 9th Courthouse Community Room 6:00-8:00pm
Ten Sleep April 11th Senior Citizen Center 10:00-12:00am
Laramie April 11th UW Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center 10:00-12:00am
Lander April 13th Fremont County Library 6:00-8:00pm
Dubois April 14th Headwaters Art Center 6:00-8:00pm
Jackson April 15th Teton County Library 5:30-7:30pm
Pinedale April 29th Sublette County Library 5:30-7:30pm


Senators seek to repeal death tax (posted 3/26/15)
Washington, D.C.— Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., joined Senator John Thune, R-S.D. yesterday (March 25, 2015) to re-introduce legislation to permanently repeal the federal estate tax, better known as the death tax.

Enzi and Barrasso said the bill would permanently abolish the tax on family farms, ranches, and businesses. The senators believe a family’s assets, sometimes built up over generations, should be left in the hands of the family and will be put to better use there in the local community than shipped off to a wasteful Washington.

According to a study by former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, repealing the death tax would create 1.5 million additional small business jobs and would shave almost a percentage point off the unemployment rate.

Thune and Brady are the main sponsors of the bill. At its introduction in the Senate, the bill had 25 cosponsors in addition to Enzi and Barrasso. Representative Kevin Brady, R-Texas, introduced the same legislation in the house.

The bill is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, Associated Builders and Contractors, National Association of Manufacturers, National Federation of Independent Business, 60 Plus Association, Americans for Tax Reform, Club for Growth, National Black Chamber of Commerce, International Franchise Association, National Taxpayers Union, American Conservative Union, Family Business Coalition, and many others.


Senate passes Barrasso Amendment to protect water and property rights (posted 3/26/15)
Amendment limits EPA from adopting expanded and broad regulatory definition of waters of the U.S.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today (March 25, 2015), U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), successfully included an amendment to Senate Budget Resolution, S. Con. Res. 11, that limits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from adopting an expanded and broad regulatory definition of "Waters of the United States." The amendment passed the Senate by a vote of 59 to 40.

In addition to Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Barrasso’s amendment #347 was co-sponsored by Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Dan Coats (R-ID), John Hoeven (R-ND), Deb Fischer (R-NE), David Vitter (R-LA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Jerry Moran (R-MO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ben Sasse (R-NE).

"The EPA has made it clear it has no problem going around Congress and the American people to pursue its extreme regulatory agenda. The latest attempt to expand the definition of ‘Waters of the U.S.’ is no exception," said Barrasso. "The Administration claims it has no intention of using this rule to regulate things like drainage ditches and isolated ponds. My amendment simply holds the Administration to their word. This will give our farmers, ranchers and small business owners the certainty and peace of mind they deserve."

"I am proud to stand with the majority of the Senate to rein in EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers attempts to expand the regulatory definition of the term ‘water of the United States.’ EPA regulations have long been unchecked and costly to American taxpayers, and an attempt to expand federal control over land and water is no different. This amendment calls on EPA and the Corps of Engineers to keep their promises to members of Congress and farmers, and to heed the call from local governments to ensure that water management systems are not waters of the U.S. I applaud my colleagues who voted to recognize limits on federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, and pursue an environment with less red tape and more state control." – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)

Barrasso’s amendment #347 establishes a spending-neutral reserve fund to ensure federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act is focused on water quality, which may include limiting federal jurisdiction based on certain criteria.

Background:
Barrasso Amendment #347 specifically:

• Limits how the Environmental Protection Agency or the Army Corps of Engineers determine what is connected to the waters of the United States.

• Limits include not allowing the agencies to make a determination based on the movement of birds, mammals, and insects.

• Prevents determinations based on the movement of water through the ground – or the movement of rain water, or snow melt, over the land outside of a channel.

• Prohibits Water Pollution Control Act from extending to things like puddles, isolated ponds, roadside ditches, and wastewater systems.


New Federal fracking regulations set to begin in 90 days (posted 3/20/15)
Requires closer inspection of well sites, release of info on fracking chemicals, inspection of cement well casings, release of well geology info, more
Pinedale Online!
The New York Times posted an article today (Friday, March 20th) saying the Obama administration has unveiled the nation’s first major federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing of natural gas and oil wells. The new rules will only apply to oil and gas wells drilled on public lands. The vast majority of well drilling and fracking done today in the United States is done on private land, which some argue is because of the growing number of rules and restrictions the federal government is placing on mineral extraction and resource development on public lands. The rules will cover about 100,000 wells, according to the Interior Department. The New York Times article says these are expected to be the first in a series of new rules governing fracking by the Obama administration. Additional rules are expected to be forthcoming designed to curb the release of methane from fracking wells. Click on the link below to read the full article.

Obama Administration Unveils Federal Fracking Regulations By Coral Davenport, newyorktimes.com, March 20, 2015


Senators to EPA: Focus on polluted areas before restricting everyone (posted 3/19/15)
Senator Enzi media release
Senators introduce bipartisan bill to block EPA regulation from costing Wyoming billions

Washington, D.C. – Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., cosponsored legislation this week to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing regulations that could cost Wyoming’s economy tens of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs by setting the ground-level ozone standard at an onerously low level.

The Clean Air, Strong Economies (CASE) Act, led by Senator John Thune, R-S.D., and Joe Manchin, D-W.V., would stem the economic harm from a lower ozone standard by requiring the EPA to focus on the worst areas for air quality before lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone across the country.

NAAQS are outdoor air quality standards that measure the concentration of six main pollutants. The EPA’s new rule would lower the current ozone standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to between 65 and 70ppb. Counties that exceed the ground-level ozone standard are considered non-attainment areas and must implement expensive plans to reach compliance. The CASE Act would require 85 percent of areas currently not meeting the existing 75 ppb standard to meet compliance before the EPA could lower it further.

The proposed standard from the EPA could affect eight counties in Wyoming, including Lincoln County, Sublette County, Albany County, Goshen County, Laramie County, Platte County, Fremont County and Sweetwater County. A National Association of Manufacturers report details the heavy cost of compliance in Wyoming.

According to the EPA’s own estimate when it proposed a similar standard in 2010, the costs of the proposal to the country were estimated to be $19 billion to $90 billion per year. Industry estimates indicate that a 65 ppb standard would lead to 1.4 million fewer jobs per year, reduce annual GDP by $140 billion, and shut down approximately one-third of all coal-fired power plant capacity. This would have a tremendous impact on rural areas, which depend on coal as an affordable and reliable source of energy production.


Reminder: Prohibited to collect antlers until May 1st (posted 3/19/15)
Purpose is to minimize stress on animals from human disturbance during winter months
Wyoming Game & Fish
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department reminds antler hunters there is a season in place which prohibits the gathering of horns or shed antlers from January 1 through April 30 on public lands west of the Continental Divide in Wyoming. This regulation has been in effect since 2009 and applies to all state-owned lands, as well as federal lands.

In 2012, the Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners approved an annual restriction prohibiting the collection of antlers between Jan 1 and April 30 on all parcels of land under jurisdiction of the Board of Land Commissioners west of the Continental Divide. These lands are often referred to as "state lands" and are usually blue on land status maps.

In addition, many big game winter ranges in both Teton and Sublette counties have further restrictions to either human presence or motor vehicles during the winter months. However, the shed antler regulation applies to all federal or public lands not covered under such winter range closures.

Similarly, Wildlife Habitat Management Areas (WHMAs) managed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in the Jackson and Pinedale Regions are closed to human presence December 1 through April 30. For more information on Game & Fish WHMAs, you may visit the website at: http://wgfd.wyo.gov/accessto/whmas.asp

The purpose of the shed antler regulation is to minimize harassment or disturbance of big game animals on their winter and spring ranges when animals are most vulnerable to stress and displacement to less productive habitats. Colorado and Utah have similar regulations.

As with any regulation, the department realizes enforcement and public cooperation is key to its effectiveness. Each winter, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department brings in additional game wardens from across the state to increase the enforcement presence on key winter ranges, both to deter the poaching of trophy mule deer during early winter and enforce the antler hunting regulation after animals have shed their antlers.

Anyone witnessing a wildlife violation may call the Stop Poaching hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP. Tips are most helpful when they are reported promptly and include information such as the date, time, location and specific details about the suspected violation. Also important is a physical description of the suspected violator as well as a license plate number and description of any vehicles involved in the incident. Stop Poaching tips also can be reported online at: http://gf.state.wy.us/wildlife/enforcement/stoppoaching/submitTip.aspx. Tips may result in a reward and informants can choose to remain anonymous.


A male sage grouse strutting on a lek. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
A male sage grouse strutting on a lek. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
Spring's Natural Arrivals (posted 3/17/15)
Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
Spring's arrival is Sublette County is heralded by the trilling calls of newly arriving sandhill cranes in hay meadows, and the gentle songs of bluebirds. It's also the time that Greater Sage Grouse begin to congregate on their leks (traditional breeding grounds).

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department offers the following tips for viewing sage grouse as they strut on their leks:

• Arrive at lek sites at least one hour before sunrise.
Don’t drive onto the lek. Park away from the edge of the lek.
• Turn off the vehicle lights and engine.
• Use binoculars and spotting scopes to observe birds.
• Stay in your vehicle.
• Do not make loud noises or sudden movements.
• Do not leave until the birds do.
• Keep pets in your vehicle. Better yet, leave them home.
• Do not trespass on private land.
• Postpone your visit if roads are muddy.

Be especially cautious with viewing activities during late March and early April when breeding activity usually peaks. Late April is a better time to visit because most of the
breeding is complete but the males are still actively strutting. The weather is usually better too.

If you are not sure where to go to visit a lek, click on the link below to learn of a location near you.

Related Links:
Sage Grouse Lek Viewing Guide - Learn of a location near you


Ben Bradley was stabbed to death in June, 2006 while hitchhiking between Rock Springs and Jackson, Wyoming. The  unique snowboard he had with him has never been recovered. Anyone with information on the case, including information about Bradley’s unique snowboard, is asked to contact the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office or the Division of Criminal Investigation. Photo courtesy SCSO.
Ben Bradley was stabbed to death in June, 2006 while hitchhiking between Rock Springs and Jackson, Wyoming. The unique snowboard he had with him has never been recovered. Anyone with information on the case, including information about Bradley’s unique snowboard, is asked to contact the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office or the Division of Criminal Investigation. Photo courtesy SCSO.
Sweetwater County detectives examining new information in unsolved 2006 murder of Ben Bradley (posted 3/16/14)
Public’s help sought for information about stabbing death - have you seen this snowboard?
Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office
ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING The unsolved murder of a Colorado man whose body was found in a remote area north of Rock Springs in 2006 is being reviewed in the light of new information.

Ben Bradley, 28, of Tabernash, Colorado, was hitchhiking to Jackson, Wyoming, on a snowboarding outing when he disappeared in the Rock Springs area on the night of Friday, June 2, 2006. His badly decomposed body was found near the base of Boar’s Tusk, about 25 miles north of Rock Springs, by sightseers on October 1st of 2006. An autopsy determined the cause of death to be multiple stab wounds to the chest area.

At the time of his disappearance, Bradley had with him his custom-made Never Summer "split-board" snowboard, a representation of which is shown here.

Sergeant John Grossnickle of the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office said the snowboard splits into two short skis, permitting the user to climb up slopes. The split board can then be reassembled and used as a conventional downhill snowboard.

Bradley’s snowboard has never been recovered. Grossnickle said the Sheriff’s Officer is working closely with the Division of Criminal Investigation’s cold case unit in examining new evidence that has come to light in the case.

Grossnickle emphasized that the Bradley case has never gone inactive. "The information that has come into our possession has opened up fresh avenues in the investigation," he said. "We hope to use that information to solve Ben’s murder."

Given the fresh developments, authorities are asking that anyone with information on the case, including information about Bradley’s unique snowboard, contact the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office or the Division of Criminal Investigation, 307-872-3870.


Game and Fish schedules public meetings to discuss 2015 hunting seasons (posted 3/15/15)
Wyoming Game and Fish
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department invites the public to participate in the 2015 big game season-setting process. Season-setting public meetings will be held in Pinedale and Jackson with open houses to be held in Afton and Marbleton.

Local Game and Fish biologists and wardens will be at all meetings to discuss big game population data collected this winter and any resulting season changes being proposed for next fall. Wildlife managers also will be discussing small game, game birds and waterfowl seasons.

The public is encouraged to attend one of the public meetings held in each Game and Fish region to discuss the proposals.

March 23: Afton Civic Center, 6-8 p.m. (open house)
March 24: Marbleton Marbleton Town Hall, 6-8 p.m. (open house)
March 25: Pinedale Wyoming Game and Fish Regional Office, 6-9 p.m.
March 26: Jackson Antler Inn, 6-9 p.m.

To accommodate those who can’t attend a meeting in person, online commenting forms and other related information will be posted under the public meetings tab at: wgfd.wyo.gov. Written comments also can be submitted at the meetings, or mailed to: Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Attn: Regulations 3030 Energy Lane, Casper, WY 82604. Written comments must be received by 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 31, and will be presented to the Game and Fish Commission prior to their April 22-23 meeting in Casper.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department supports the Americans with Disabilities Act. Anyone requiring additional or auxiliary aids should contact the Pinedale Region office at 307-367-4353 or the Jackson Region office at 307-733-2321. Every effort will be made for reasonable accommodations.


An adult trumpeter swan takes flight after being collared and released near Jackson. Photo by Mark Gocke, Wyoming Game & Fish.
An adult trumpeter swan takes flight after being collared and released near Jackson. Photo by Mark Gocke, Wyoming Game & Fish.
Game & Fish surveys trumpeter swans (posted 3/15/15)
Population numbers showing strong growth - increased 26% from 2014
Wyoming Game and Fish
Wyoming Game and Fish Department nongame biologist, Susan Patla, recently conducted an annual winter survey for trumpeter swans, and other waterfowl, in the Pacific Flyway portion of western Wyoming. The annual aerial survey is coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the states of Idaho and Montana, to obtain a count of all trumpeters in the Rocky Mountain population in the western United States. The majority of these swans winter in the Tri-state area of eastern Idaho, western Wyoming and southwestern Montana with small groups also found in Nevada and Oregon.

Overall, a total of 6,775 swans were counted in the Tri-state area, which is a 26% increase from 2014 when 5,368 birds were counted. Typically, over 90 percent (more than 5,000) of the wintering swans are migrants from interior Canada where nesting populations have shown strong growth for the past few decades.


This year, Patla counted a total of 931 swans in western Wyoming, or 14% of the total Tri-state wintering population. An additional 168 swans were counted in Yellowstone National Park (YNP). The numbers counted in Wyoming outside of YNP are almost identical to the previous five year average.

The total number of swans counted by drainage included: Snake River (515), Green River (211), and Salt River (119). Considering the year-round resident population of swans that nest in Wyoming (based on results of the fall survey), Canadian migrants likely comprised 86% of the swans wintering in the Snake River drainage and 39% of the Green River birds.

In most years, winter habitat for swans is very distinct from their summer habitat. However, given recent warm temperatures in February and March, swans have been found moving onto or near nesting areas that normally remain frozen until mid-March to early June. How this may affect available forage during the pre-nesting period is unknown. Little mortality has been documented this winter, but the Department requests that any dead swans found be reported immediately to the local Wyoming Game and Fish Department office.


Wolf News Roundup (posted 3/6/15)
Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
Wyoming & the Great Lakes States
Wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes states remain under federal protection pursuant to the Endangered Species Act, but legislation pending in Congress would change wolf management, replacing federal protection with state management of wolves in Wyoming and in the Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Bill In Congress
House Bill 884 has simple language, but if enacted, would prohibit further litigation on the issue. The bill currently reads:
"A BILL
To direct the Secretary of the Interior to reissue final rules relating to listing of the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. REISSUANCE OF FINAL RULE REGARDING GRAY WOLVES IN THE WESTERN GREAT LAKES.
Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on December 28, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 81666), without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. Such reissuance shall not be subject to judicial review. SEC. 2. REISSUANCE OF FINAL RULE REGARDING GRAY WOLVES IN WYOMING.
Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on September 10, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 55530), without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. Such reissuance shall not be subject to judicial review."

Fundraising
In response to the filing of the Congressional bill, the Center for Biological Diversity is raising money to fight it – reportedly already raising $75,000 of its stated goal of $100,000 for its Wolf Defense Fund. The group’s latest fundraising email states: "Don’t let the hateful bullies in Congress put more wolves in harm’s way. Let’s stop this bill, now." Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the states of Michigan and Wisconsin have filed notices of intent to appeal the federal court decision that relisted wolves in those states, so the litigation will continue.

Downlist, not Delist
Fearing that Congress will take action to delist wolves, animal activists have recruited 78 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to sign off on a letter asking Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to support downlisting wolves in the most of the United States to "threatened" status. Earlier this year, the Humane Society of the United States petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reclassify wolves, and to develop a nationwide wolf recovery plan. At a Congressional committee meeting, Representative Don Young of Alaska noted that the Congressional members who signed the letter don't have wolves in their district. He said, "I'd like to introduce them (wolves) in your district. If I introduced them in your district, you wouldn't have a homeless problem anymore."

Wolf Harvest in Rockies
Idaho’s wolf hunting and trapping season is set to close at the end of March, and thusfar, 116 wolves have been harvested by hunters, and 94 by trappers. In the 2013-2014 hunting and trapping season, a total of 302 wolves were taken. Montana sportsmen have harvested 204 wolves in the hunting/trapping season set to close March 15.

Washington Woes
Washington is the latest state to fall victim to the ongoing stream of activists filing federal lawsuits over wolves. WildEarth Guardians has filed a lawsuit challenging the authority of USDA Wildlife Services to kill wolves in Washington state. Wildlife Services works in conjunction with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to control problem wolves – wolves that have repeatedly preyed on livestock. This lawsuit claims that Wildlife Services activities threaten both wolf recovery and healthy ecosystems.

Chasing Snowmobiles
In other Minnesota wolf news, two trails in Voyageurs National Park along the Canadian-Minnesota border have been closed by National Park Service officials after a wolf chased or followed snowmobiles on three occasions. Superintendent Mike Ward stated, "We are taking precautions for the protection of the visitors and the wolf. Visitors are encouraged to continue to enjoy the winter wonderland by accessing the open trails throughout the park and multiple gateway communities."

Related Links:
Wolf Chasing Snowmobiles article - Read about it in the Star Tribune.
Read about Congressional hearing on bill - AgriPulse
Wolf Watch! - by Cat Urbigkit


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