Wyoming delegation applauds federal funding for Roosevelt Fire recovery (posted 12/9/18)
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Congresswoman Liz Cheney, all R-Wyo., applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s approval of Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) funding to help in the Roosevelt Fire recovery effort.
The Roosevelt Fire in Sublette County was initially deemed ineligible for Emergency Watershed Protection Program funding. The Wyoming delegation sent a letter last month urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to review the request.
"The Roosevelt Fire caused significant damage and losses, and it is critically important that the federal government provide all appropriate forms of assistance, in accordance with relevant rules, laws, and regulations," the Wyoming delegation wrote. "We urge you to review the request for EWP assistance as quickly as possible and provide any assistance appropriate so that plans to mitigate hazards caused by the Roosevelt Fire can be developed and executed as soon as possible."
More than $500,000 will be allocated from the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, which was created to provide aid in order to fix erosion and land destabilization that occurs from natural disaster. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the local communities will have to provide a small percentage of matching funds for the projects undertaken with these funds.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service in Wyoming said that if funding wasn’t provided to help recovery efforts, it would likely cost significantly more, at least $2.6 million, to fix additional damage that would occur later.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had already provided the state with a $425,000 mitigation grant to repair the fire damaged areas.
BLM proposes increased flexibility and access in Sage-Grouse plans (posted 12/6/18)
Proposed amendments would align conservation efforts at state and federal levels
Bureau of Land Management
CHEYENNE, WYOMING, Dec. 6, 2018 – In keeping with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s commitment to work closely with states to enhance conservation, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced the availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and proposed plan amendments addressing Greater Sage-Grouse conservation on public land in Wyoming.
The proposed plan amendments aim to better align BLM resource management plans with state plans for conserving sage-grouse populations, strike a regulatory balance and build greater trust among neighboring interests in Western communities. The proposed amendments and final EISs also addresses the issues remanded to the agency by a March 31, 2017, order by the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, which determined that the BLM had violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it finalized the 2015 Nevada plan.
"We have appreciated the opportunity to work with Governor Mead’s team on a carefully crafted amendment to the 2015 plans," said Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. "We know the successful conservation of the Greater Sage-Grouse requires the shared stewardship vision of the states, private citizens, landowners and federal land management agencies including those within the Department of the Interior."
Bernhardt continued, "With today’s action we have leaned forward to address the various states’ issues, while appropriately ensuring that we will continue to be focused on meaningfully addressing the threats to the Greater Sage-Grouse and making efforts to improve its habitat."
The BLM developed the changes in collaboration with Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, state wildlife managers, and other concerned organizations and individuals, largely through the Western Governors Association’s Sage-Grouse Task Force.
"Having better alignment between state and federal management for the bird is important to the species and the people of Wyoming," Gov. Mead said. "I thank the Department of the Interior, both locally and nationally, for working with Wyoming throughout this plan amendment process."
The proposed changes refine the previous management plans adopted in 2015. Under the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), the BLM is required by law to work cooperatively with states on land-use plans and amendments.
"In Wyoming, we have the privilege of working with a variety of concerned stakeholders and communities living close to the land in managing some of the country’s largest intact sagebrush ecosystems," said BLM Wyoming State Director Mary Jo Rugwell. "We designed the proposed plan amendment to address the remaining concerns of our agency partners and the public. Our shared goals are the successful conservation of Greater Sage-Grouse habitat and ensuring multiple-use access to every American."
The proposed amendments in Wyoming would adopt the state’s Compensatory Mitigation Framework; clarify objectives for sage-grouse habitat where livestock grazing is also authorized; increase flexibility to grant waivers, exceptions or modifications in energy leasing; and remove the Sagebrush Focal Area designation from more than 1.9 million acres of habitat. The amendment process also offered an opportunity for the BLM to align its mitigation requirements under FLPMA with those established under Wyoming law.
The BLM has also published Final EISs for lands it manages in Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada/northeastern California and Utah.
Publication of the Final EIS and proposed amendments in the December 7, 2018 Federal Register initiates a 30-day protest period, which will run through January 8, 2019. The Wyoming Governor also has 60 days to review the proposed amendments for consistency with state and local laws and regulations. The process will conclude with a Record of Decision (ROD) following resolution of any protests received during the 30-day review period.
Approval of the Final EIS Proposed Plan Amendment would require amendments to 10 current BLM resource management plans: Buffalo, Casper, Cody, Kemmerer, Lander, Newcastle, Pinedale, Rawlins, Green River and Worland.
Anyone who participated in the process for the Wyoming EIS and who has an interest that is or may be adversely affected by the proposed land use plan amendments in the Final EIS will have the opportunity to protest the proposed plan amendments.
The Final EIS is available online at https://goo.gl/22jKE2. Instructions for filing a protest with the Director of the BLM regarding the Proposed RMPA/Final EIS are found online at https://www.blm.gov/programs/planning-and-nepa/public-participation/filing-a-plan-protest. All protests must be in writing and mailed to the appropriate address or submitted electronically through the BLM ePlanning project website. To submit a protest electronically, go to the ePlanning project webpage https://goo.gl/22jKE2 and follow the instructions at the top of the home page.
If submitting a protest in hard copy, it must be mailed to one of the following addresses:
U.S. Postal Service Mail: BLM Director (210), Attention: Protest Coordinator, WO-210, P.O Box 71383, Washington, D.C. 20024-1383
Overnight Delivery: BLM Director (210), Attention: Protest Coordinator, WO-210,
20 M Street SE, Room 2134LM, Washington, D.C. 20003
Protests submitted electronically by any means other than the ePlanning project website will be invalid unless a protest is also submitted in hard copy. Protests submitted by fax will also be invalid unless also submitted either through ePlanning project website protest section or in hard copy.
Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personally identifiable information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask the BLM in your comment to withhold your personally identifiable information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
Pinedale RV Dump Station grant request moves forward (posted 12/9/18)
Wyoming Business Council Business Ready Community funding request
The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors recommended four Business Ready Community (BRC) funding requests and approved six Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) applications during its Dec. 6 meeting in Laramie.
The Town of Pinedale put in a request for a $179,062 BRC Community Development Enhancement grant to construct a dump and water filling station for recreational vehicles, tour buses and industrial tank trucks. The location will be marketed to tour bus companies that travel through Pinedale on the way to Jackson and Yellowstone, increasing tourist traffic in Pinedale and spurring economic growth in the immediate area. Funds will also be used to add a power box near the American Legion to replace the need for generators at events such as the Green River Rendezvous, brew fest and other gatherings.
The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors recommended full funding for Pinedale’s request.
The Business Council board's recommendations will now move to the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB) for final approval at its 8 a.m. meeting on January 17, 2019.
Click on this link for the full release about all the projects requesting funding in this round from the Wyoming Business Council: Business Council board recommends 10 projects for funding (Wyoming Business Council, Dec. 7, 2018)
Banking error causes double billing of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming accounts (posted 12/4/18)
Wyoming Department of Insurance
CHEYENNE, WYOMING - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming (BCBSWY) announced today (Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018) that between 7,000 and 7500 of its members have been over-charged due to an error by American National Bank (ANB). ANB has taken full responsibility and has acted quickly to reverse and credit members’ accounts for the incorrect duplicate charges.
The bank and BCBSWY anticipate that the impacted accounts will show the corrections as soon as later today, subject to the procedures of individual banks. BCBSWY contacted the Wyoming Department of Insurance immediately after the error was identified.
"We certainly understand the potential impact and concern that this can cause Wyoming consumers and I appreciate the speed with which ANB has addressed their error," said Insurance Commissioner Tom Glause.
ANB has indicated that immediate steps were taken to remedy the situation and members impacted by the situation should start receiving notification by Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. ANB has committed to taking care of overdraft fees or other charges as a result of the situation.
This banking error should not impact insurance coverage by BCBSWY.
Members are advised that if their account does not reflect this correction by the morning of December 5, 2018, contact BCBSWY or call American National Bank (ANB) at 307-634-2121.
Consumers can also contact the Department of Insurance at 307-777-7401 or toll free at 1-800-438-5768 if they have additional questions or concerns.
SCAM ALERT: ‘I’ve been in an accident and need bail money…’ (posted 12/4/18)
Wyoming Highway Patrol Scam Alert
Scammers spoof Caller ID to make phone call look legitimate
Wyoming Highway Patrol
The Wyoming Highway Patrol has recently been notified of a phone call scam circulating. Scammers are contacting the public stating a relative has been in a motor vehicle crash and arrested for driving while under the influence while stating the relative needs cash for bail and attorney fees. The phone number the callers are calling from are being replicated (spoofed numbers) to look like they are coming from a legitimate law enforcement office in Dubois, Wyoming, other parts of Wyoming, and surrounding states.
The Wyoming Highway Patrol would like to remind the public we have not, and will not request any payment over the phone. We encourage anyone who may have received questionable phone calls soliciting funds to contact your local law enforcement or government agency to verify the information you may have received.
G&F seeks information on mule deer poaching near Pinedale (posted 12/4/18)
The scavenged carcass of an illegally shot buck mule deer with the head removed south of Pinedale. Photo courtesy Wyoming Game & Fish Department.
Wyoming Game & Fish
PINEDALE, WYOMING – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is seeking any information regarding a buck and doe mule deer that were illegally shot south of Pinedale recently. Both were killed off the Big Sandy Elkhorn Road (Sublette County Road 23-118) a mile south of Buckskin Crossing near the Prospect Mountains in deer hunt area 130. All mule deer hunting in the area closed on October 31. The head of the buck mule deer was removed and meat from both deer was left in the field to waste.
Investigators believe the deer were killed over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend on November 23rd or November 24th. Jordan Kraft, South Pinedale Game Warden, states "this type of action shows a blatant disregard for wildlife and is a theft of the wildlife resource to law abiding citizens."
Anyone with possible information regarding either of these poaching incidents, or who was in the area and may have noted suspicious vehicles or activities, is encouraged to call the Pinedale Game and Fish office at 1-800-452-9107, the STOP POACHING hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP (1-877-943-3847) or South Pinedale Game Warden, Jordan Kraft, at 307-367-2470.
Callers may remain anonymous and any information leading to an arrest and conviction may result in a reward of up to $5,000.00. Warden Kraft urges the public to come forward with any relevant information.
Food Storage Order extended for human and bear safety (posted 12/4/18)
Bridger-Teton National Forest
JACKSON, WYOMING, December 4, 2018 – The food storage order has been temporarily expanded on the Bridger Teton National Forest in order to promote a safer environment for humans and bears. Forest visitors in the Blackrock, and Jackson Ranger Districts will see a wider regulatory boundary where the proper storing, processing, transporting, and camping with food or attractants, will be enforced. The order will be in effect from December 1, 2018 until January 15, 2019.
Extending the food order plays a key role in helping to alleviate possible negative interactions between humans and bears. It helps keep Forest visitor safe by mitigating encounters where a bear might be attracted to campgrounds, trailheads, picnic sites, and other areas frequented by people.
All food and other attractants (anything with an odor) that might invite the curiosity of bear to an area must be stored safely; making sure it is kept away from the reach of a bear during the night and daytime when the area is left unattended. Attended attractants means that a person is physically present within 100-feet and in direct sight of the food or carcass.
Human food (including canned food, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages), harvested game animals and parts, pet food, processed livestock feed and grains and personal hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste and deodorants must be stored in a manner unavailable to bears. This also includes garbage and empty food and beverage containers. Proper storage methods include placing food and other items in bear resistant containers or hard-sided vehicles or suspending them at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet from any vertical support.
Flag Half Staff Notice – President George H.W. Bush (posted 12/1/18)
Flag Half Staff Notice
Governor Matthew H. Mead media release
Governor Matthew H. Mead, pursuant to President Donald Trump's Proclamation issued today (Saturday, December 1, 2018), has ordered both the U.S. and State of Wyoming flags be flown at half-staff statewide in honor and tribute to the memory of President George H.W. Bush for a period of 30 days from the day of his death. Former President George H.W. Bush died on Friday, November 30, 2018 at age 94.
Ski Season opens at White Pine (posted 11/30/18)
White Pine Ski Area
An overnight coating of 6" fresh powder at White Pine brought out skiers keen to cut the first tracks for the start of this winter season. Rock Springs resident, Kevin Buschmann left home early to ride the first chair as he simply stated, "I get Fridays off so I wanted to catch the first freshies of this season." Family members will be joining him on the mountain over the weekend.
Local Pinedale family, Tommy and Kelly Upp brought their daughters Reville (6) and Veronika (5) up for the first day. Both girls had their first lessons at White Pine at age 2, and planned to spend the day skiing off the lower lift. The parents knew it wouldn’t be long before their daughters would be capable of skiing down Bonneville from the top of the mountain.
White Pine opened the season with sufficient snow to open three runs off the top of the mountain. National Weather Service forecast (NOAA) predicts light snow over the weekend. White Pine will open up more runs as soon as Ski Patrol predicts there is adequate coverage and conditions are safe for all skiers.
This winter season, White Pine will open every Friday through Monday. Opening days are extended over the schools’ Holiday/Winter break and will be opening daily from Friday December 21st to Monday January 7th. Both lifts run from 9am to 4pm and the tubing hill is open from noon to 4pm.
For more information call 307-367-6606 or go online to www.whitepineski.com
Skyline Theater project off to a reel-ly good start (posted 11/30/18)
Historic photo of the Skyline Theatre on north Franklin Avenue in Pinedale.
Joy Ufford, Pinedale Roundup
PINEDALE, WYOMING – About a dozen history and film buffs met Tuesday evening, setting the scene to buy, renovate and revive the historic Skyline Theater building downtown and turn it into a uniquely local landmark.
The long-term project kicked off earlier this year with Main Street Pinedale’s announcement to fund-raise the building’s $170,000 purchase price, but concerns led to a brief suspension.
Picking it up with the Nov. 27 reorganizational meeting, former Main Street Pinedale’s board members Kate Dahl and Tara Bing Horn, along with about a dozen others, met at Sublette BOCES to talk about how to carry the project forward on its own.
With the draft business plan, preliminary renovation estimates, Facebook page, promotional video and an intent to purchase already in place, the immediate goals are to firm up the fundraising campaign and outline the process.
The old Skyline Theater at 14 N. Franklin Ave. was operated from 1940 into the 1980s when it closed. Walt Sondgeroth bought it and opened as Walt’s Plumbing in 1986. While the exterior is simple, Walt’s son Joe saved many of the memorabilia and everyday theater items – even old metal film reels and the original popcorn machine. Outdoorsy backlit silhouettes that once lined the walls are also in storage.
At Tuesday’s meeting, historian and author Ann Chamber Noble offered use of "her" 501(c)3 nonprofit, Sublette Group for Community Initiative, of which she and her daughter Andrea are board members. Both agreed to create a new board to make the Sublette Group the financial and decision-making entity for the Skyline Theater project.
This nonprofit will receive and hold all of the donations and grants, whether from local or corporate donors.
Noble remains president, Tara Bing Horn is vice president, Synve Mitchell is secretary and Kate Dahl is treasurer. The next topic was to kick off a timely campaign to buy the building and provide matches for future grants. After buying the old theater, it could take as much as $1 million to renovate the Skyline Theater into a multi-faceted entertainment center showing second-run, documentary, outdoor adventure and independent films, holding live performances and hosting local nonprofit events. Educational elements might be displays of the antique equipment, old photographs and stories about how Skyline fit into locals’ lives. Mary Lynn Worl, for example, related that on its opening two girls wearing white cowboy boots and hats served as "ushers."
Now, the Skyline Theater has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.
Fundraising is the new committee’s most important objective, they decided, with donation mailers, a crowd-funding platform and special campaign to engage donors.
To be tax-exempt, donations should be made to the Sublette Group for Community Initiative with "Skyline Theater" noted.
Bringing volunteers together is also vital, they said. Anyone with interests and abilities to help with fundraising, grant writing, event planning, public relations, programming, project management and construction is welcome to join the Skyline Theater committee at the next meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. at the Museum of the Mountain Man.
For more about the Skyline Theater project, contact Kate Dahl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Skyline Theatre (original spelling) was built on the site of Pinedale’s founder John F. Patterson’s home, which it replaced. It opened in September of 1940 and upon its opening, the Pinedale Roundup reported Aug. 29, 1940:
"The beautiful interior is indirectly lighted from each side of the upper portion of each wall. Silhouettes depicting mountain scenery, winter sports, hunting and fishing and other recreational facilities adjacent to Pinedale, lend local color to the interior decorations. A raised floor and comfortable furniture makes theatre going a pleasure. Acoustics are excellent, as the building was designed for sound equipment."
This new movie house was said to be a large improvement over the wooden benches and folding chairs at Wilson Hall, where movies had shown for the previous 14 years. It opened with 375 seats.
A story in the Pinedale Roundup dated Dec. 31, 1953, was titled "Hayes Buys Skyline Theatre" reported Joseph "Joe" Beal Lunbeck (Nov. 16, 1916 to Aug. 14, 2003) and his wife Madeline Adney Bolinger Lunbeck, who died in 2007, owned and operated the Skyline Theatre for 18 years. Alice M. Bolinger was a longtime employee of the Skyline Theatre who was fondly known as "the ticket lady" for that reason.
Printed on Friday, November 30, 2018 in the Pinedale Roundup. Reprinted with permission. www.pinedaleroundup.com
WYDOT urges motorists to use caution when traveling during the holidays (posted 11/30/18)
Wyoming Department of Transportation
Now that the holiday season has arrived, Wyoming motorists may encounter more traffic on the roads, which means they need to continue to be extra vigilant when traveling.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation and the Wyoming Highway Patrol want to remind motorists they can take measures to keep themselves and their loved ones safe this holiday season to prevent any more fatalities.
"Wyoming families can protect themselves and others by always following safety-related measures when driving such as buckling up for safety," said WYDOT Director Bill Panos. "Wyoming has a long history of helping families, and one of the simplest ways is to buckle up and drive safely."
Motorists should always buckle up, avoid distractions when driving and never drive impaired.
So far, Wyoming is set to have one of the lowest fatality totals in years. Preliminary figures for 2018 show that Wyoming has had 105 fatalities as of November, figures from WYDOT’s Highway Safety program indicated. However, that number is just preliminary and can change.
Wyoming had 123 fatalities in 2017, 112 in 2016, 145 in 2015 and 150 in 2014.
When looking at the fatalities in vehicles, which is a subset of the total fatalities, those who weren't wearing their seat belt had a greater chance of dying. Over a five-year period from 2014 through 2018, about 61 percent of those fatalities were not wearing their seat belts.
Since 2014, figures for those who died and were not wearing their seat belts have fluctuated, with recent figuring showing a downward trend.
In 2014, 55 percent of fatalities in vehicles were not properly restrained. The number jumped to 71 percent in 2015 but then decreased to 68 percent in 2016. It then continued to decrease to 62 percent in 2017 and 51 percent thus far in 2018. In Wyoming for 2017, the observed seat belt rate use was 84.8 percent, which is lower than the national average of 90 percent.
"No matter if it’s the holidays or another time of the year, we want motorists to always be safe and practice safe driving habits," said WHP Col. Kebin Haller. "This year isn’t over yet, so we want to continue to stress the importance of safe driving to prevent any more fatalities. One fatality is one too many. We want each and every driver and passenger to make it to their destinations safely."
Wearing a seat belt is one of the best ways drivers and passengers can keep themselves safe.
"Seventy-five percent of those ejected from their vehicle during a crash die," said WHP Safety Education Coordinator Sgt. Momen Elazizi. "Buckling up keeps you inside the vehicle and is the easiest thing you can do to protect yourself."
Travelers also can download WYDOT’s 511 app for their smartphones at wyoroad.info to get the latest road and travel conditions.
Sublette County Nonprofits receive $18,000 in grant funding from WCF (posted 11/30/18)
Wyoming Community Foundation distributes $520,000 across the state of Wyoming
Wyoming Community Foundation
LARAMIE, WYOMING - At its most recent meeting, the Wyoming Community Foundation did what it does best: made grants to outstanding nonprofits across Wyoming. The organization, whose goal is to build a better Wyoming, reports it distributed $520,000 to 61 charitable organizations statewide, $18,000 of which will benefit Sublette County.
"We’re here to help strengthen our community," says Sublette Local Board Chair, Janet Bellis. "With support from generous local donors, we’re able to give funding to worthy and innovative nonprofit programs that are truly making a difference."
The Wyoming Community Foundation counts on donor support for grantmaking. The organization holds nearly 400 funds for families, individuals, businesses, and nonprofits. These funds are invested, and the returns are used to support charitable causes. In 2017, WYCF granted $6.3 million to charitable organizations across the state.
In the Sublette area, the Wyoming Community Foundation’s Local Board recently granted $18,000 to three area nonprofits:
• Pinedale Fine Arts Council
• Sublette County School District #9
• Wyoming Stage Stop Dog Sled Race – Pinedale Stage
"Nonprofit organizations are vital parts of our communities," says Bellis. "The Wyoming Community Foundation is honored to fund the work they are doing."
The Wyoming Community Foundation’s next grant application deadline is December 15th, 2018. Nonprofit organizations making a difference in their communities are encouraged to apply.
For more information about the Wyoming Community Foundation, the organizations it supports, or to set up a fund of your own, visit www.WYCF.org or call Anita McLaughlin at (307)721-8300.
Scam Alert – Check Scam (posted 11/30/18)
Sublette County Sheriff's Office
The Sublette County Sheriff's Office has recently received reports of a scam where people are attempting to sell their items online, the "buyer" then agrees to buy the item. However, they want to send a check to the seller for more than the agreed price. The "buyer" then requests the seller to cash the check and then send money orders for the extra amount back to the "buyer" and keep the agreed upon amount.
We have received several reports of this locally. Please beware of scams like this, as there are always people out there trying to find new ways to deceive the public.
Beware ‘Jury Duty’ Scam (posted 11/28/18)
Swindlers pose as law enforcement officers and threaten arrest for supposedly evading jury duty
Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office
ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING – Swindlers are once again calling people and falsely identifying themselves as law enforcement officers and threatening arrest for supposedly evading jury duty.
Callers are instructing their would-be victims to purchase e-vouchers or reloadable debit cards for between $750 and $1,500 at stores such as Smith's, then call what appears to be a Wyoming number (are code 307) for further instructions. The same fake Wyoming number will also appear on the victim's caller ID.
Those "instructions" will be to provide the voucher or card number, at which point the money is lost.
Scammers use a technique called "masking" to make it appear as if they are calling from within Wyoming, when in fact they are at the other end of the country or even overseas.
Sweetwater County Sheriff Mike Lowell pointed out that first of all, no agency of the criminal justice system is going to call to demand money or payment for fines, missed jury duty, overdue traffic tickets, etc. If you receive a call like this, make a note of the agency or department that the caller claims to be with and also note the number that appears on your caller ID.
Next, hang up, then follow up, using the information you've noted. Check with the organization the caller claimed to be with. And most important of all, NEVER provide such a caller with any personal or financial information.
For more information on this and many other fraud schemes, law enforcement officials recommend the FBI website at http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud
Watch for migrating elk south of Jackson (posted 11/18/18)
The Wyoming Game & Fish and Wyoming Department of Transportation are working to build new wildlife fencing along the highway south of Jackson to help direct migrating elk and deer to safe road crossings. Photo courtesy Mark Gocke, Wyoming Game & Fish Department.
Wyoming Game & Fish Department
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Wyoming Department of Transportation are asking motorists to be especially alert for wildlife when traveling through the construction zone on Wyoming Highway 89 south of Jackson. Construction crews are building a wildlife-proof fence designed to force wildlife to use established underpasses to safely cross under the highway, but the fence is currently not complete and some animals, primarily elk, are finding their way into the highway right-of-way and they may not easily find one of the openings allowing them back out.
Mobile electronic signs have been placed at both ends of the construction zone warning motorists to be alert for animals on the highway. Also, personnel from both the Wyoming Game and Fish and Wyoming Highway Patrol have been doing their best to help elk out of the right-of-way whenever possible, but motorists are asked to be especially careful in this area for the next few weeks while elk are migrating to their wintering areas.
"The fence and crossing structures are all new for the migrating elk this fall and until the fence is complete and functioning properly, we’re all going to have to work together to try and avoid collisions with wildlife," said South Jackson Game Warden Kyle Lash.
When complete, likely next spring, the fence will force animals to safely cross by using the underpasses. And for the few animals that do find their way into the highway right-of-way, there will be wildlife "jumps" installed in the fenceline that allow animals to jump from a ledge out of the right-of-way, but not back in. "It will likely be a bit of a learning process for the animals for a year or two," said Lash. "But as they figure out the safe crossings, it’s going to be a great thing for wildlife, and motorists."
Click on this link for more on this story: Watch for elk crossing highway south of Jackson