Cirque of the Towers Trail named Wyoming’s Best Hike by Outside magazine (posted 4/16/19)
50 Best Hikes in the U.S.
Great Outdoor Shop mentioned as place to stock up on gear
Outside magazine posted an article online on April 15th listing "The 50 Best Hikes in the U.S.," calling it a bucket-list-worthy, best-of-the-best guide. The magazine polled their writers and editors to come up with what they feel are the very best hike in each of the states of the nation.
Here is what they had to say about Wyoming:
The Cirque of the Towers Trail
The granite spires that make up the Cirque of the Towers, in the heart of Wyoming’s Wind River range, contain some of the finest rock climbing in the country. But the range is also a hiker’s dream: lake, rivers, fishing, views, wildflowers, you name it. The 18-mile out and back Cirque of the Towers Trail gets you right into the business. And don’t forget to stock up at the Great Outdoor Shop in nearby Pinedale before launching off into the backcountry.
Click on this link to read the full article: THE 50 BEST HIKES IN THE U.S.
Wyomingites: Please check your internet speed (posted 4/16/19)
Wyoming internet speed test
Broadband enhancement study underway, public comment accepted until April 26
The State of Wyoming is in the process of mapping broadband connectivity and speeds across the state as a part of its efforts to enhance broadband in the State. The mapping exercise asks a few questions, including your address. The speeds will be attached to your address in the data base. Information will be used by the Wyoming Business Council to focus Broadband enhancement efforts. Big Piney, Pinedale, Marbleton, and Sublette County have been working towards obtaining grants to help fund broadband infrastructure in the County and towns.
The best time to test your internet speed is between 4:30pm and 7:00pm, when the most usage occurs. Please click on the speed test map to help provide information so Wyoming can get faster, more reliable broadband access statewide. http://wyobbmap.org/
The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors will consider proposed amendments to the Wyoming Broadband Enhancement Plan on May 16, 2019 in Riverton. Those amendments can be found here:
Public comment will be accepted on the amendments until April 26. Please email comments to Russ Elliott, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Access to high-quality business and residential broadband is essential to developing, growing and attracting businesses, improving academic performance, supporting healthcare, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, attracting investment, educating the workforce of the future, quality of life, and improving Wyoming’s position as a global competitor.
The Federal Communications Commission has established that "advanced telecommunications capability" requires access to download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps. Residents of rural Wyoming areas are limited by access, with an average download speed of just 17 Mbps.
During the 2018 legislative session, Gov. Matt Mead signed into law SEA No. 0036, which handed the Business Council new tools to fulfill that mission. The law provided $10 million to establish a broadband infrastructure grant fund and $350,000 to establish a broadband coordinator position at the Business Council and a Broadband Advisory Council to oversee the agency's efforts.
The Business Council, in conjunction with the ENDOW Executive Council, Governor and the Broadband Advisory Council, has built a Broadband Enhancement Plan and will develop and adopt a broadband funding program.
The State of Wyoming has built a tool that will measure connectivity at any location throughout the state. By taking the speed test, you are participating in the State’s data-collection efforts and giving the State the information they need to determine location and service levels. This data will be shared with providers throughout the state so they can see where Wyoming could use their support and infrastructure.
Please read these instructions before taking the speed test and completing the survey:
• Your location must be in the state of Wyoming.
• It is best if you can take the test in the evening hours, between 4:30PM to 7:00PM.
• If you are on a desktop computer connected to your home or business internet service, continue to the speed test and survey.
• If you are on a mobile device (i.e. smart phone, tablet, laptop, etc.), please ensure that you are connected to the internet via your home or business wireless internet (wifi) before taking the speed test and survey
Click on the speed test map before May 16th to help provide data for this study. http://wyobbmap.org/
SCSD1 seeking applications for a vacant Pinedale-At-Large Trustee seat (posted 4/14/19)
Sublette County School Dist #1
NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC
The Board of Trustees of Sublette County School District #1 is accepting applications for a vacant Pinedale At-Large Trustee Seat.
This vacancy is for an At-Large Trustee seat and the appointment will be to fill the vacancy with the term ending November 30, 2022. Residency within the Pinedale Trustee Area may be verified with the County Clerk’s Office.
Candidates must obtain an application packet from the Superintendent’s Office beginning on April 8, 2019. Completed applications will be due to the Superintendent’s Office by Noon on April 22, 2019. Only completed applications will be considered for the interview process. A date for interviews with the Board of Trustees is to be determined.
Based on the number of candidates, interviews with the Board of Trustees will be scheduled with the times to be determined. We anticipate these will be held the week of April 22 - 26, 2019. The appointment will be made at a Special Meeting to follow.
Regular school board meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month. Other Special Meetings are held as needed. Board member trainings are provided. For more information, please contact the Superintendent’s Office at 307-367-2139 ext. #5224.
Soda Lake Wetland Renovation public meeting April 24 (posted 4/12/19)
Wyoming Game & Fish
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will hold a public meeting to discuss potential renovations to existing wetlands at the Soda Lake Wildlife Habitat Management Area five miles north of Pinedale. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24, from 6-8 pm at the Game and Fish office in Pinedale.
Wetlands are the most productive and biologically diverse habitat type found in Wyoming. The Game and Fish, in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, is considering a plan to restore an existing wetland complex that has lost most of its open water habitat and become largely non-functioning for waterfowl and other wildlife that depend on wetland habitat.
The wetlands were first created in 1988 as an enhancement of naturally-existing wetlands. The additional open water created served as valuable habitat to a great variety of waterfowl and shorebirds and provided quality waterfowl hunting opportunities for several years. However, over time, the water impoundment structures degraded, silt filled in existing ponds and the ability to manage and maintain the wetlands to their full potential for wildlife has been lost.
A wetlands restoration plan primarily developed by Ducks Unlimited, with input from local Game and Fish managers, is being considered and will be presented to the public for their input. The current plan would restore and create a series of six ponds, each with its own water control structure. An associated water management plan would allow for better water control and flexibility. Some ponds would provide breeding and stop-over habitat, while other ponds would be periodically drained, allowing for vegetation to grow up and then be flooded again, providing and abundance of feed for waterfowl and other wildlife. It is also planned to include a renovated viewing blind and interpretive nature trail to compliment the area. The restored wetland complex would again be available for waterfowl hunting in the fall.
The water source for the series of ponds is a small spring creek that ultimately also provides water to nearby Soda Lake. Gretchen Hurley, an independent hydrologist based out of Cody, Wyoming, has been contracted to determine what overall effect the wetland restoration project might have on water (both surface and sub-surface) in the area, and specifically on Soda Lake. Hurley’s investigations found that there would not be detrimental effects to water levels in Soda Lake or the associated water table in the vicinity. Local Game and Fish habitat area managers and fish biologists, along with Ducks Unlimited biologists and Hydrologist Gretchen Hurley all will be on hand to present their findings at the meeting. Ducks Unlimited and Game and Fish are seeking to raise funds for the project.
Scam Alert: Beware phone calls about utility bills (posted 4/11/19)
Rocky Mountain Power
Rocky Mountain Power warning customers about latest phone scams
Rocky Mountain Power
A number of customers have reported receiving fraudulent calls from scammers posing as utility representatives. The caller insists that the customer is behind on their bill and then threatens that, without an immediate payment, service will be disconnected.
This week the reported scam calls have primarily been targeted to business customers. Some insist on the victim obtain a prepaid card and share the code while one customer was even asked to meet the scammer at a specific location.
Customers can protect themselves from these types of schemes by being aware of the following tips:
If the caller asks for your credit card number or advises you to purchase a pre-paid card from a store and to call back with the code. Rocky Mountain Power will never ask for payment via prepaid credit card. We offer a variety of ways to pay a bill, including accepting payments online or by phone. However, payment via prepaid card will never be demanded
If the caller claims your electric service will be disconnected if you don’t make a payment immediately, particularly if you haven’t received any prior notice about late payments or a potential disconnection. We don’t threaten our customers and work with customers who are behind on their payments to help them get back on track. Generally, notices about past due bills are sent to customers in the mail or delivered to their home, or they receive an automated phone message.
If the caller says he is with the "Rocky Mountain Power Disconnection Department." No such department exists.
If you receive one of these calls, ask the caller to state your account number and compare it with the number listed on your bill. Rocky Mountain Power customer service employees will always have your account number.
Remember, if you still have concerns about the legitimacy of a call, you can always call back at our published customer service number, 1-888-221-7070. Rocky Mountain Power is asking customers to report any scam calls received, including the phone number the person is calling from and any information that may help to track down the crooks.
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 www.rockymountainpower.net.
Construction underway on US 191 north of Daniel Junction (posted 4/11/19)
Wyoming Department of Transportation
PINEDALE, WYOMING - The Wyoming Department of Transportation have begun working on several bridges on US 189/191 north of Daniel Junction. WYDOT, along with contract crews from Lewis & Lewis, Inc. have set up traffic control at two bridge locations at Warren Bridge (milepost 120.20) and North Beaver Creek Bridge (milepost 127.45). Traffic will be reduced to a single lane and controlled by a timed traffic light. WYDOT is asking that drivers to expect delays and plan their travel accordingly.
The work will include pavement surfacing, bridge rehabilitation and miscellaneous work on 8.5 miles of US 189/191 beginning at milepost 120. Paving and work on an additional bridge will take place in June. The completion date for this work is Oct. 1, 2019.
All work schedules are subject to change. WYDOT would like to remind drivers to slow down in work zones and be alert and cautious of roadside workers. For more information on road construction, closures and weather conditions, please visit http://www.wyoroad.info.
UW study questions effects of reintroducing top predators (posted 4/10/19)
University of Wyoming press release
For years, scientists have assumed that when top predators are reintroduced to an ecosystem, the effects are predictable: The ecosystem will return to how it was before the predators were wiped out.
Now, University of Wyoming researchers have published a study showing that there’s little evidence for such claims. This has big implications for wildlife conservation in places such as Yellowstone National Park.
Most people are probably familiar with the story of Yellowstone’s wolves. Wolves were wiped out in Yellowstone in the 1920s and, in their absence, elk became much more common and ate so much vegetation that it degraded the ecosystem.
Wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone in the mid-1990s and over the next two decades brought profound change to the ecosystem. The number of elk decreased, while the number of aspen, willow and cottonwoods increased. Biologists observed positive responses by other animals, from songbirds to beavers. Scientists assumed that Yellowstone’s ecosystem is on its way to being restored to historical conditions.
But this new study questions that assumption: Do we really know what those historical conditions were? And, does reintroducing apex predators alter ecosystems with any predictability at all?
The team of researchers from UW, Yale University and the University of British Columbia-Okanagan set out to find the answer. The results were published in the journal Biological Conservation earlier this week.
Ecosystem restoration via large carnivore reintroduction relies on two critical assumptions. First, large carnivore reintroduction has to initiate a predictable trophic cascade -- that is, where carnivores reduce the abundance of herbivores, which, in turn, increases the abundance of the plants they feed on. Second, the magnitude of that trophic cascade has to push an ecosystem back to a previous state.
But lots of other things can happen, too. Reintroduction of large carnivores might not affect the ecosystem much at all. Or the ecosystem might veer off in a new, unpredictable direction due to changes to the ecosystem or biological communities that occurred when large carnivores were absent. This is particularly likely in today’s era of climate change and invasive species, the researchers say.
There aren’t many studies on this topic, so the researchers collected studies that included data on the reintroduction of native apex predators or removal of invasive ones. These events are two sides of the same coin: Reintroductions and removals should work the same way, but in opposite directions.
They found that trophic cascades brought on by these events don’t appear to be predictable -- sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t. In fact, they found only one consistent result: When invasive apex predators were removed, smaller predators such as coyotes, foxes and rats become more common.
Jesse Alston, the lead author on this study, says there are two take-home messages to this work.
"We need more studies," he says. "More tests of this ‘assumption of reciprocity,’ as we call it -- particularly via rigorous experimental studies -- would be really helpful. This is hard data to get, but we really do need it before we can credibly claim that large carnivores restore ecosystems. They might not."
"We also think that large carnivore reintroduction should be pursued for its own sake," Alston adds. "Large carnivores are great, but using their effects on ecosystems to justify reintroduction might not hold up to scrutiny and could be counterproductive in the long term.
"We hope we set up a nice framework for thinking about large carnivore introduction and invasive species removal that others can run with. We want to raise an important question, but it’s going to take lots of folks to provide a definitive answer. This is an unfinished story."
Reciprocity in restoration ecology paper - Biological Conservation
Wolf Watch - by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
Washington wolf count up (posted 4/10/19)
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
The recovery of Washington's wolf population continued in 2018 as numbers of individual wolves, packs, and successful breeding pairs reached their highest levels since wolves were virtually eliminated from the state in the 1930s.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) published its annual year-end report, which shows the state has a minimum of 126 individual wolves, 27 packs, and 15 successful breeding pairs – male and female adults who have raised at least two pups that survived through the end of the year. A year ago, those numbers were 122, 22, and 14, respectively.
In 2018, for the first time, WDFW documented the presence of a pack west of the Cascade Crest. A single male wolf in Skagit County, captured in 2017 and fitted with a radio collar, has been traveling with another wolf through the winter, thereby achieving pack status. Biologists chose the pack’s name – Diobsud Creek.
"We're pleased to see our state's wolf population continue to grow and begin to expand to the west side of the Cascades," said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind. "We will continue to work with the public to chart the future management of this important native species."
Information and survey findings are compiled from state, tribal, and federal wildlife specialists based on aerial surveys, remote cameras, wolf tracks, and signals from radio-collared wolves. As in past years, the annual count provides estimates of the minimum numbers of wolves in the state, because it is not possible to count every wolf.
Virtually eliminated from the state by the 1930s, Washington's gray wolf population has rebounded since 2008, when WDFW wildlife managers documented a resident pack in Okanogan County. Most packs occupy land in Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties in the northeast corner of the state, but the survey revealed increasing numbers in Washington's southeast corner and the north-central region.
Although the 2018 annual count showed a modest increase in individual wolves, the upturn in new packs and breeding pairs in those areas set the stage for more growth this year, said Donny Martorello, WDFW wolf policy lead. "Packs and breeding pairs are the building blocks of population growth," Martorello said. 'It's reassuring to see our wolf population occupying more areas of the landscape."
State management of wolves is guided by the department's 2011 Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, which establishes standards for wolf-management actions.
Since 1980, gray wolves have been listed under state law as endangered throughout Washington. In the western two-thirds of the state, they are classified as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.
As required for all state-listed species, WDFW is currently conducting a periodic status review of the state's gray wolf population to evaluate the species' listing status, Martorello said.
"The state's wolf management plan lays out a variety of recovery objectives, but the ultimate determination of a species' listing status is whether it remains at risk of failing or declining," Martorello said.
The 2018 annual count reflects the net one-year change in Washington's wolf population after accounting for births, deaths, and wolves that have traveled into or out of Washington to form new packs or join existing ones. In 2018, two wolves dispersed with one forming the Butte Creek pack in southeastern Washington while the other wolf traveled through Oregon down to Idaho.
WDFW also recorded 12 wolf deaths during 2018. Six (6) were legally killed by tribal hunters; four (4) were killed by WDFW in response to repeated wolf-caused livestock deaths; and two (2) other mortalities apparently were caused by humans and remained under investigation at year's end.
Ben Maletzke, WDFW statewide wolf specialist, said the 2018 annual report reinforces the profile of wolves as a highly resilient, adaptable species whose members are well-suited to Washington's rugged, expansive landscape. He said their numbers in Washington have increased by an average of 28 percent per year since 2008.
"Wolves routinely face threats to their survival – from humans, other animals, and nature itself," he said. "But despite each year's ups and downs, the population in Washington has grown steadily and probably will keep increasing by expanding their range in the north and south Cascades of Washington."
Maletzke said the 2018 survey documented six packs formed in 2018 – Butte Creek, Nason, OPT, Sherman, Diobsud Creek and Nanuem – while one pack, Five Sisters, disbanded due to unknown causes.
With funding support from state lawmakers, WDFW has steadily increased its efforts to collaborate with livestock producers, conservation groups, and local residents to minimize conflict between wolves and livestock and other domestic animals, Maletzke said.
WDFW used several strategies last year to prevent and minimize conflicts, including cost-sharing agreements with 31 ranchers who worked with WDFW to protect their livestock. State financial and technical assistance helped to support the use of conflict prevention measures which included range riders to check on livestock, guard dogs, lighting, flagging for fences, and data sharing on wolf movements.
Maletzke said five of the 27 packs known to exist in Washington last year were involved in at least one livestock mortality. WDFW investigators confirmed wolves killed at least 11 cattle and one sheep and injured another 19 cattle and two sheep.
WDFW processed five livestock damage claims totaling $7,536 to compensate producers for direct wolf-caused livestock losses and one indirect claim for $5,950, which compensates the producer for reduced weight gains and other factors associated with wolf-livestock interaction.
Consistent with the Wolf Plan and the department's Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol, WDFW used lethal measures to remove individual wolves from three packs after non-lethal measures failed to deter them from preying on livestock. WDFW euthanized two members of the OPT pack, and one member apiece from the Togo and Smackout packs.
Contributors to WDFW's annual report include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program, the Confederated Colville Tribes and the Spokane Tribe of Indians.
Annual wolf report - Washington DFW
Wolf Watch - by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
Oregon wolf count up 10% (posted 4/10/19)
Livestock depredations up 65%
Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
State wildlife biologists counted 137 wolves in Oregon this past winter, a 10 percent increase over last year’s count of 124, according to the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management 2018 Annual Report.
This annual count is based on verified wolf evidence (like visual observations, tracks, and remote camera photographs) and is considered the minimum known wolf count, not an estimate of how many wolves are in Oregon. The actual number of wolves in Oregon is likely higher, as not all individuals or groups of wolves present in the state are located during the winter count.
Sixteen packs were documented during the count, up from 12 packs in 2017. (A pack is defined as four or more wolves traveling together in winter.) Eight other groups of 2-3 wolves were also identified. Fifteen of those packs successfully reproduced and had at least two adults and two pups that survived through the end of 2018, making them "breeding pairs," a 36 percent increase over last year’s number.
"The state’s wolf population continues to grow and expand its range, now into the central Oregon Cascade Mountains too," said Roblyn Brown, ODFW Wolf Coordinator.
Highlights from the report:
• Resident wolf numbers and reproduction increased in western Oregon. A second pack (White River Pack) reproduced and was designated a breeding pair for 2018, joining the Rogue Pack. The Indigo group of at least three wolves was also found in the Umpqua National Forest.
• Three collared wolves dispersed to California and one to Idaho.
• Approximately 13% of wolves known at the end of the year in Oregon were monitored via radio collar.
• Biologists documented more than 15,000 wolf location data points by radio collar or other methods including aerial, track and howling surveys. 53% of these locations were on public land, 40% on private and 7% on tribal.
• The breeding female of Oregon’s oldest known reproducing pack, the Wenaha Pack, disappeared and no reproduction was documented for the pack in 2018. The female wolf was at least 10 years old, which is old for a wolf living in the wild, and she appeared in poor body condition in summer trail camera photos.
Unlawful take of wolves decreases
Two wolves were found killed unlawfully in 2018 (down from four in 2017). A juvenile wolf believed to be from the Grouse Flats Pack (a pack that uses Oregon but is counted as a Washington state pack because it dens there) was shot. The radio-collared breeding female of the Mt Emily Pack was shot on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Oregon State Police and CTUIR law enforcement continue to investigate these incidents and are actively seeking more information. Rewards ranging from $2,500 to $15,000 have been offered for information leading to a conviction in these and previous cases.
Livestock depredation increases
Confirmed depredation incidents by wolves increased 65 percent from last year, with 28 confirmed incidents (up from 17 last year). A total of 17 calves, one llama and two livestock guardian dogs were lost to wolves and an additional 13 calves were injured. Three wolf packs were responsible for the majority of depredations (Rogue - 11, Pine Creek - 6 and Chesnimnus - 5). While known wolf numbers have increased considerably over the last nine years, depredations and livestock losses have not increased at the same rate.
In all phases of wolf management, Oregon’s Wolf Plan mandates that non-lethal efforts are undertaken before lethal removal is considered. In 2018, those measures included removing attractants, hazing, electrified fladry, fence maintenance, radio-activated guard boxes, increased human presence, range riders and other husbandry practices.
ODFW, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Wildlife Services continue to support livestock producers in their non-lethal efforts with technical advice, supplies and assistance with implementation.
"As the wolf population has expanded into new areas in Oregon, livestock producers have adjusted the way they do business to remove bone piles and incorporate non-lethal measures that can reduce the vulnerability of their livestock to depredation by wolves and other predators," said Roblyn Brown, ODFW Wolf Coordinator. "We extend our thanks and appreciation for their efforts."
The Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Wolf Depredation Compensation and Financial Assistance Grant Program also awarded $160,890 in grant funds to compensate livestock producers for losses and to fund preventive non-lethal measures.
Annual wolf report - Oregon DFW
Wolf Watch - by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
Mexican wolf population up 12% (posted 4/10/19)
Arizona Game & Fish Department
The recent Mexican wolf count indicates that the population of Mexican wolves has increased by 12 percent since last year, raising the total number of wolves in the wild to a minimum of 131 animals.
That number is among the findings of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team (IFT), a task force comprising federal, state and international partners. From November 2018 through January 2019, the team conducted ground counts in Arizona and New Mexico that concluded with aerial counts of Mexican wolves in February.
Among the IFT’s findings: 131 wolves are nearly evenly distributed – 64 wolves in Arizona and 67 in New Mexico. Last year, the team documented 117 wolves. This year’s total represents a 12 percent increase in the population of Canis lupus baileyi.
"The survey results indicate the Mexican wolf program is helping save an endangered subspecies," said Amy Lueders, Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southwest Region. "The Mexican wolf has come back from the brink of extinction, thanks to scientific management and the dedicated work of a lot of partners. With continued support and research, we can continue to make progress in Mexican wolf recovery."
"The numbers highlight the wolf’s progress in the wild," said Jim deVos, Assistant Director of Wildlife Management for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. "The results of this census are very important as they reflect the great progress being made in the recovery of the Mexican wolf in the United States. The increase of about 12 percent in the Mexican wolf population is not an isolated year, but rather a continuum of increases over the last 10 years."
This year’s findings confirmed:
There are a minimum of 32 packs of wolves (two or more animals), plus seven individuals.
A minimum of 18 packs had pups; 16 of these packs had pups that survived to the
end of the year.
A minimum of 81 pups were born in 2018, and at least 47 survived to the end of the year. That’s a 58 percent survival rate.
The population growth occurred despite 21 documented mortalities last year.Eleven wolves were captured during the aerial operations.
Seventy-nine wolves—60 percent of the population—wore functioning radio collars. The collars help researchers manage and monitor the population and are vital to collecting scientific information.
The discovery of cross-fostered wolves was a bright spot in the annual survey. The IFT last spring placed eight captive pups into four wild dens to boost the genetic variability in the wild population. The team began cross-fostering in 2014.
"The survey shows that cross-fostering – taking days-old pups born in captivity and placing them in packs in the wild – is bearing fruit," said deVos. "One of the key recovery criteria addresses the need for increasing genetic diversity within the wild population. Using the proven approach of cross-fostering, the Interagency Field Team documented survival of no fewer than three fostered pups from 2018 fostering events."
The Mexican wolf is the rarest subspecies of gray wolf in North America. It is listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Once common throughout portions of the southwestern United States and Mexico, it was all but eliminated from the wild by the 1970s.
Working with the Mexican government, the Service in 1977 began developing a captive breeding program to restore the wolf’s numbers. It started with seven wolves, aiming for the day the program could release wolves into the wild. That day came in 1998, when the Service released 11 wolves within a range called the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area in Arizona and New Mexico.
In 2011, the program expanded to Mexico with the release of wolves in the Sierra Madre Occidental. An estimated 30 Mexican wolves now live in the wild in Mexico. Today, approximately 280 Mexican wolves live in more than 50 facilities throughout the United States and Mexico. They contribute to the species’ recovery and genetic diversity.
In November 2017, the Service completed the Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, First Revision. The recovery plan uses the best available science to chart a path forward for the Mexican wolf that can be accommodated within the species’ historical range in the Southwestern United States and Mexico. This revised plan provides measurable and objective criteria for successful recovery. If those goals are met, the Service will be able to remove the Mexican wolf from the list of endangered species. The wolf’s management would be turned over to the appropriate states and Native American tribes.
In addition to the Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department, partners in the recovery program include the Mexican government, White Mountain Apache Tribe, U.S. Forest Service, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Wildlife Services, several participating counties, and the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan.
Mexican wolf report - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Wolf Watch - by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
WYDOT deals with avalanches in Hoback Canyon (posted 4/5/19)
Wyoming Department of Transportation
The Wyoming Department of Transportation avalanche and maintenance crews responded to natural slide activity on US 189/191 Hoback Canyon on Thursday, April 4, 2019.
At roughly 1 p.m, WYDOT crews dispatched to a natural avalanche at the Cow of the Woods in Hoback Canyon. The slide did reach the roadway. Crews then initiated some avalanche mitigation work on the Cow of the Wood slide path and brought down a controlled slide over the initial slide that extended over both lanes that was roughly 16 feet high at its crown.
Maintenance crews then punched a hole through the snow slide and proceeded to move stopped traffic through. They continued to the Calf of the Wood, another nearby slide path and continued with their avalanche mitigation measures. They were able to bring down some snow and debris that reached the adjacent ditch. While they were working to clean up the snow and debris, the Cow of the Wood came down a third time, but the snow and debris only reached the fog line of the road.
The roadway was opened back up to full traffic at about 3:45 p.m. A notification was sent out to the 511 alert system notifying travelers to "be prepared to stop and expect delays."
WYDOT's avalanche team will be monitoring the Hoback Canyon, Snake River Canyon and Teton Pass closely as warming temperatures and more rain is forecasted for the valley.
Wyoming partners adopt a statewide Prescribed Fire Council (posted 4/5/19)
Wyoming Prescribed Fire Council
In December of 2018, representatives from county, state, federal and nonprofit natural resource management groups met to establish the Wyoming Prescribed Fire Council (WY-PFC) as a statewide, nonprofit prescribed fire organization. The mission of the council is to protect and support the use of prescribed fire as a land management tool in Wyoming.
The WY-PFC gathered at The Nature Conservancy’s Red Canyon Ranch in Lander, WY to formally expound upon the council. The team voted on bylaws, established committees, appointed committee leadership, and identified a program of work to address prescribed fire topics including policy, outreach and education, agency and landowner cooperation, and partnerships. The council’s intention is to support and protect the use of prescribed fire in the following ways:
• Establish a strong network to better utilize and leverage resources across the great state of Wyoming to implement more prescribed fire.
• Present a consistent public message supporting prescribed fire for agencies in the state.
• Serve as a credible interdisciplinary and interagency platform for educating the public on the safe and effective use of prescribed fire.
• Support fire adapted communities throughout Wyoming.
Throughout many ecosystems, prescribed fire is an important land management tool for achieving ecological diversity, increasing agricultural land production, and promoting wildfire habitat protection, while sustaining environmental quality. Prescribed fire is also helpful in supporting fire preparedness and fuels mitigation efforts in private communities, otherwise known as fire adapted communities. Currently in Wyoming, prescribed fire is used by government agencies, non-profit organizations, for-profit businesses, and private landowners to achieve these objectives.
In the past, different entities and individuals were not formally working together to promote safe and effective use of prescribed fire. The WY-PFC was formed to meet this need and help formulate the use of prescribed fire within the state for safer and more effective practices, while providing consistent education through supported scientific efforts. These practices should be recognized by all practitioners using fire as a management tool.
Nationally, there are 38 prescribed fire councils in 32 states. The new WY-PFC will lead the way for the remaining five western states, which are home to many of the unwanted wildfire acres burned each year. The WY-PFC contributing partners include Wyoming State Forestry Division; Wyoming Game and Fish Department; University of Wyoming; Wyoming Conservation Districts; The Nature Conservancy; Wyoming Stock Growers Association; Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; USDA’s Forest Service, Sweetwater County Commission, Fremont County Fuels Program, Northern Rockies Fire Science Consortium, Great Plains Fire Science Network, Southern Rockies Fire Science Network, Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, and Muley Fanatics.
If you are interested in supporting this council as a member or just want more information please contact WYprescribedfire@gmail.com or visit our website https://wyoextension.org/wyprescribedfire/
Hard winter for deer and pronghorn south of Pinedale (posted 4/5/19)
Wyoming Game & Fish
PINEDALE, WYOMING - As winter storms continue to move into western Wyoming, local Game and Fish Department field personnel are monitoring all wildlife closely and wish to keep the public up to date on impacts. Significant snowfall and cold temperatures during the month of February, have resulted in severe conditions on winter ranges throughout the Pinedale Region, causing concern among wildlife managers.
"At this point it remains difficult to predict how bad the mortality rates will be," said Pinedale Region Wildlife Supervisor John Lund, "But we will likely see above-average mortality in some areas, mostly among mule deer and pronghorn fawns if conditions do not improve quickly." Officials are also asking people to avoid stressing any wildlife they encounter in the coming weeks, as any additional stress might make a difference in whether some animals survive the winter or not.
Despite the hard winter, wildlife officials are urging residents to refrain from feeding wildlife to "help" them through the winter, as it typically does more harm than good. Feeding can result in increased potential for disease transmission, as well as conflicts with people, pets and traffic due to high densities of animals in a small area. For more information on how to properly live with wildlife you may contact the Wyoming Game and Fish Department office at 1-800-452-9107 or 307-367-4353 in Pinedale.
WYDOT gears up for start of 2019 construction season (posted 4/2/19)
Wyoming Department of Transportation
The Wyoming Department of Transportation will continue with several ongoing projects as well as start new projects in 2019 that will improve road conditions and traffic flow for motorists.
Construction crews are expected to start work within the next few weeks, with the majority of the work taking place during the spring, summer and fall months.
The Wyoming Transportation Commission is expected to award about $290 million in contracts by September. Construction crews will work on about 97 projects in 2019.
"WYDOT will continue work on several projects this construction season that will help preserve and modernize the state’s highway system," said Shelby Carlson, WYDOT chief engineer. "We carefully select projects based on system needs and public input. The projects help meet our mission of providing a safe, high quality and efficient transportation system for travelers."
Motorists traveling the state may encounter work zones, which means they need to plan ahead, allow extra travel time, drive cautiously and avoid distractions.
"When motorists encounter highway work zones, they need to follow the reduced speed limits, pay attention to their surroundings and keep a safe distance from other motorists and workers," Carlson said. "We want to ensure everyone, including workers and the traveling public, are safe."
WYDOT will be working on two large projects this year on US 26/89/189/191 south of the town of Jackson. This corridor was broken into two separate projects – the Jackson South project and the Snake River South project.
The Jackson South project, which includes new pavement, additional lanes, turnouts, pathways, accommodations for wildlife and landscaping, as well as various other improvements from milepost 145-149, will wrap up this year. The work is required to be completed by June 30, 2019.
The Snake River South project will be let this May and will include the reconstruction of US 26/89/189/191 from mileposts 141-145 with similar improvements. It is anticipated work will begin later in the summer.
Accommodations for wildlife include six underpasses for big game and several smaller culverts for small mammals and facilities for fish passage have been included in the corridor improvements for these two projects. More information is available at www.dot.state.wy.us/jacksonsouth.
The other projects WYDOT will be working on throughout the state include pavement projects, bridge rehabilitation, slide work and other improvements. The following is a highlight of some of those projects.
On I-80, crews will repair six bridges and repave 10 miles of road between Rock Springs and Rawlins in Sweetwater County.
For the bridge work, crews will make repairs to four of the bridges and replace two of them. The contract completion date is October 2020. The cost of the project is $16.8 million.
In Albany County, crews will repave 8 miles on I-80 near Laramie and also make repairs to two bridges. The project will cost $10.8 million and the contract completion date is October 2020.
On I-25, crews will continue improvement work on 3 miles near Glendo. Crews have been grading, widening and adding an overlay to the road to make it safer. Crews are expected to complete the $11.2 million project on October 2019.
Between the Montana state line and Ranchester on I-90, crews will continue with a $7.6 million contract to repave 5 miles of surface. The contract completion date is October 2019.
The northern phase of the North Federal Boulevard project in Riverton is also scheduled to start this year. The project involves reconstructing two miles of WYO 789 (North Federal Boulevard).
Besides reconstructing the road, the contract is a joint project with the city of Riverton that also includes sidewalk and ADA upgrades, utility work, storm sewer work, and new street light and new traffic signal installation. The $13.96 million project has a contract completion date of October 2019.
Crews will also continue work on Garner Lake Road between Gillette and the Montana state line. Phase two will consist of realigning 4.8 miles of road, parallel and to the east of the current road.
During phase one, crews extended Garner Lake Road to WYO 59 to provide another northern access into Gillette. The 11 million project has a contract completion date of July 2020.
Pinedale Travel & Tourism Quarterly Update (posted 4/2/19)
January, February, March 2019
Town of Pinedale
Pinedale Travel & Tourism would like to introduce its first issue of its new quarterly update. We will be providing a quarterly overview of what Pinedale Travel & Tourism has been doing and will be scheduled to go out towards the end of each quarter. The purpose of this update, is to keep you, the community informed of the ongoing work of Pinedale Travel & Tourism and how lodging tax revenue is being spent. We highly encourage you to share our links and information and to like our social media accounts.
Pinedale Travel & Tourism received $12,466.65 for January, $13,269.02 for February & 12,167.89 for March for Lodging Tax Dollars.
For January, February, & March:
$7,500 - Campaign Creative -
$6,000 - Social Media Account Management -
$10,000 - YouTube Advertisement
$2,400 - Madden Media Advertisement
$1,104 - Madden Media & Wyoming Office of Tourism Spring Insert Advertisement
$2,000 - Hill Climb Sponsorship
- Promoted Winter Carnival by submitting posters to Buckrail, Sweetwater Chamber, Jackson Hole List-Serve, Snowmobile clubs from Colorado, Utah, South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho
- Posted Winter Carnival Posters in Sweetwater, Fremont, and Teton Counties
- Attended 2019 Governor's Tourism & Hospitality Conference
- Provided Town of Pinedale Welcome/Visitor Bags to Visitor Center
- Attended Main Street Convention in Seattle, WA
- Volunteered with setup of skijoring event at Winter Carnival
- Monthly visits to lodging facilities in Pinedale
- Provided snowmobiling maps to lodging facilities
- Coordinated with PFAC and hotels on lodging package deals for upcoming PFAC events
- Promoted Pinedale Lions Club Fishing Derby through radio advertisement with the Wyoming Office of Tourism
- Attended CHANCE Meeting regarding Community Organizations and 2019 Events
- Forwarded upcoming events to New Thought Media to be promoted on our social media accounts
- Attended Rendezvous Community Planning Workshop
- Updated activity information on Visit Pinedale website
- Enhanced calendar submissions for community events promoting tourism
- Corresponded with local businesses to be added to the 2020 WY Travel Guide
Boomer Freesen (Chair)
Laura Hattan (Vice Chair)
Stuart Lamson (Secretary)
Jim Hamilton (Chamber of Commerce Representative)
Tyler Swafford (Town Council Representative)
January 16th, 2019 at noon
February 20th, 2019 at noon
March 12th, 2019 at noon
- April 17, 2019 - Noon; Hampton Inn
Granting & Supported Events:
Pinedale Stage Stop:
- Date of Event: January 26th & 27th
- PTTC granted $1,500 to Pinedale Stage Stop Sled Dog Race
- This grant was used to help with sponsorship of Jr. Musher Lodging and banquet entertainment.
- This year there were 105 participants/crew members; 102 of the 105 were from out-of-county; 12 of the 105 were from out-of-the-country; the remaining 90 were from out-of-state.
- 25 hotel rooms were reserved for the evening of January 26th.
- 80 spectators attended the banquet; 100 spectators attended the race; majority were Sublette County Residents.
Wyoming Senior Olympics
- Date of Event: February 7th - 9th
- PTTC granted $1,750 to the WY Senior Olympics.
- This grant was used for out-of-county advertisement for this event which included Fremont, Teton, Sweetwater, Natrona, and Park Counties
- This year they had 109 participants (21 more than 2018). 72 participants were from out-of-county; 14 of the 72 were from out-of-state; 37 participants were from Sublette County
- 71 of the 72 participants stayed in hotels here in Pinedale
- Date of Event: February 15th - 18th
- PTTC granted $1,000 to Main Street Pinedale for the Winter Carnival
- This grant was used in advertisement for the event in Sublette, Teton, Fremont, Sweetwater, & Lincoln Counties.
- 44 hotel reservations were booked for this event.
- Skijoring brought over 1,000 spectators/competitors (200 more than last year) which included 24 from out-of-county spectators, 44 spectators from out-of-state, and 4 from out of the country; the remaining number of spectators were from Sublette County.
Lion's Club Fishing Derby
- Date of Event: March 2nd & 3rd
- PTTC granted $955.00 to The Lion's Club for the Pinedale Annual Big Fish Winter Derby.
- This grant was used in advertising the event.
- There were 249 participants; 148 were from out-of-county, 37 were from out-of-state, and the remaining were from Sublette County.
- Date of Event: March 9th
- PTTC granted $2,500 to The Drift Winter Marathon
- This grant was used for advertisement
- This year there were 76 registered racers, 75 participated; 19 participants were from out-of-county; 22 from out-of-state; and the remaining 35 were from Sublette County
- There were 80 recorded hotel stays.
Pinedale Hockey Association
- Date of Events: Nov. 16-18, 2018 (Adult Hockey Tournament) & March 8-10, 2019 (WAHL Bantam State Championship Tournament)
- PTTC granted $500.00 to the Adult Hockey Tournament & $3,500 to the Bantam State Championship
- Event numbers & info still pending **
Sublette County Visitor Center
- PTTC granted $10,000 to support the Sublette County Visitor Center
- Collaborated with school district to provide information to local businesses to possibly hold a state Nordic skiing event
- The Visitor Center saw a total of 576 visitors in January
- Their projects have included highlights of Sublette County to be used in the Sublette County Magazine
- Highlighted events were sent to WY Office of Tourism for marketing.
-Prepared grant for WY Cultural Trust Fund
-Filling visitor bags for upcoming hockey tournament in March
Click on this link for a printable PDF version of this newsletter
www.visitpinedale.org Pinedale Travel and Tourism website
Roosevelt Fire Recovery Fund call for applications (posted 3/29/19)
Thanks to the generosity of many donors, and spurred by the matching challenge issued by Foster & Lynn Friess, the Roosevelt Fire Disaster Recovery Fund has received $410,862.19 as of March 25, 2019. Donations have come in from hundreds of donors from across the country, from individuals and groups, and we are grateful for them all. The Lions of Wyoming Foundation receives and processes all contributions and then forwards them to the Pinedale Lions Club for distribution.
If you would like to make a donation to help support Roosevelt Fire victims, checks may be made out to the Lions of Wyoming Foundation and sent to 224 Talon Court, Cheyenne, WY 82009. Please indicate "Roosevelt Fire" in the memo line. Tax letters will be sent to all donors.
To date, the Roosevelt Fire Fund Distribution Committee has made two rounds of distributions to individuals/families that suffered losses in the fire for a total of $126,294.57. In addition to this, a one-time distribution was made to the Hoback Ranches Service and Improvement District in the amount of $100,000 in support of mitigation and recovery efforts focused on core community infrastructure that will help ensure the safety of people in the impacted areas and allow people to access their properties to clear debris and begin the rebuilding process. The remaining funds are anticipated for distribution to individuals/families.
Depending on the snow melt, thaw cycle, and the location of properties, it is expected that many people will not able to access their properties until June. Only at this point will many be able to assess the damage, get estimates for the necessary work, discuss their losses with their insurance companies, and begin the work of recovery. However, the Distribution Committee also recognizes that there are many with more immediate needs that did not apply in the first two rounds of distributions, or their needs were not fully met.
With both the immediate and longer term needs in mind, the Roosevelt Fire Fund Distribution Committee will begin accepting applications for financial assistance immediately and will meet monthly to make distributions on a rolling basis, with the first distribution planned for May and the final distribution planned for August or September.
Those impacted by the Roosevelt Fire and in need of financial assistance are invited to submit an application, available at the Bondurant Post Office and online here:
• Guidelines: http://bit.ly/roosevelt-guidelines
• Print Form Application: http://bit.ly/roosevelt-print-application-3
• Electronic Form Application: http://bit.ly/roosevelt-e-application-3
If you have submitted applications previously and your full request was not met, your application will be included in ongoing consideration unless we hear that you would like your application withdrawn. If you would like to submit a new application with updated information you are welcome to do this as well.
The Roosevelt Fire Disaster Recovery Fund Committee can be reached at email@example.com.
St. John's Episcopal Church has funds available for any and all impacted by the Roosevelt Fire who would benefit from professional counseling or therapy. Please contact Rev. Brian Nystrom at St. John's Church in Jackson at 307-733-2603. High Country Behavioral Health in Pinedale provides counseling and will work with those in the Pinedale or Marbleton area. Please contact Sarah Hixson at 307-367-2111.