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Pinedale Online!
Pinedale, Wyoming  •  www.PinedaleOnline.com
A "Slice of Life" view of Pinedale and Sublette County, Wyoming
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Pinedale Half Marathon
Pinedale Half Marathon The annual Pinedale Half Marathon, 10K and 1 Mile Walk/Run were held on Saturday, Sept. 24th. The event attracts runners from all over the United States. The half marathon started in front of Rendezvous Pointe with 82 athletes. The 10K had 147 runners. The Pinedale Lions club provided a delicious BBQ lunch after the race. Click on this link for more pictures: Pinedale Half Marathon Photo by Terry Allen.
Two Bull Moose
Two Bull Moose Dave Bell watched these two bull moose taunt each other for about an hour in the Upper Green about a week ago. After awhile, the bigger one got bored and swam the Green River and headed into the forest. Click on this link for more of Dave’s scenic photos of the area: Dave Bell Photo Gallery Photo by Dave Bell.
Gas Prices
Sept. 18, 2016
Pinedale2.549
Big Piney2.399
Wyoming2.262
USA2.200
Regular unleaded average.
WY & US provided by AAA.
Diesel Prices
Sept. 18, 2016
Pinedale2.759
Big Piney2.499
Wyoming2.466
USA2.357
WY & US provided by AAA.
Headlines:

Pinedale Local:

Wyoming State Legislature update – Education meetings
Mixed bag of weather in forecast
Sublette County Extension Office Open Houses Oct. 4 & 5
Pinedale Half Marathon
Fall colors at Green River Lakes
Candidate Meet & Greet in Marbleton Oct. 12
Graveside Funeral Service for Jack Clark Sept. 30
Funeral Service for Jean Rahm Sept. 29 in Pinedale
Memorial Funeral Service for Josh Boman Sept. 29 in Pinedale
Kittens available for adoption
Zedi Pinedale Laboratory moves to new location in Pinedale
Town of Pinedale update – Water testing
Pinedale High School water tests reveal elevated lead levels
SCSD 1 Schools testing water for lead

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WYDOT Web Cam on US 189 north of Marbleton at the junction with Hwy 351  - view looking south
US 189 north of Marbleton - View looking south

WYDOT Web Cam on US 191 at Sand Draw - view looking north
US 191 at Sand Draw - View looking north

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Events: Click for event information
September 30: Pinedale Wrangler Homecoming - Volleyball games at 2:00/3:00/4:00PM. Football game at 7:00PM. Homecoming Parade at 10AM down Pine Street. Tailgate party 5-7PM.
October 19: The Russian String Orchestra - Pinedale Fine Arts Council presentation, season ticket series event. Pinedale Auditoriu, 7:00PM. More info at www.pinedalefinearts.com
December 2: Museum of the Mountain Man 23rd Annual Wreath & Chocolate Auction - Fundraiser for the Museum to help raise funds for 2017 programs and events, Lovatt Room, Pinedale Library. www.mmmuseum.com
December 3: The Nutcracker - Eugene Ballet Co. Pinedale Fine Arts Council presentation, season ticket series event. Pinedale Auditoriu, 7:00PM. More info at www.pinedalefinearts.com

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What is Pinedale Online?

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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Wolf Watch, by Cat Urbigkit

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Flag Half Staff notice
Flag Half Staff notice
Flag Half Staff notice – for former President and Prime Minister of Israel, Shimon Peres (posted 9/29/16)
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead media release
Governor Matthew H. Mead, pursuant to President Barack Obama’s Proclamation as a mark of respect for Shimon Peres, former President and Prime Minister of Israel, has ordered the flag of the United States to be flown at half-staff on all public buildings and grounds immediately and until sunset on September 30, 2016.


Senators press for answers from DOJ, HHS on potential multimillion dollar Obamacare insurance bailout (posted 9/27/16)
Senator Barrasso media release
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Ben Sasse (R-NE) pressed the Obama administration about its potential multimillion-dollar bailout of select insurance companies through Obamacare’s Risk Corridors Program (RCP). In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, the senators question the legality and the availability of funds to settle claims for payment under the RCP.

The letter states: "The health care law contained three risk mitigation programs, one of which is the temporary Risk Corridor Program. This program was originally intended to be implemented in a budget neutral manner. This intention was confirmed when Congress passed, with Presidential approval, two separate provisions of appropriations law confirming its budget neutrality. It now appears the Administration is preparing to circumvent these actions."

The letter discusses the use of the judgement fund to resolve claims filed against the government for non-payment under the RCP, concluding that "it would be inappropriate for the Judgement Fund to be used to settle any litigation stemming from the risk corridor program. Accordingly, we write to ascertain specifically how CMS intends to go about seeking ‘resolution of those claims’ so that federal law is not violated."

In addition to the letter, Senator Barrasso added: "Obamacare continues to fail American families who are facing premium increases and fewer choices," said Barrasso. "Instead of admitting the collapse of Obamacare, the administration now appears to be pursuing a massive and illegal bailout."

Full text of the letter is below:
Sept. 27, 2016

Dear Attorney General Lynch, Secretary Burwell, and Administrator Slavitt,

We write to express our grave concerns regarding the potential participation of your departments in a multibillion dollar bailout of select health insurance companies through the Affordable Care Act’s Risk Corridors Program (RCP).[1] We also seek an explanation regarding your understanding of the availability of funds to settle claims for payment under the RCP.

The health care law contained three risk mitigation programs, one of which is the temporary Risk Corridor Program. This program was originally intended to be implemented in a budget neutral manner. This intention was confirmed when Congress passed, with Presidential approval, two separate provisions of appropriations law confirming its budget neutrality. It now appears the Administration is preparing to circumvent these actions.

In a November 19, 2015, memorandum addressing the Risk Corridors, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) stated that "the Affordable Care Act requires the Secretary to make full payments to issuers" and that "full payment is required" pursuant to the RCP.[2] CMS also stated that if the program experienced continued shortfalls, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would "explore other sources of funding for risk corridors payments, subject to the availability of appropriations."[3]

In a September 9, 2016, memorandum, CMS once again stated that "the Affordable Care Act requires the Secretary to make full payments to issuers" and that HHS would "record risk corridors payments due as an obligation of the United States Government for which full payment is required."[4] This memorandum also repeated that "in the event of a shortfall," HHS would "explore other sources of funding for risk corridors payments, subject to the availability of appropriations."[5]

The memorandum then went on to address recent suits filed by insurance issuers in federal court regarding non-payment under the RCP, expressing that, "as in all cases where there is litigation risk, we are open to discussing resolution of those claims," and that "[w]e are willing to begin such discussions at any time."[6]

If "resolution of those claims" refers to settlement with payment from the Judgment Fund, 31 U.S.C. § 1304, any such payment would be illegal. The Judgment Fund is unavailable for payments if the award is otherwise provided for, by appropriation or statute. As the Congressional Research Service concluded in a January, 2015, memorandum requested by Senator Rubio, "[b]ased on the existence of an appropriation for the risk corridor payments"—namely, the provision of the Affordable Care Act creating the RCP and subsequent measures directing how payments shall be made pursuant to that provision—"it appears that Congress would have ‘otherwise provided for’ any judgments awarding payments under that program to a plaintiff. As a result, the Judgment Fund would not appear to be available to pay for such judgments under current law."[7]

Finally, CRS also stated in a memorandum requested by Senator Barrasso that even if the plaintiffs were successful in their lawsuits, they would not be able to recover any additional funds, until insurance companies paid additional money into the program or Congress appropriated additional funds. Specifically, CRS stated, "it appears that any payment to satisfy a judgment secured by plaintiffs seeking recovery of amounts owed under the risk corridors program would need to wait until such funds were made available through future program receipts by CMS or through additional funds appropriated by Congress."

Consequently, it would be inappropriate for the Judgement Fund to be used to settle any litigation stemming from the risk corridor program. Accordingly, we write to ascertain specifically how CMS intends to go about seeking "resolution of those claims" so that federal law is not violated.

1. Does CMS believe that Congress has appropriated funds for payments to be made under the Risk Corridors Program, either pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 18062 or in resolution of a claim filed against the government for non-payment under the RCP?

1a. If not, how does CMS intend to make "resolution of th[e] claims" in the ongoing litigation matter?

1b. If so, what does CMS believe constitutes an appropriation from Congress to make payments, either pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 18062 or in resolution of a claim filed against the government for non-payment under the RCP?

2. Does CMS believe that the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, Pub. L. No. 114-113, Div. H § 225, 129 Stat. 2242, 2624, which explicitly prohibits payments under the RCP absent sufficient revenue generated from the RCP itself,[8] nevertheless still allows CMS to make payments to insurers seeking reimbursement pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 18062 despite RCP revenue shortfalls, either overtly or in resolution of claims against the government for non-payment?

2a. If so, by what authority and based on what appropriation does CMS believe it may make payments to insurers seeking reimbursement pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 18062 despite RCP revenue shortfalls, either overtly or in resolution of claims against the government for non-payment?

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


June Glasson Art Show & Reception Oct. 7 in Pinedale. PFAC presentation.
June Glasson Art Show & Reception Oct. 7 in Pinedale. PFAC presentation.
PFAC presents June Glasson Art show & reception Oct. 7 (posted 9/27/16)
Pinedale Fine Arts Council
The Pinedale Fine Arts Council is proud to present an exhibit/lecture and reception for Laramie, Wyoming artist June Glasson on Friday, October 7 at 7 p.m. in the Sublette County Library (Pinedale) Lovatt Room. This event is free to the public and wine and appetizers will be served. Glasson will be presenting a body of work created in Quink, a water-based media that she will be sharing with Pinedale High School and Middle School students.

An artist and designer living in Laramie, June Glasson uses portraiture and found objects to create work that explores gender and ideas about the "American West." Through drawing, painting, and installation, her work often deploys iconic "western" imagery—buffalo, weaponry, truck nutz, etc.—to investigate dominant narratives about the region, narratives that often ignore its complicated history. Simultaneously, this work also reflects her personal relationship with the landscape, people, and culture of Wyoming - a place that is both exotic and home to her.

June’s paintings have been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London, Nature Morte Gallery in Berlin and various New York and stateside galleries and museums. Glasson’s work has also appeared in New American Paintings, the Paris Review, The Wall Street Journal, GuernicaVersal, People as well as the film "My Idiot Brother" starring Paul Rudd.

Glasson will also be spending a week in residence with Pinedale High School and Middle School art students Oct. 3-7. The residency will focus on the Quink media.

The Oct. 7 evening reception will feature Glasson presenting a slide show lecture accompanied by a small exhibit of her work as well as completed works by Pinedale Middle and High School students during her week-in-residence.

June Glasson’s reception and residency are presented by the Pinedale Fine Arts Council with support from Sublette BOCES, Wyoming Arts Council and Sublette County School District No. 1.

Please visit www.pinedalefinearts.com for more information.


Pronghorn (antelope) herd moving south just before crossing the Trapper's Point Wildlife Overpass.
Pronghorn (antelope) herd moving south just before crossing the Trapper's Point Wildlife Overpass.
Wildlife Watching – Pronghorn are on the move again (posted 9/27/16)
Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
For those who enjoy watching the local area wildlife, here’s a heads up that pronghorn (antelope) are on the move again and moving across the Trapper’s Point wildlife overpass in greater numbers now. Movement activity has picked up the past two weeks after being very slow during May through August. Pronghorn can regularly be seen moving across the overpass fairly frequently now, typically groups coming several times an hour. Herds can move through very quickly, sometimes taking just a couple minutes to go from horizon to horizon when they are on the move.

In the fall, most herds are moving south, but an occasional herd moves north across the overpass and terrain. Very few deer cross on the overpass. Of course, the timing of herds moving through is completely unpredictable, so keep checking back to catch a herd crossing. Watch carefully for a shimmy of white moving dots in the distance to see herds approaching.

The Trapper’s Point Wildlife Overpass webcam is positioned on the wildlife overpass over US 191 near the Cora junction about five miles west of Pinedale. It does continuous video monitoring of the views and does a patrol every three minutes looking several directions and taking still photos. Webcam administrators monitor the camera view and at times may go in and manually control the camera to follow herd movements as they approach and see paths they take to leave the Trapper’s Point area. The web camera has pan, zoom and tilt capabilities.

In late September, cattle herds are also beginning their drift migration south from their summer pastures in the Upper Green. Some cattle move down on their own and other herds are pushed by cowboys on horseback and taken through the wildlife underpass just west of the overpass on US 191. Cattle collect in the sorting grounds just south of the wildlife overpass. The wildlife overpass is fenced to keep cattle from using it, however antelope can easily slip through the gates and fence.

The webcam also takes a snapshot of the Trapper’s Point historical marker just southwest of the wildlife overpass. That marker tells the story of the early 1800s fur trappers that came to the Upper Green River Valley and overlooks the location of several of the Green River Rendezvous gatherings that were held in the Green River Valley at the confluence of Horse Creek and the Green River just west of Trapper’s Point.

We’ve posted video clips of some of the animal crossings for both the current fall southern movement, which picked up in mid-September, and the latter part of the spring northern movement in April when Pinedale Online became the new administrators of the camera.

The wildlife webcam was original installed in 2012 by the Wildlife Conservation Society when the wildlife overpass was built. The webcam was part of a grant for their Path of the Pronghorn wildlife interpretive project, which included putting in a new highway interpretive pullout on US 191 about a mile east of the overpass, which was dedicated in April, 2016.

The Trapper’s Point Wildlife Overpass webcam can be found at www.trapperspoint.com. It may take up to a minute for the camera to first load on your computer. It uses satellite and cell phone technology to connect, thank you for your patience! When viewing, if your screen turns black after a bit, just move your mouse a little over the picture to reconnect to the cam. The software detects non-activity from your mouse and will disconnect you to save bandwidth from idle viewers. See the Video Archive page on the website for many more video clips of interesting views this year from the webcam.

Click here for more pictures: Wildlife Watching – Pronghorn are on the move again
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Pinedale Online welcomes sponsors for the Trapper’s Point Wildlife Overpass webcam. Sponsorship logos are $100/month which helps pay for the monthly cost of operating the camera so the data collection and video monitoring can continue. This information is extremely useful for wildlife biologists researching the seasonal movement patterns of antelope and deer as they migrate through the Trapper’s Point bottleneck area. For more information email support@pinedaleonline.com or call/text 307-360-7689 (anytime ok).


Legal battle over Wyoming's wolves (posted 9/26/16)
Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
The legal battle over management of wolves in Wyoming continues, with environmentalists arguing wolves should remain under federal protection, while state and federal officials maintain that it's time for wolves to be subject to state management.

A federal appeals court heard oral arguments last week on a lower court's decision overturning the delisting of wolves. A decision on the case isn't expected for several months.

Meanwhile, wolves in Wyoming remain under federal protection pursuant to the Endangered Species Act.

Check out the links below for more information.

Related Links:
Court arguments focus on buffer zone - WyoFile
Wolf Watch - by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!


Jackson wolf problems (posted 9/26/16)
Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
The Walton Ranch has problems with the Pinnacle Peak wolf pack, which dens on the National Elk Refuge, but has taken up residence and is killing cattle on the ranch's private property. There are at least 11 wolves in the pack, which is responsible for repeated cattle depredations. Jackson Hole News & Guide reporter Mike Koshmrl paid a visit to the ranch.

Learn the details at the links below.
Related Links:
Wolves living near pasture - Jackson Hole News & Guide
Growing wolf conflict - Jackson Hole News & Guide
Wolf Watch - by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!


New 2017 Wyoming specialty plates will feature Green River Lakes and Squaretop Mountain. Photo courtesy WYDOT.
New 2017 Wyoming specialty plates will feature Green River Lakes and Squaretop Mountain. Photo courtesy WYDOT.
WYDOT gears up for new specialty plate background (posted 9/24/16)
2017 plate will feature Green River Lakes and Squaretop Mountain
Wyoming Department of Transportation
The Wyoming Department of Transportation is temporarily putting a hold on new specialty and prestige plate applications from Sept. 24 through Oct. 1 to prepare for plates that will feature a new background.

Starting in 2017, the new plate design featuring the Lower Green River Lake and Squaretop Mountain will be on the state’s 12 specialty plates, the prestige plates and the standard plates motorists receive at the county when registering their vehicles.

WYDOT will stop accepting applications for the specialty and prestige plates featuring the Tetons on Sept. 24. WYDOT will then begin processing and accepting all new applications it has for specialty and prestige plates on Oct. 1.

Per Wyoming law, license plate designs change every eight years with the new design needing to be readily distinguishable from the previous design. All designs are required to have the bucking horse logo.

"The specialty plate fee is paid each time the plate is redesigned," said Debbie Lopez, manager of Motor Vehicle Services, adding that the fee is in addition to the annual vehicle fee paid at the county.

For instance, if someone applies for a new specialty or prestige plate that has the Tetons before Sept. 24, they will need to pay the fee again in 2017 to get the new plate design.

Drivers who want a specialty plate will complete the application at WYDOT and will pay the fee for that particular specialty plate. The Disabled Veteran plate is the only one not affected. Veterans who request a Disabled Veteran plate can continue to do so because this plate is free to the requester, but they must be a disabled veteran.

"We also contact our specialty plate customers within three to six months of their plate’s expiration to remind them to reorder their specialty plate," said Shannon DeGrazio, of WYDOT’s Motor Vehicle Services program. "All current specialty plate customers who reorder in 2017 will have the option of keeping their existing plate combinations."

Although motorists will be able to start applying for specialty plates in October, they won’t be able to put the new plate on until their current registration expires unless they pay in advance at the county for the extra months of registration.

Besides a new look, the prestige plates will now have a maximum of five letters or combination of five letters, numbers and spaces. In previous years, the maximum was four.

To view the guidelines for the prestige plates or to learn more about the specialty plates, visit WYDOT’s website at www.dot.state.wy.us.


Senator Enzi accepting nominees to military academies (posted 9/24/16)
Senator Enzi media release
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming, is accepting applications for nominations to the U.S. military service academies for the 2017 school year. Every year, Enzi gives Wyoming youth considering military careers the opportunity to apply for nomination to the Air Force Academy, the Merchant Marine Academy, the Military Academy at West Point and the Naval Academy.

"Military service academies provide outstanding opportunities to our nation’s youth through education and training. Attending one of these academies is a great way for our young men and women to serve our country, develop leadership skills and begin a career in military service," Enzi said. "I encourage anyone who is interested to apply."

For every vacancy available at each academy, Enzi is allowed to nominate 10 students. Nominations are based on an evaluation of leadership, extracurricular activities, SAT/ACT test scores and letters of recommendation. Based on the applicant’s interview with Enzi’s selection committee, applicants are recommended to Enzi for final approval. Following Enzi’s nomination, final appointments will be made by each academy.

All applicants for service academies require a Congressional nomination. Applications for a nomination are due to Enzi’s Cheyenne office by November 10th. Address: 2120 Capitol Ave. Ste. 2007 Cheyenne, WY 82007

Applicants will be interviewed in Senator Enzi’s Casper office on December 3rd and final nominees will be announced in late December.

The application, procedures and specific applicant criteria are available at enzi.senate.gov in "Academy Nominations" under the "Students" tab. For additional application information, contact Martha Wilson at (307) 772-2477 or Martha_Wilson@enzi.senate.gov.


Crisis Text Line available in Wyoming (posted 9/24/16)
Wyoming Department of Health
A newly available statewide Crisis Text Line will provide anonymous, continuous crisis support to Wyoming residents who may be in crisis and at risk of suicide.

Promoted by the Wyoming Department of Health, Grace For 2 Brothers Foundation, and the Prevention Management Organization, Crisis Text Line enables anyone with a mobile phone with SMS capability to access free support by texting WYO to 741-741.

"Many of our Wyoming neighbors who struggle sometimes with depression, bullying, substance abuse, relationship problems and suicidal thoughts feel they have no one to turn to," said Rhianna Brand, director of operations for Grace For 2 Brothers Foundation, a Cheyenne-based nonprofit focused on suicide prevention.

Brand noted that text messages offer a discreet, familiar and accessible form of communication available to most people.

Mikki Munson, community prevention specialist with the Prevention Management Organization, said the text line’s trained specialists with extensive training in crisis intervention provide emotional support to anyone in crisis, as well as safety planning and referrals.

"This partnership with the Crisis Text Line will connect someone in crisis to a counselor in their most critical time of need," Munson said. Munson also noted the anonymous data collected by the Crisis Text Line will help Wyoming work to improve prevention efforts and mental health resources.


Fall pile burning planned on the Bridger-Teton (posted 9/24/16)
Slash and wood debris piles from summer forest projects
Bridger-Teton National Forest
With the onset of colder temperatures and wetter conditions fast approaching in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Teton Interagency Fire crews will begin igniting piles of slash and wood debris created from fuels reduction projects, commercial timber sales, and fencing projects in the Big Piney and Pinedale Ranger Districts as early as September 26, 2016.

Piles to be ignited on the Pinedale Ranger District are located in the White Pine Ski Area on Skyline Drive, Sylvan Bay Summer Home Area, Fremont Lake Road, Fremont dump site, Boulder Lake Road, New Fork Lake campground and Boy Scout administrative site, and Elkhart Park. The Big Piney Ranger District piles are located on Bare Pass, Nylander, Kleinstick. This list is not comprehensive and additional areas with piles may be targeted for burning. Smoke will be visible in the vicinity of burning slash piles.

The material to be burned is the result of both timber sales and hazardous fuels reduction projects. These projects were implemented to provide greater defensible space and to lower the wildfire risk to homes and private property in the wildland urban interface. The fuel reduction projects have also created more open areas that will help moderate fire behavior during a wildfire increasing firefighter and public safety.

Slash piles are created by thinning and removing lower limbs from trees, as well as removing dead wood and brush from the forest floor. Firefighters place the slash in tepee-shaped piles and leave them to cure before burning them. Typically, piles are burned the year after they are created.

Teton Interagency Fire crews plan on burning the piles during or after significant moisture to decrease the risk of fire creeping away from ignited piles and to minimize heat produced by piles and effects to trees remaining in fuels treatment areas. Ignitions will cease early in the afternoon each day to allow piles and fuels to burn down prior to evening inversions and reduce smoke impacts to the area. All piles will be monitored until they are declared out.

For more information on prescribed fire, fuels reduction projects and defensible space, visit www.tetonfires.com or call the Pinedale Ranger District at 307-367-4326.


WPLI Field Trip Oct. 14 (posted 9/21/16)
Of Lake Mountain Wilderness Study Area
Wyoming Public Lands Initiative
The Wyoming Public Lands Initiative Sublette County Advisory Committee will conduct a field trip to the Lake Mountain Wilderness Study Area on October 14, 2016. Members of the public and stakeholders with an interest in the Lake Mountain Wilderness Study Area are invited to attend.

The Advisory Committee will meet members of the public at Obo’s Market in Marbleton/Big Piney at 9:00 AM on October 14, 2016. Transportation will not be provided.

The Lake Mountain Wilderness Study Area is in the south west portion of Sublette County, north of La Barge Creek County Road 23-138. Four wheel drive vehicles are advised for members of the public accompanying the Advisory Committee on the field trip.

On November 2, 2016 the Advisory Committee will hold a regularly scheduled meeting at the Marbleton Town Hall from 1:00 – 5:00 PM. After the regularly scheduled meeting on November 2, 2016 the Advisory Committee will hold a Town Hall meeting to discuss the field trip to the Lake Mountain Wilderness Study Area. The November 2, 1026 Town Hall meeting is scheduled for 5:30 – 7:00 PM in the Marbleton Town Hall. Members of the public and interested stakeholders are invited to attend both the regularly scheduled meeting of the Advisory Committee and Town Hall meeting.

Questions regarding the October 14, 2016 field trip or November 2, 2016 meetings should be directed to Bart Myers at (307) 367-4375 or bart.myers@sublettewyo.com.


WYDOT will study nighttime speed limit reduction (posted 9/20/16)
Wyoming Department of Transportation
WYDOT will begin the first of a few studies on the effectiveness of nighttime speed limit reductions on wildlife vehicle collisions in parts of Western Wyoming.

Wyoming continues to struggle with wildlife collisions every year on local highways and byways. Wildlife-vehicle collisions pose a serious problem to society with regard to human safety, wildlife mortality, habitat connectivity, and financial costs. In Wyoming, an average of 2,228 wildlife vehicle collisions were reported over the last three years, accounting for 15 percent of all reported collisions. These collisions often result in significant damage to vehicles, injure their occupants and are almost always lethal to the animal.

Mule deer account for more than 85 percent of all wildlife-vehicle collisions in Wyoming. WYDOT’s estimated costs per reported collision are $11,600 in injury and property damage costs and $4,000 in the unclaimed restitution value for each deer that is killed. Taken together, deer-vehicle collisions alone total approximately $24-29 million per year in Wyoming in injury and damage costs and an additional $20-23 million per year in wildlife costs (not including the potentially much higher number of actual lost deer since not all carcasses are retrieved).

In an effort to seek a cost-effective solution to combat these wildlife collisions, WYDOT is investigating the use of nighttime speed limit reductions. WYDOT will be conducting studies on specific stretches of state highways that have been statistically noted for their higher rate of wildlife vehicle collisions with deer.

"Ensuring a highway is safe involves mitigating, to the extent practical, hazards that exist within the right-of-way; in many areas of the state, this includes the presence of wildlife. Additionally, WYDOT recognizes the value of wildlife to the State of Wyoming both from a monetary and a resource perspective," District Engineer Keith Compton said.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation's Programming Research Advisory Committee has approved funding to study the effectiveness of nighttime speed limits on several stretches of highway in Western Wyoming. The first of these sections will be a 15-mile stretch of US 191 just south of Boulder to Pinedale.

"WYDOT plans to use the results of this study to help guide decisions on implementation of night time speeds in the future. We are looking at areas in which wildlife migration is evident as well as core winter range areas. The study should help us to know if the speed reduction is a viable alternative and in which situations it is most effective," Compton said.

Other areas will follow, including:

US 189 from La Barge to Big Piney, 23 miles

US 189 South near Lazeart Junction, 16 miles

US 30 from Kemmerer heading West, 10 miles

US 30 near Cokeville, 3 miles

US 191/189 near Warren Bridge, North of Daniel Junction, 7 miles

US 89 North of Evanston, 10 miles

Researchers will be taking into account seasonal migration patterns, driver behaviors and driver compliance with speeds. The study will take place over a period of three years, beginning this fall with the segment south of Pinedale.

"WYDOT is committed to doing this study correctly so that the results show the level to which the treatment was successful. The benefit here is that, if shown to be effective, this will be another tool in our toolbox to use to decrease wildlife-vehicle collisions and improve overall safety for the driver and animal," Compton said.

WYDOT is performing a similar study on WYO 390 near Jackson. That study will be finalized next spring.

WYDOT urges motorists to be conscientious of wildlife, obey all traffic signs and speed regulations and take extra precautions at night, being careful not to out-drive your head lights. For more information on road construction, closures and weather conditions, please visit http://www.wyoroad.info.


Fire restrictions lifted (posted 9/16/16)
Fire Danger lowered to Moderate
Teton Interagency Fire
Due to cooler temperatures and shorter days, Teton Interagency Fire Officials are lifting fire restrictions in on the Bridger-Teton National Forest and in Grand Teton National Park. Teton, Lincoln, and Sublette County remains in fire restrictions.

Although fire officials are reducing the fire danger rating to moderate and lifting fire restrictions on federal lands, significant moisture is still needed to reduce the potential for new starts and to limit ignitions from becoming larger fires. Warm dry weather is creating late season opportunities for recreationalists, while also prolonging the fire season.

Moderate fire danger means that fires can start from most accidental causes, but the number of fire starts is usually low. If a fire does start in an open, dry grassland, it will burn and spread quickly on windy days. Lower elevation grass and brush fuels are still volatile, prompting the decision for the counties to remain in fire restrictions.

"Campfires are a welcome addition during cool fall nights, but abandoned campfires can quickly escape as the day warms and afternoon winds develop," said Andy Norman, Fuels Specialist for the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

As a reminder, the following are year-round wildfire prevention restrictions are in place on all U.S. Forest and National Park Service lands in Wyoming:
• Abandoning or failing to fully extinguish a campfire;
• Discharging or using any fireworks;
• Discharging a firearm using incendiary or tracer ammunition.
• Burning, igniting, or causing to burn any tire, wire, magnesium, or any other hazardous or explosive material.
• Operating any off-road vehicle on public lands unless the vehicle is equipped with a properly installed spark arrester.

Though the Teton Interagency Officials have lifted these fire restrictions, caution is still advised when camping or any other activity that involves or could involve fire. Campfires remain a concern for fire officials, who are asking the public to build campfires away from material that easily could ignite, keep the fires small and make sure they are completely out before leaving. For more information, visit www.tetonfires.com.


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