Policy

Fire officials laud Gunbarrel effort

WAPITI – Though the Gunbarrel fire is not yet extinguished – its eastern flank is still smoldering – forest managers are already sharing lessons from the big blaze, saying it will serve as a model for fighting wildland fires next summer.

Started by lightning July 26, the fire covered more than 106 square miles in the Shoshone National Forest north of Highway 14-16-20 between Yellowstone National Park and Cody. It cost more than $11 million to manage.

Administrators let some fires burn as a natural means of clearing the forest of dead or dying timber, and the Gunbarrel is the largest such “beneficial use” fire ever allowed in the Rocky Mountains.

Oct. 3, 2008: Fire officials laud Gunbarrel effort

ALSO:
Aug. 2, 2009: Sprawling blaze cleared vast stands of dead trees

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Wyoming subdivision proposal draws skepticism

BASIN, Wyo. – In a scene that has played out thousands of times before across the West, a real estate developer faced pointed questions this week about plans for a housing development that would encroach on rural farmland.

This time, the proposed 137 tightly clustered homes weren’t part of suburban sprawl near Denver or Salt Lake City, but were planned for the wide-open spaces of Big Horn County.

“This is driven by the concept that you can preserve farmland while creating housing, instead of just taking the land and chopping it up,” said Bob Elliott, an organic cattle rancher seeking to subdivide his Dorsey Creek Ranch.

Feb. 16, 2006: Wyoming subdivision proposal draws skepticism

ALSO: More on planning and zoning in Big Horn County
Feb. 15, 2007: Big Horn tries to get handle on zoning plan
Feb. 15, 2007: Report outlines challenges in Big Horn County
Feb. 15, 2007: Big Horn County updates land-use plan

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North Fork growth at heart of Copperleaf

WAPITI – It wasn’t supposed to be like this. For the people who bought homes in scenic Wapiti, the elk were supposed to graze the hayfields along the river. The place might grow a little, gaining a house or two each year, but it wasn’t supposed to become the home for a gated, luxury community.

For the developers of the proposed community, two of whom live in Wapiti, it was supposed to be a chance to show the people along the North Fork what a modern, progressive subdivision could be. They wanted to be welcomed with open minds and open arms.

Things haven’t worked out the way either group had hoped.

Nov. 5, 2005: North Fork growth at heart of Copperleaf
Nov. 5, 2005: Fight for ‘heaven’
Nov. 6, 2005: Copperleaf developer gets high marks

ALSO: Latest updates on Copperleaf subdivision
March 21, 2010: Copperleaf foreclosure is possible
April 8, 2010: Supreme Court rules in Copperleaf case

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Officials critical of BLM’s secrecy

MEETEETSE, Wyo. — Elected officials working with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management say the agency’s policy of closed-door land-use planning sessions is preventing them from sharing substantive information with the public, and that details of their work will be disclosed only after key decisions have been made.

Some interest groups and individuals following the agency’s revision of resource management plans in the Bighorn Basin and other parts of the state say they feel shut out of the process.

BLM managers say that state and federal laws do not require them to open cooperator meetings to the public, and that the process is more productive when participants can speak freely, without fearing that their comments will be misconstrued or misrepresented.

Frustrations are rising among some participants as the process continues in counties across the state, with much at stake. Final plans will guide nearly every aspect of how millions of acres of public lands are managed, governing oil and gas development, off-road vehicle use, habitat management and more.

Jan. 27, 2010: Officials critical of BLM’s secrecy

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Ailing airlines ask Cody for subsidies

CODY – With a lingering recession forcing U.S. air carriers into survival mode, industry analysts say that small airports around the country face a growing struggle to maintain the level of air service seen during busier years.

In Cody, that means airlines that have often required no subsidy payments under revenue guarantee programs are seeking a combined total of $700,000, mostly in public funds, for winter service last year to Yellowstone Regional Airport.

“We think that air service is a huge component of a sustainable, year-round economy,” said state Sen. Hank Coe, chairman of the Cody-Yellowstone Air Service Organization, a volunteer group that works to maintain multiple airlines and flights operating at YRA.

While summer service is profitable without subsidies for both United Airlines and Delta Airlines, CYASO last year promised minimum winter revenues of $300,000 to Delta and $400,000 to United. The full amount is due to both airlines on Aug. 1.

July 9, 2009: Ailing airlines ask Cody for subsidies
July 9, 2009: Lost flights put squeeze on airports

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Cops negotiate range of factors in pulling trigger

CODY – Police in rural Wyoming train extensively for situations when they might have to shoot a suspect, but it is a relatively rare occurrence when they must put that training into practice.

Their decisions on when, why and how to use deadly force can have wide-reaching and long-lasting effects.

Police use of deadly force, or the chance of its use, has been highlighted for three Park County law enforcement agencies through a series of recent events.

May 26, 2007: Cops negotiate range of factors in pulling trigger

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Powell-owned fiber optic network under consideration

CODY – A deal nearing completion to bring a municipally owned fiber optic telecommunications network to Powell is being described by one backer as “the shot heard ’round the world,’ ” and Cody may be the next battleground.

Representatives from a Bighorn Basin telecommunications company and a Utah-based consulting firm say they are “very close” to closing a deal to privately finance a city-owned fiber network in Powell.

The Cody City Council meets Tuesday to learn about options for private and publicly owned networks similar to the one proposed for Powell.

But telecom giants Qwest and Bresnan Communications say there is no need in Cody or Powell for fiber to the home, and they question whether cities should become players in the competitive marketplace by owning a network.

June 2, 2007: Powell-owned fiber optic network under consideration

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Sylvan Pass debate centers on idea of risk

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – Five months after the Park Service announced plans to close Sylvan Pass to winter vehicles, many residents in Park County seem more determined than ever to see it kept open.

More than 500 people attended a forum in Cody in March, with almost all of those who spoke saying they opposed closing the pass.

And with three days remaining until another such meeting in Cody, critics of the plan say they have more questions now than when the process started.

They say park planners have overstated avalanche risks as a justification to close the pass in winter, and they point to what they see as inconsistencies in how avalanche risks are treated elsewhere in the park.

Yellowstone managers say no final decision on winter use has been made, and that employee and visitor safety is the paramount reason for the proposed closure.

May 12, 2007: Sylvan Pass debate centers on idea of risk

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Governors ponder future water demands

TETON VILLAGE – Governors of several Western states are looking to cooperate more with the federal government as well as officials in Canada and Mexico in tackling regional water shortages, while also focusing on conservation and new storage efforts.

Members of the Western Governors’ Association discussed water issues Monday in Jackson Hole, Wyo., as part of that group’s annual meeting.

The event concludes today after also covering wildlife, energy, power transmission and climate change.

In each of their states, the governors face growing populations, hotter climates and tighter water supplies.

And though they focused on interstate cooperation and regional planning, there was no denying the occasional conflict between neighbors over rivers that cross state lines.

June 30, 2008: Governors ponder future water demands
June 29: 2008: Wildlife corridor mapping supported

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