By Jim Stanford on April 1, 2013
Unwilling to budge on spending cuts, Wyoming’s congressional delegation announced today a new plan to turn Yellowstone National Park into a dystopic battleground in which public land managers will fight to the death for funding.
Grand Teton superintendent Mary Gibson Scott and YNP chief Dan Wenk will compete in Hunger Games: Yellowstone, along with Scott Guenther, head of the Jenny Lake rangers, National Elk Refuge manager Steve Kallin and Cheryl Probert, acting Bridger-Teton National Forest supervisor.
U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis held a lavish bash at Four Seasons to announce the contest, attended by hundreds of oil and gas industry executives. Lummis hailed the plan as necessary belt tightening in a time of economic austerity.
“Instead of blindly filling desks, these bureaucrats will expose themselves to feel what wretches feel, and show the heavens more just,” she said.
Sen. John Barrasso said Yellowstone’s 3,500 square miles will serve as the perfect venue for the competition. Flesh-hungry grizzly bears and wolves will add extra drama as land managers engage one another in an atavistic struggle, against a backdrop of steaming geysers and bubbling mud pots. Barrasso has signed a deal with Fox News to broadcast the contest.
Jeff Golightly, director of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, expressed disappointment that the games won’t be held in neighboring Grand Teton park, which would have filled more hotel rooms in a typically slow time of year. But he and Mayor Mark Barron were already busy rounding up sponsorships from local businesses for the participants.
For her part, Gibson Scott said she was unafraid of the challenge. Jackson realtor Tim Mayo might be thrown into the games as a sacrifice. “I have one mission, and that is to protect Grand Teton National Park,” Scott said, after launching an arrow into the neck of a deer along a closed section of the Moose-Wilson Road.
Concerned that Teton County residents might rally behind one or more of the public lands managers, Barrasso and Lummis have turned to their overlord, Dick Cheney, to devise torture methods for the competitors, should the natural survival challenges not be enough.
“Do not give them hope,” Cheney said.