Trust seals Hoback deal

By Jim Stanford on January 2, 2013

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The deal ensures that the Hoback headwaters will be saved.

The Trust for Public Land announced today it has raised the $8.75 million needed to buy drilling leases and protect 58,000 acres of the Wyoming Range south of Jackson from oil and gas development.

The deal ensures that fracking will not occur in some of the headwaters of the Hoback River, and up to 136 wells will not be drilled in a pristine area prized for hunting, fishing, hiking and horseback riding.

The trust had been racing a Dec. 31 deadline to raise the necessary funding, which will be paid to Plains Exploration and Production of Houston, the company that owned the drilling rights.

“I can’t think of a better way to start off the New Year. This solution honors the wishes of the people of Wyoming and protects a vital corner of Greater Yellowstone for generations to come,” said Will Rogers, TPL president and CEO.

The largest donation came from Hansjörg Wyss, a Wilson homeowner who contributed $4.25 million through his charitable foundation. Joe Ricketts, the TD Ameritrade founder and part owner of the Chicago Cubs who owns a home near Bondurant, gave $1.75 million, including an eleventh-hour gift of $750,000 that pushed the campaign across the finish line, the trust said in a release.

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plan future of BLM parcels on Snake

By Jim Stanford on November 8, 2012

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The stretch of the Snake between Wilson and South Park contains several BLM parcels prized for recreation. Click to enlarge.

Tonight Jackson-Teton County Parks and Recreation and the Snake River Fund will host an open house to help plan the future of BLM parcels along the Snake.

The open house is from 5 to 7 p.m. at the 4-H building, 255 W. Deloney Ave., adjacent to Miller Park. The county will present results of its user survey, along with maps and projected timelines for improving the Wilson and South Park access points. Representatives from WyDOT, Wyoming Game and Fish, Bridger-Teton National Forest and outfitters also will participate.

The decision over how to manage the Snake between Wilson and South Park is likely to be contentious. Already, John Wasson and other river advocates have called for limiting commercial use on the 13-mile stretch, while outfitters have drafted their own management plan.

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Wyo. Range, Hoback saved from drilling threat

By Jim Stanford on October 5, 2012

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Members of the Jackson Hole Kayak Club display their opposition to the drilling proposal for the Hoback headwaters last year. American Rivers included the Hoback on its list of America’s most endangered waterways.

Hunters, hikers, kayakers and anglers are about to celebrate, as a conservation group has reached a deal to buy the last remaining oil and gas leases in the Wyoming Range south of Jackson.

A source last night said the drilling company finally agreed to sell the leases, ensuring that the pristine mountain range and headwaters of the Hoback River will be spared fracking and other development. The Associated Press confirmed the deal this morning. A full press release appears after the jump.

The Trust for Public Land will purchase the leases from Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production Co. for $8.75 million, AP reported. The group still must raise half the money by the end of the year.

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bureau to cut dam releases early

By Jim Stanford on September 13, 2012

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The Snake below Deadman’s Bar.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will reduce flows out of Jackson Lake Dam into the Snake River a week early, starting Sept. 24.

Water managers will make cuts incrementally, lowering the release from 2,100 cubic feet per second to 300 cfs by Sept. 29. Usually, the bureau begins cutting back water Oct. 1.

The change was not entirely unexpected, given the drought across the West and the bureau’s overarching goal of storing as much water as possible in the Jackson Lake reservoir, to safeguard against continued drought next season.

Scenic rafting operators likely will end their season a little earlier than planned. In 2011, after the third-highest runoff in the last 100 years, there was enough water in the Snake, even as releases were reduced, for rafting companies to run trips through the first week of October.

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in memoriam: Elizabeth McCabe

By Jim Stanford on June 26, 2012

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Liz McCabe points an ATV downhill from the Barker-Ewing camp following the 2007 Legends of the Snake event, when she was a spry 96 years old.

Despite her age and recent illness, it was sad to hear Friday of the passing of News&Guide co-publisher Elizabeth McCabe. One hoped that against all odds she would continue to buck infirmity and make it back onto the Snake River for one last fly fishing trip.

Diminutive in size, McCabe, 101, was a giant in the publishing business, a shutter-clicking bon vivant whose life was a testament to the virtues of drinking red wine and floating the river for longevity. Even in death she led by example, as the News&Guide announced in today’s Daily that per her wishes there would be no memorial service.

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