parks cool with hitchhiking, too

By Jim Stanford on March 15, 2013

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This likely qualifies as a safe and legal place to solicit a ride up north.

When I first reported about the passage of state Sen. Leland Christensen’s hitchhiking bill and subsequent signing by the governor, readers inquired whether the law would apply to federal lands and interstate highways.

Sen. Christensen said the change, which removed a prohibition on soliciting rides, definitely applies to interstates. He also said based on a conversation with Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk, he reasoned that the park would follow Wyoming law on the matter.

I followed up with Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs, and she researched the Code of Federal Regulations.

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Posted under Crime, Environment, Politics, Sports, Wyoming Legislature

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Snow King, Cache trails to reopen as fire fizzles

By Jim Stanford on September 21, 2012

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Flames consume a tree as firefighters set a back burn to contain the Little Horsethief Fire on Sept. 12. (Photo by Mike Johnston/USFS)

With the Little Horsethief Fire more than 90 percent contained, the Bridger-Teton National Forest has lifted the closure for Snow King and Cache Creek trails.

The Putt-Putt, Ferrin’s and Hagen trails will open up Cache Creek, and hikers and bikers may reach the Snow King summit via the main resort trail or Josie’s Ridge. Crystal Butte and Nowlin Peak also will reopen. The Elk Refuge Road has reopened to all traffic.

The cost of suppressing the fire has reached $7.9 million. Nearly two weeks after the fire began, allegedly in a backyard at the mouth of Wilson Canyon, investigators have not identified the cause.

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Posted under Environment, Ski Resorts, Sports

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fire impacting trails; cost at $2.8 million

By Jim Stanford on September 14, 2012

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Update 9/19: The cost of fire suppression has risen to $7.1 million.

A crew battles the Little Horsethief Fire earlier this week south of Jackson.

As the Little Horsethief Fire burns for a seventh day behind Snow King Mountain, the total number of personnel combating the blaze has swelled to nearly 600, and the cost has exceeded $2.8 million. The fire has burned 3,300 acres.

Bewilderingly, residents continue to set illegal burns. During last night’s community meeting, Sheriff Jim Whalen announced that an illegal burn had just been reported up Game Creek. A deputy was dispatched to cite the offender, the sheriff said.

Fire managers expect a little more activity from the blaze today, with breezes from the south and southwest. But efforts are focused on the southern flank above Game Creek; on the northern flank near Cache Creek, crews are mopping up and securing the control line.

Besides the obvious concern for homes in the vicinity of the blaze, residents have asked how the fire is affecting trails. The greater Snow King area, including Cache and Game creeks, is one of the most heavily used recreation areas in Wyoming, especially for hiking and mountain biking. Hunters and equestrians use the area as well. With 43 engines and two bulldozers assisting firefighting crews, there has been a significant impact on these trails.

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gear sale to honor Rando Steve

By Jim Stanford on June 15, 2012

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Steve Romeo died in an avalanche in March with friend Chris Onufer.

Steve Romeo lived to ski. He loved the mountains. And boy, did he love his gear that allowed him to ski, run and fish the Tetons.

The late ski mountaineer accumulated a Matterhorn’s worth of gear while working as assistant manager at Skinny Skis and running the satellite shop in Moose each summer. And in recent years, thanks to his blog, Teton AT, he received all sorts of free products for testing and promotion.

To honor his memory, friends and family are selling much of Romeo’s gear. The sale will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday (and Sunday, if any remains) at 3025 Aster Lane, just north of The Aspens and C–V Ranch on Highway 390.

Skis, boots, poles, bindings, clothing, packs, ice axes, helmets, tents and sleeping bags will be available. There also will be waders and fishing gear, other climbing accessories and a wide assortment of running shoes.

Proceeds will benefit the Steve Romeo Memorial Fund, which his family hopes to use for youth skiing/mountaineering scholarships or conservation.

Rando Steve would want us all well equipped. This way, we can carry his spirit into the mountains with us on our next adventure.

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will zip lines save Snow King?

By Jim Stanford on May 10, 2012

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Earlier this year, a prospective buyer signed a nonbinding letter of intent to purchase Snow King Resort. The resort was negotiating with the buyer, said to be JMI, a development company based in San Diego.

For weeks I’ve been hearing — via tips from readers — that Snow King Resort has been or is nearing a deal to be sold. Managing partner Manuel Lopez has been typically coy, either denying rumors or not responding to calls.

This week Lopez did reveal plans for more recreational amenities on the mountain, including two zip lines, yurts, some sort of roller coaster, a ropes course and bike park.

The News&Guide reports: “The plan to keep the ski hill financially viable focuses on five areas: an activity center near the hotel, a camp near the top of the Rafferty lift, a gateway into the property at the corner of Cache Street and Snow King Avenue, a yurt area on the south side of the mountain and another activity area at the summit.”

While it is heartening to hear the resort aims to honor its commitment to providing recreational facilities — after initially seeking to divest itself of the ski area while selling the hotel and development rights — this latest plan is a bit of a head scratcher.

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Posted under Economy, Environment, Politics, Ski Resorts, Sports, Town Government

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