Check out the Dayton Art Loop Studio Tour

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Check out the Dayton Art Loop Studio Tour — Saturday, November 19, from 10-4 in beautiful Dayton, WY.

An annual showcase of the many artists and artisans in beautiful & quaint Dayton, Wyoming!

  • Raffle for a basket of items donated by participants (proceeds benefit our local art scholarship), as well as a door price drawn from people who visit each stop on the map.
  • New to this year’s tour will be David & Donna McDougall’s new gallery — Painted Skull Studio — located at the historical Hans Kleiber residence in Dayton.
  • Noted local artist Alice Fuller is also back in the tour.  She’ll be showing in her studio just outside Dayton.  Don’t miss this stop!
  • Gallery on Main will host a variety of local artists as well as sweet treats, lunch and beverages, and Tongue River Valley Community Center will host lunch and a bazaar, as well as Iris Sorensen’s award-winning Lakota dolls and dance sticks. Iris’ husband Kevin will show his woodwork there as well. Barb Sellar will have new items at Dog Paw Pottery.
  • The Art Loop is a perfect place to pick up unique gifts by local artists!
  • Sonja Caywood will be celebrating her brand new studio addition, at 317 2nd Ave W!  “More than 4 people will fit inside my studio now,” Sonja adds. “So bring a friend!”  

Watch for signs and pick up a map to enter in the door prize drawing.

Fall Colors with Steve Stanze


I was up in Laramie, Wyoming last weekend visiting my grandparents with my sister. We came up to visit them for two weeks when we were kids and wanted to relive some of the memories. Saw a mama moose and two babies right off a trail in Vedauwoo and caught the beautiful scenery in the Snowy Range Mountains.

–Steve Stanze, St. Louis

*(Thanks, Steve!)*

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Big Horn Basin Folk Festival – Catch it this August 6-7 in Thermopolis!

WY Public Radio third blockresized 2016 festival ad

click on the image above for a full list of Big Horn Basin Folk Festival Events & Details!

“Hear Me Now” — Wyoming Storytellers Take Spotlight

By Ellen Sue Blakely

Images provided by Hot Springs Greater Learning Foundation

For a full schedule of presenters during “Hear Me Now” Storytelling Circle, August 6-7, see Other weekend events include the Gift of the Waters Pageant Days, Kiwanis Craft Fair and the Big Horn Basin Folk Festival, with music performances all day, demonstrators, workshops, food vendors, juried art show & sale and kid-friendly activities.

When we were kids and all the cousins gathered for the annual Fourth of July ice cream and watermelon feast, our great aunt Kate kept all of us in line by expounding on a “haint” she called “Rawhide and bloody bones.” For years, we assumed Aunt Kate had made up this scary haunt of a creature.

It turns out that Kate had borrowed and adapted “Rawhide” from an Irish tale — probably one she had heard as a child from her grandparents who had come from the Emerald Isle. Aunt Kate is long gone; but, to this day, her scary rendition still brings chills and laughter to the now-aging cousins.

That’s the power of story. If you have ever sat around a campfire and told (or listened to) ghost stories or tall tales, you know its spell. Those who study stories as an art form say telling stories is the oldest art form; and from it grew poetry — rhyming was a way of remembering a longer story.

Although there has not been an organized effort at preserving Wyoming’s stories in recent years, our people have always been inveterate storytellers. Mountain men told plenty of whoppers when they gathered at the fur-trading rendezvous. Music and storytelling were common in the Native American tipis, cowboy bunkhouses, farmhand shacks and homestead cabins. It still is. Given half a chance, today’s outfitters, hunters and fishermen will regale listeners with tales about the “ones that got away.”

This year, Wyoming is taking a step to share our long-standing storytelling tradition at “Hear Me Now,” the state’s first organized Storytelling Circle. (The concept of a “storytelling circle” harks back to those days of campfires and tipis.) The event is part of the Big Horn Basin Festival, August 6-7, 2016, in Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis. “Hear Me Now” is sponsored by Hot Springs Greater Learning Foundation with a ThinkWyoming grant from the Wyoming Humanities Council. Additional support comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund and Wyoming Arts Council.


“Hear Me Now” will be moderated by Spencer Bohren, nationally known musician and storyteller. Although Bohren now lives in New Orleans, Wyomingites still claim him as their own since he grew up in Casper, and his family still lives and plays music there. Bohren maintains strong ties with the state, presenting educational programs in the schools and public performances in Wyoming communities throughout the year.

Professional storytellers telling tales throughout the day are Michelle King, Basin; Catherine Ringler, Powell; Marilyn Braaten, Thermopolis, and Jennisen Lucas, Cody. The group recently formed the Big Horn Basin Storytelling Guild to promote the art of storytelling.

Echo Klaproth, Shoshoni, former Wyoming poet laureate, and Dick Hall, Thermopolis, cowboy poet, will bring poetry into the tent. Mike Hurwitz, who will be performing at the Big Horn Basin Folk Festival during the weekend, will drop by with his own brand of Western stories. Karl Milner, who specializes in mountain man skills, will add a story or two from the mountain man era. Annie Hatch, Wyoming Arts Council folk arts specialist, will give a bit of historical perspective on the art of Wyoming storytelling. Miss V, sometimes called “The Gypsy Cowbelle,” will talk about her adventures homesteading in Wyoming.

As a special feature, Spencer Bohren will perform his nationally acclaimed “Down the Dirt Road Blues,” 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m., Sunday, August 7, in the Storytelling Tent. Bohren uses historic music instruments as he tells how one song moved from its African roots to blues to rock and roll.

“Hear Me Now” is free and of interest to all ages. Visitors can “come sit a spell” and — if you are so inclined — you can even add your own tales — true or otherwise — during the open microphone opportunities.

After all, if you don’t tell your favorite story, who will?

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Ellen Sue Blakey of Thermopolis is a textile artist, rug braider, author, musician and occasional storyteller. You can hear and see her story about rug braiding and Depression-era women on youtube. If you attend the Storytelling Circle, look her up, say the magic words “Uncle Charlie”; she may just tell you the story of Charlie, the sheriff’s hat, a blackberry pie, and how he came to Wyoming.


EXPLORE WYOMING: Mountain View Hotel, Centennial


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On April 1, Levi & I were treated to a night at the Mountain View Hotel, a historic establishment in Centennial, just about 30 miles west of Laramie on US Highway 130. Due to our crazy lifestyle with our businesses, we weren’t able to make it until later that Friday evening. However, the owners, Kat & Mike, were kind to us and showed us around, regardless of the hour – part of that Wyoming hospitality that they literally offer around the clock.

Fine hospitality at the Mountain View Hotel isn’t a new phenomenon, but it is something Kat & Mike are proud to continue. Opened in time for the June 4, 1907 arrival of the Laramie Plains, Hahn’s Peak Railroad opening, the establishment was dedicated in a “golden spike” ceremony. Painted white with black trim and built at a cost of $8,000 at the time, it boasted 20 guest rooms, a dining room and a “most improved system of plumbing” – never mind that the bathrooms ended up in the stables. Today, you can find the historic register books and china in the nearby Nici Self Museum.


The hotel has received a lovely face lift by Kat & Mike, and its rooms and suites include a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch, coffee roaster and espresso bar. Kat & Mike showed us the suites that make a great stay for a small group, and work well for snowmobilers, hunters, summer vacationers… We discussed how the hotel also makes a great stay for wedding parties getting married in the Snowies – many groups rent the entire hotel for their wedding party to enjoy historic accommodations prior to the big day.

Our room was the Mountain Sage Room, a comfy space with two queen beds and a beautiful en suite bathroom. I had to grab many pictures of the eye-catching antiqued ceiling. We settled in with snacks and a late night Myth Busters marathon, and ended the night soaking in the peaceful silence that I remembered from nighttimes of living in the Snowies as a kid.

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In the morning, the room had a lovely sunlight glow and still remained peacefully quiet. I prefer to wake up to a good book, especially on the weekends, so I grabbed my Doris Kearns Goodwin The Bully Pulpit (a great read if you like presidential – or just Victorian – history like I do!) and waited for Levi to wake up. Meandering downstairs, the smell of freshly roasted coffee greeted us and Levi, our family java hound, made a beeline for the espresso bar while I thanked Kat for a great & peaceful night’s stay. Families of snowmobilers were enjoying breakfast in the quaint restaurant, and since we had to rush back as we had a full day of parties with our Laramie bounce house business, I eyed their plates greedily and noticed everyone was having a good meal. There were lots of options for Levi when it came to his coffee, and he went for black with a little extra milk to go. The early spring sunshine was bright and there were still hints of snow – winter season adventure may have been winding down, but you wouldn’t have known it to see the cars with skis and snowmobiles go swishing by through Centennial on their way to the Snowies and Snowy Range Ski Area.

If you’re heading to Laramie or Saratoga to partake in the beauty of the Snowies or enjoy Laramie Jubilee Days, you must make a stay at Mountain View Hotel high on your priority list. After all, if you’re right there and adventuring, you’ll want to fall into a comfy bed that’s nearby and enjoy fresh Joe in the morning. Why not do all that with a little history besides? And when you’re there, be sure to take the hop, skip and jump across the highway to the Nici Self Museum and learn the history of the area. Gold star for those who can email us and let us know where the village got its start and its intriguing name …

Til the Next Adventure …

Kati Hime, Editor

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Curiosity Shoppe JPEGCody Chamber Sprinter 2016

We’d love to share your Wyoming adventure! Whether it’s a trip, an annual adventure, if you’re from out of state or a Wyoming native, we want to share! Email or message our Facebook page to share your adventure for our blog series!

What’s Your Wyoming Adventure?

from Tyler Halford

Star Valley native now living in Kentucky


Our annual camping trips consists of five Star Valley High graduates, one from 2000, one from 2001, and three from 2002, all five now married with children. To date, it has just been the 5 of us who attend, no children or wives (sounds mean but it just wouldn’t be the same!). It started in the summer of 2007 but we didn’t have intentions then of making it an annual event. Our first annual was in Star Valley and hardly consisted of “camping,” though we did sit around a fire. In 2008 we again met in Star Valley, though again it was mostly just sitting around a camp fire in town. Even though none of us live in Star Valley anymore, we all five have commuted back each year. I’ve come as far as Kansas for two annuals and Kentucky for four of them! We decided for the 3rd annual we’d make it more of a camping trip — so for the 3rd and 4th annuals we camped in Swift Creek campground just outside Afton. The 5th-9th annuals were all legitimately remote camping, all up Grey’s River, staying mostly at Forest Service guard stations.

Our activities primarily entail hunting ground squirrels, fishing, and hiking to various lakes along the Grey’s Range. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to see a wolf on one occasion and two wolverines on another occasion — most Wyoming natives have lived around but never seen wolverines.

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These camping trips are beyond memorable and cherished. As I mentioned, living in Kansas and Kentucky for a combined six years didn’t stop me from making them happen. They’re the most memorable experiences I’ve had outside of raising a family.

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WYO AG: National Ag Day Shout Out to Sims Sheep Company, Evanston

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Sims Sheep Company — Evanston & Lyman

Leather-n-Lace Photography, Evanston

Lacee & Shaun Sims are good, kind people that are part of the family owned & operated Sims Sheep Company of Evanston & Lyman — Lacee is also a photographer who owns Leather-n-Lace Photography in Evanston. For a National Ag Day shout out (which we just barely missed on March 15!), we wanted to share a few glimpses into their everyday life ….

About the Sims Sheep Company … Within this company, you’ll find the most prolific and hardy range sheep in North America.  Among the breeds found on the ranch are Purebred Targhee and Targhee-Fin Cross Rams. Sims Sheep Company raises Feeder Lambs, Ewe Lambs, and Range Sheep.  The Ranch embodies a conservationist spirit, using sustainable farming and grazing methods.  The land hosts a variety of animal species which provides excellent Elk, Deer, Antelope, and Game Fowl hunting.  The ranch is family owned and operated and boasts a heritage of over 100 years of family ranching.

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SKI WYOMING: Culinary Digs at 2 Wyoming Resorts

If you’re on the western side or the eastern side of our square state, you are in luck! There are two family-friendly resorts which both boast a variety of trail levels, recreational options …and great food!

From White Pine Ski Area — Pinedale:

White Pine

You’re invited…to come sit on our deck

From Thursday through Sunday, come GLIDE, SLIDE or SHRED down our slopes then head up to our deck. Bill Webb our backcountry/outfitter chef, has been cooking outdoors for his guests for nearly 40 years. Imagine delicious sweet Italian sausages or pork and veal bratwurst, crafted to perfection by smoking over wood and sage embers, then dropped into a warmed Panini and splattered with a mix of grilled onions and peppers. Add a dash of whole grain mustard and ketchup for a launch pad into 2016.

Ready to eat from noon, just $10 for a Bratwurst and a (domestic) beer or non alcoholic beverage.
White Pine – where there’s no room for anything but fun.
Slide down our new tubing hill ($20 or $24 for 8 rides)
Catch some air in our new terrain park
All are invited to participate in the torch light parade on New Year’s Eve.
We have foam covered LED light sticks to give away
Ride up on Little Spirit at 5:30pm – parade down at 6pm
Come and watch – it is a great way to bring in the new year.

From Snowy Range Ski Area — Centennial (near Laramie):

Snowy Range SA Brewery


Snowy Range Terrain Park

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Snowy Range will be open throughout the holidays. Lifts open are open 9am – 4pm everyday. The tubing is also open for extended holiday hours!

Check out their Snowy Range Brewery onsite, and the Terrain Park!


EXPLORE WYOMING: National Bighorn Sheep Center, Dubois

There are so many wonderful gems in our square state that are wonderful places to explore! If a Wyoming vacation is on your travel plans for this year, be sure to consider heading to Dubois – where the opportunities are endless for great recreation! The National Bighorn Sheep Center is just one wonderful place you must visit while you’re there. We enjoyed reading their end of year e-blast so much that we wanted to share their news with all our readers too …

Visit the National Bighorn Sheep Center in Dubois Online

From the National Bighorn Sheep Center …

Happy Holidays!

We thank you for your support, whether as a member, visitor, volunteer or partner organization of the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Association. You have helped make 2015 one of the best years yet for visitation to the Center and participation in our new programs and events. Check out a few photos and highlights from 2015 below.

Please consider a year-end gift to support our work in 2016. You can donate here. With your special gift of $25, $50 or $100, we’ll be educating more youth, offering new programs and supporting stewardship of our favorite wild critter, the bighorn.
Our Heroes

We want to recognize a few of our amazing volunteers who help make the magic happen here at the National Bighorn Sheep Center. Whether it’s Boyd Livingston who consistently plows our parking lot after a big snowstorm or Bill and Lori Sincavage and Karen and Mike McCullough who lend their expertise with our database, Bighorn Bash and agency research assistance, these volunteers are the backbone of our organization. Just to name a few others, Morgan Nimtz of SOAR has been a fabulous volunteer who helped display our new “Fred Bicksler” photo exhibit in the Ron Ball Gallery and spruced up our desert bighorn habitat. Additionally, Laney Hicks, Cheryl O’Brien and Carolyn Gillette have been sharing great insights and expertise for our education and communications committee efforts. Our Board of Directors made up of Mark Hinschberger, Bruce Thompson, Kathy Treanor,Mary Ann Eastman, Trudy Trevarthen and Brandon Houckare also volunteers who pitch in to lend their expertise, time and vision to our organization.

We’d especially like to say THANK YOU to our outgoing Board President Mark Hinschberger. Mark has been involved with the Bighorn Sheep Center for its entire 23 years, whether as the Forest Service Biologist with the Whiskey Mountain Technical Committee in the earlier years or as THE go-to guy for all things Bighorn Bash-related (our annual fundraiser). The organization is what it is today in large part due to Mark’s leadership, passion and commitment. We thank you, Mark for all you have done for the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Association and for bighorns!!

Thank you ALL for your commitment and hard work helping us do the important job of educating the public about bighorns! Please see a few highlights of our great volunteers below, and if you’re interested in lending a hand with upcoming projects and events, contact us today.

Outgoing Board President, life member and bighorn extraordinaire Mark Hinschberger sharing some insights and great views atop Torrey Rim during our September 2015 "Where Bighorns Roam" tour (photo courtsey of Sara Domek).
Outgoing Board President, life member and bighorn extraordinaire Mark Hinschberger sharing some insights and great views atop Torrey Rim during our September 2015 “Where Bighorns Roam” tour (photo courtsey of Sara Domek).
Volunteer, member and committee member Carolyn Gillette visits with volunteer/life member Lynn Stewart and member Mark Domek during the June 2015 Bighorn Rendezvous event at the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center (photo courtesy of Bruce S. Thompson).
Volunteer, member and committee member Carolyn Gillette visits with volunteer/life member Lynn Stewart and member Mark Domek during the June 2015 Bighorn Rendezvous event at the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center (photo courtesy of Bruce S. Thompson).
Participants hoof it up the hills outside of Dubois to visit an ancient Sheepeater Indian bighorn trapping site during our August outing co-hosted with the Dubois Museum (NBSIA photo).
Participants hoof it up the hills outside of Dubois to visit an ancient Sheepeater Indian bighorn trapping site during our August outing co-hosted with the Dubois Museum (NBSIA photo).
Education is what we are all about! Administrative Assistant Monie Finley shares information about the four North American wild sheep species with a group of students visiting the Center from China.
Education is what we are all about! Administrative Assistant Monie Finley shares information about the four North American wild sheep species with a group of students visiting the Center from China.
Member and Bighorn Bash donor Tom Lucas crafting a traditional bighorn horn bow in his Dubois studio (photo courtesy of the Dubois Frontier).
Member and Bighorn Bash donor Tom Lucas crafting a traditional bighorn horn bow in his Dubois studio (photo courtesy of the Dubois Frontier).
Volunteers Katrina and Luke Schueneman lend a hand during our 2015 Bighorn Rendezvous event held at the Bighorn Sheep Center (photo courtesy of Bruce S. Thompson).
Volunteers Katrina and Luke Schueneman lend a hand during our 2015 Bighorn Rendezvous event held at the Bighorn Sheep Center (photo courtesy of Bruce S. Thompson).
Charter members Budd Betts, Boyd Livingston and Carol Petera enjoy the sunshine and one another's company during the 2015 Bighorn Rendezvous event (photo courtesy of Bruce S. Thompson).
Charter members Budd Betts, Boyd Livingston and Carol Petera enjoy the sunshine and one another’s company during the 2015 Bighorn Rendezvous event (photo courtesy of Bruce S. Thompson).




Bill Sniffin: My Wyoming


MY WYOMING — by Bill Sniffin

Smoky times remind of state’s worst fires


As I write this, the beautiful view of the Wind River Mountains out of my window is obscured.  It is so smoky we are leaving our windows shut because it smells like a brush fire a short distance away.

In this case, that brush fire is 1,000 miles away.  Northern California and parts of Oregon and Washington are burning up.

This smoke is covering up towns all over Wyoming especially in the Big Horn Basin and Wind River Basin.

It is hard to find a city or town from Cheyenne to Evanston or Powell to Gillette in which smoke has not dominated the view. At least the sunsets and sunrises have been magnificent!

Here in Lander, we enjoyed one clear day between all the smoke from the northwest to local smoke from the Little Bob fire on the Wind River Indian Reservation.  They are letting it burn and it is over 1,500 acres and growing.

These ash clouds also remind of a time 27 years ago when Yellowstone National Park literally burned up. Here is what I recall of that event:

Is this hell?  Or is it Yellowstone? That was my exact thought as I piloted a small, single engine airplane over the vast expanse of Yellowstone National Park the first week of September, 1988, during the horrible fires that year.

Flying with me on that day was Larry Hastings, one of the best pilots and instructors in Wyoming history.  Also along and helping take photos was Mike McClure, a legend in his own right, as a premier photographer.

Both men lived in Lander. We had been talking about making this flight for some time.

It was my bright idea.  We had seen TV coverage of the fire but no one seemed to have a good aerial view.  I always want to figure out a way to take a big picture in the easiest way possible and flying over the park seemed the best plan.

Hastings was aware of the altitude restrictions, which caused us to be quite high as we flew over the world’s oldest national park while it was literally burning up.

The view was both impressive and unimpressive.  It was impressive because as far as the eye could see was smoke.  It was unimpressive because it was impossible to make out landmarks.  Not even the mountains were very visible.

What was visible were a large number of hotspots where fire would shoot 200 feet in the air.  It was hot down there.  The park I loved was going to be changed forever.

That event two and half decades ago was unprecedented in the history of the National Park Service.  There were contrasting programs of fire suppression and “controlled burns” in place, which caused the people responsible for the park’s existence to be incapable of dealing with the conflagration.

Cities and towns in a wide circle around the park enjoyed the most colorful sunsets in history.  Lander, which is a two-hour drive southeast from YNP, the evening views were unprecedented.  It was an awful time for folks with respiratory problems.  No wind and no rain could relieve these conditions.

Fighting the fires in 1988 cost $120 million which is $230 million in today’s dollars – almost a quarter of a billion dollars. It covered some 800,000 acres or over one third of the park.

Biggest fire was the North Fork fire, which was started July 22 by a cigarette dropped by a man cutting timber in the neighboring Targhee National Forest.

One of the most amazing scenes of this fire was when embers from it were sent airborne across the massive Lewis Lake by 80 mph winds setting new fires on the other side of the lake.

This complex of fires burned 140,000 acres and was finally extinguished when some welcome rains fell later that fall.

Stories about other parts of the park and the valiant effort of more than 13,000 firefighters, 120 helicopters and other aerial devices, plus National Guard and civilians detail bravery but were to no avail.  Important structures like Old Faithful Inn and the Lake Hotel were saved but efforts to stop the fires proved to be impossible.

Mother Nature wanted that fire to burn and it did until she was ready to put it out.

And that memorable day 27 years ago we were flying above a scene right out of Dante’s Inferno. I experienced a memory that I would both like to forget and yet, always recall.


Check out Bill Sniffin’s columns at  He is a longtime Wyoming journalist from Lander who has written six books. His newest is Wyoming at 125, which is coming out in September. His books are available at


FROM THE PARKS: Fourth Graders Welcome at GTNP!



Grand Teton National Park Welcomes Fourth-Grade Students

New Program Encourages Families and Classes to Visit National Parks

MOOSE, WY — Grand Teton National Park invites all fourth-grade students to visit the park for free as part of the White House’s new Every Kid in a Park program. Fourth-grade students can visit to complete an activity and obtain a voucher for a free annual entry pass to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas and lands, including national parks.

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela said, “We invite all fourth graders and their families, as well as fourth-grade classes, to the park to discover, learn and have fun.” Vela said one of the goals of the program is to connect young people with the great outdoors.

To receive a voucher for their free pass for national parks, fourth graders can visit the Every Kid in a Park website and play a game to access their special voucher. Fourth graders and their families can then obtain a pass for free entry to national parks and other federal public lands and waters across the country from now through August 31, 2016.  The website also includes fun and engaging learning activities aligned to educational standards, trip planning tools, safety and packing tips and other important and helpful information for educators and parents.

In addition to providing every fourth grader in America a free entry pass for national parks and federal public lands and waters, fourth grade educators, youth group leaders and their students can participate in the program through field trips and other learning experiences.

Grand Teton National Park offers a “Weather Wonders” snow science field trip for fourth-grade classes and geology field trips in the fall and spring.  The distance-learning program “Snow Desk” broadcasts live to schools around the country during the winter.

Park personnel will be at Colter Elementary in Jackson Hole to share information at the fourth-grade parents’ night on Wednesday, September 16 from 6-7 p.m. Other schools and fourth-grade teachers that are interested in the program should contact Megan Kohli at or call 307-739-3656.

Information about additional educational opportunities with Grand Teton National Park such as curriculum materials, field trips, traveling trunks, distance learning and more is available at

The goal of the Every Kid in a Park program is to connect fourth graders with the great outdoors and inspire them to become future environmental stewards, ready to preserve and protect national parks and other public lands for years to come.  The program is an important part of the National Park Service’s centennial celebration in 2016, which encourages everyone to Find Your Park.

Every Kid in a Park is a government-wide effort, launched by President Obama, and supported by eight federal agencies, including the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Education, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

WY Beef Summer WLM 2015


NEWS FROM THE PARKS: Nuisance Black Bear with Cub Captured & Relocated to Zoo

Nuisance Black Bear with Cub Captured & Relocated to Zoo

From National Park Service

MOOSE, WY — On Wednesday afternoon, August 19, Grand Teton National Park biologists captured a female black bear and her cub that on numerous occasions acquired human food items left unattended by visitors to the String, Leigh, and Jenny Lake areas.  Due to a long history of nuisance behavior, this bear and her cub were removed from the park and relocated to the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Saturday, August 22. The decision to remove the bears from the park was made out of concern for public safety.

On Friday afternoon, August 14, park rangers hazed the adult black bear away from the String Lake picnic area. The two bears then ventured into the Teton backcountry where, later that weekend, the mother black bear was photographed tearing into a backpack and stomping on a tent at a backcountry campsite in her search for food.

Once captured, the female was identified as one that has gotten into coolers, backpacks, picnics, trash bags, and tote bags in search of human food on 17 occasions between 2012 and 2014. This behavior indicated the bear had become conditioned to associate humans with food. She was teaching her young cub that same undesirable behavior. Park managers welcomed the opportunity to relocate both of these bears to the same zoo as the alternative would have likely included separation of the cub from its mother and euthanization of the adult.

It is worth noting that failure by park visitors—including local residents—to properly secure food items and other scented items led to this action to remove the bears from their native habitat. This female bear has repeatedly gotten into backpacks and coolers left unattended by people who were swimming and picnicking in the String Lake and Leigh Lake areas.

In the past three years, park staff have seen numerous food storage violations by visitors using the String Lake beaches and picnic areas. People have left unsecured food items unattended while they enjoy wading, swimming, and boating on String Lake, and there have been many reports of black bears receiving human food. Because of this pattern of careless food storage, park officials are considering management actions including a prohibition against food items in this area.

Although cliché, it is too often true that a fed bear is a dead bear. A human food-conditioned female black bear was euthanized in mid-June out of concern for public safety after it climbed into the trunk of a vehicle and attempted to enter cabins at Jenny Lake Lodge. Fortunately, this newly captured black bear and her cub will not suffer that same fate. However, placement of wild bears in zoos is not always a viable option, and park visitors must realize that careless actions can lead to the death of bears that have been corrupted by human food. Once a bear acquires human food, it loses its fear of people and may become dangerous. Human carelessness doesn’t just endanger people; it can also result in a bear’s death.

Park officials strongly remind local residents and visitors that proper storage of food items and disposal of garbage is vitally important. With simple actions, people can help keep a bear from becoming human food-conditioned and possibly save its life. Detailed information about how to behave in bear country is available at park visitor centers and online at

NEWS FROM THE PARKS: Caution Floating the Snake

WY Beef Summer WLM 2015

Rangers Caution Visitors Floating the Snake River Between Deadman’s Bar and Moose Landing

MOOSE, WY Grand Teton National Park / National Park Service — After a recent spate of incidents on the stretch of the Snake River between Deadman’s Bar and Moose Landing, Grand Teton National Park Rangers are cautioning boaters to choose segments of river that are appropriate for their experience and ability level. Rangers have conducted rescues on the Snake River near the Bar BC Ranch for five separate parties since August 1, 2015. Though nobody was seriously injured in the incidents, the consequences of such accidents on the Snake River can be catastrophic.

Though the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park does not consist of any whitewater, it is a complex and unpredictable braided river. A strong current, shifting channels, numerous logjams, eddies, and snags all combine to make floating the Snake a challenging proposition.  These obstacles often require floaters to set up maneuvers well in advance, and inexperienced pilots often make maneuvers too late.

A raft hung up on a snag in the Snake River near Bar BC Ranch. National Park Service Photo.
A raft hung up on a snag in the Snake River near Bar BC Ranch. National Park Service Photo.

Rangers have assigned difficulty levels to the various stretches of river in the park. The section from Deadman’s Bar to Moose Landing, where all of the recent incidents have occurred, is rated “advanced.” In all five incidents, the parties involved likely did not possess appropriate skill and experience to be floating an advanced section of river. Good alternative river segments include Pacific Creek Landing to Deadman’s Bar (rated “intermediate”) and Jackson Lake Dam to Pacific Creek Landing (rated “beginner”).

The five incidents fortunately did not result in significant injuries to those involved. However, the incidents did result in several minor injuries, damaged equipment, and in one case a destroyed vessel. The five parties were respectively operating a canoe, a kayak, a raft, and two drift boats. Some of the visitors involved were local residents. In some cases, the parties were able to self-rescue and were floated to safety by rangers. In others, rangers rescued the visitors hung-up on obstructions using swift water rescue techniques. Grand Teton Lodge Company and Triangle X river guides assisted with two of the rescues.

Rangers urge all visitors planning to float the Snake River to select their river segment based on an accurate assessment of their group’s ability level. River information can be obtained at all park visitor centers. Both a park boat permit and a State of Wyoming Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) decal are required before launching on any park waters. Additionally, all watercraft entering the park are subject to an AIS inspection when checkpoints are operating.

WYOMING MADE: Lazy KT Designs, Gillette




TO CONTACT:  785.200.0487

We were excited to profile Lazy KT Designs and owner Kaitlyn’s friend The Rusty Bucket (also of Gillette) in our Sprinter 2015 issue of WLM. These two ladies excel in producing fun & unique products right here in Wyoming! Lazy KT Designs just released a really cool series of antique ceiling tile artwork, and we asked for a chance to share it with our readers … See below for Lazy KT Designs’ contact info, and be sure to visit the Wyoming

First Program’s cabin at the Wyoming State Fair through August 15 for a chance to check out LOTS of Wyoming-made products! (And October 2&3, Wyoming stores can visit our Wyoming Made Expo to see products they can carry in their stores, too!)

Lazy KT Designs website

Lazy KT Designs Facebook page

Wyoming First Program Facebook page

Wyoming Made Expo event Facebook page (October 2&3, 2015 in Douglas!)


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NEWS FROM THE PARKS: Ride Menor’s Ferry at Grand Teton National Park

WY Beef Summer WLM 2015

FROM GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK:  Ride Menor’s Ferry & Experience Early Method of River Crossing on the Snake

MOOSE, WY — Ever wondered how Jackson Hole’s early settlers crossed the Snake River before bridges? Beginning Monday, July 20, visitors can take a ride on a replica ferry boat and experience crossing the Snake in the same fashion provided by Bill Menor through his routine ferry service of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Park ranger naturalists will offer free rides daily from 9:00–10:15 a.m. and 1:15–2:15 p.m., as well as before and after the ranger-led program, “A Walk into the Past,” that occurs each day at 2:30 p.m.  Call 307.739.3399 for additional operation times.

The wooden ferry boat serves as a central feature of the Menor/Noble Historic District, located just north of the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Grand Teton National Park.  Ferry rides transport visitors across the Snake River from Menor’s general store on the west bank of the river to Dornan’s on the east bank—and back.


Menors Ferry July 2015

Menor’s Ferry consists of a wooden platform deck placed upon two pontoons for flotation. The ferry is tethered to a cable system that spans the river and operates by directing the pontoons toward the opposite riverbank, allowing the power of the current to push the craft across the river channel. The system uses river power—rather than motor power—to push the ferry across the water. This type of river travel existed in ancient times and was widely used throughout the United States.

Menor’s Ferry played a vital role in providing safe transport for passengers over the swift-flowing Snake River before construction of a bridge. Prior to the ferry’s existence, the Snake River was essentially impassable from Wilson to Moran—except during low water periods in the fall and winter months. As a man of vision, Bill Menor saw the need for a more convenient access across the Snake River and consequently built and operated his ferry from 1894 until 1918 when he sold it to Maud Noble. Maud operated the ferry until 1927 when its use became obsolete after a steel truss bridge was constructed across the river, allowing for vehicles and foot traffic to cross without the assistance of a ferry service.

Although transportation has changed over time, Menor’s Ferry offers a chance to step back into the past and experience a bygone time and historic mode of river passage.


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From the Parks: Two Temp Exhibits Celebrate Wyoming at Natl Elk Refuge



WY Beef Summer WLM 2015

A reproduction of Rock Springs' Andrew Kneeland's Duck Stamp award-winning acrylic painting.
A reproduction of Rock Springs’ Andrew Kneeland’s Duck Stamp award-winning acrylic painting.

Two temporary exhibits will be on display next month at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located at 532 N. Cache Street in Jackson. The public is invited to view the colorful exhibits, which celebrate Wyoming successes.

From the National Elk Refuge … The first exhibit commemorates the 125th anniversary of Wyoming statehood. Wyoming became the 44th state admitted to the Union on July 10, 1890. An interactive display will give visitors an opportunity to learn more about the state’s history and fun facts. Both a Wyoming and National Elk Refuge time line will be featured, along with coloring sheets, state logos, and a Wyoming quiz. Small Wyoming flags will be given to the first 200 families that visit the exhibit, which will be in the upstairs theater from July 2 through July 12.

Later in the month, visitor center staff will add a second exhibit to the upper level of the visitor center. The Wyoming Junior Duck Stamp 2015 Artwork Tour for the Top 100 entries and National Best in Show will move from its current location at the Campbell County Public Library in Gillette to the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center from July 9 through August 2.The exhibit features an acrylic painting of two wood ducks by Andrew Kneeland, age 17, of Rock Springs. Not only was Kneeland awarded top honors in the state competition, but his artwork was judged the winner among best–of–show entries from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. His design will appear on next year’s Federal Junior Duck Stamp, scheduled to be released in June 2016.

The Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program is a dynamic educational program that uses both conservation and design principles to teach wetland habitat and waterfowl biology to students from kindergarten through high school. The program incorporates both scientific and wildlife management principles into an engaging visual arts curriculum. At the completion of their studies, participants complete a Junior Duck Stamp design, which is submitted to a state or territory contest. Top entries move on to the national competition.


Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center hours are from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm.