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Powell, WY

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Gib Mathers

Visitation to Yellowstone National Park in 2011 topped 3 million for the fifth year in a row.

Last year, 3,394,321 people visited Yellowstone. That was 6.8 percent less than the record 3,640,184 visitors in 2010. Still, 2011 had the second-highest visitation on record, the National Park Service announced on Friday.

148 baskets distributed throughout community this year

From an observer’s point of view, the Christmas Basket Program giveaway seemed to go without a hitch on Friday, just two days before Christmas.

Dave Blevins, chairman of the Powell Council for Community Services, said there were 148 Christmas baskets this year. In 2010, there were 136.

If it takes a small army to haul all the free clothing to Sally’s Boutique that is run by Sally Montoya, then it must be close to a battalion helping to cart the Christmas baskets of food and new toys to the recipients’ cars.

On Saturday, the house where Park County Fair managers resided upwards of 60 years went up in flames while a dozen or so folks gathered to watch.

The Park County Commission wanted the house removed, and Powell Volunteer Fire Department was more than happy to help with its removal, using the controlled burn as a training opportunity.

The room was practically bursting at the seams Thursday evening, with more North End Water Users Inc. customers waiting in the hallway for an update about the pending merger of their water service with Northwest Rural Water District.

North End Water Users voted in favor of the merger in March. Customers were lined up at University of Wyoming Powell Research and Extension Center to get the update and sign up for inclusion in Northwest’s system.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem remain on the endangered species list until the federal government can provide better data explaining how grizzlies will fare without whitebark pine nuts.

Odds are North End Water Users will be drinking Northwest Rural Water District water by 2014. However, to get that water, they must petition in December for inclusion in the district.

This was an ice- and record-breaking year for the East Yellowstone Chapter of Trout Unlimited as they rescued stranded trout from irrigation canals last week.

An impressive 5,169 trout were caught, placed temporarily in a tank and released in the Shoshone River.

Population rebound a ‘success story’

(Editor’s note: This is the first part in a series exploring the history of grizzly bear recovery efforts in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.)

The grizzly bear population rebound in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem “is probably the biggest success story in endangered species recovery in the last 100 years,” said Mark Bruscino, bear management program supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

As the U.S. Postal Service strives to tighten its belt by closing small post offices around the country, including some in Wyoming, those patrons ponder the consequences.

Earlier this month, the service announced it lost $10 billion this fiscal year.

An elk hunter had a run-in with a grizzly bear on Sheep Mountain just west of Buffalo Bill Reservoir early Saturday night, but officials say his injuries were very minor.

A Cody man surprised the bear at close range at around 4:50 p.m., said Brian DeBolt, Wyoming Game and Fish Department bear management officer in Lander. The grizzly charged from about 12 feet, took a swipe at him and left, Debolt said.

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