Powell, WY


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Scientists auger 50 million years into the past

Polecat Bench is a pristine plateau of swaying grass and surrounding mountains, but beneath the bench are clues of a global warming event millions of years ago.

Studying those clues from the past, including how fauna and flora acclimatized to warmer temperatures, will help predict the future, scientists say.

Although it took considerable time and talk Wednesday evening to spruce up their problem statement, the Cody Elk Working Group is striving to craft an elk management plan for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

The group had worked on its problem statement previously, but the statement needs refinement, said Dennie Hammer, Cody Game and Fish information and education specialist and group facilitator.

Wyoming and the federal government have agreed on a dual status plan for wolves in the state, and they hope to publish a preliminary rule delisting Wyoming wolves by the end of September.

“We agree in principle on major issues,” Gov. Matt Mead announced during a news conference Thursday in Cheyenne.

Two more bat species are being considered for Endangered Species listing, due in part to white nose syndrome. That could point to the possible future listing of the little brown bat, Wyoming’s most widespread membranous winged mammal.

The grizzly bear in Yellowstone that killed a California man last week will not be destroyed.

Yellowstone National Park officials believe the sow grizzly was protecting her young and so behaving in a defensive, not predacious manner.

“It was not predatory,” said Kerry Gunther, Yellowstone wildlife biologist, in a Thursday news conference, “so we see no reason to take action against the bear.”

Following SkyWest Airlines’ sudden announcement that it plans to pull its Salt Lake City flights from Cody, Yellowstone Regional Airport supporters are strategizing to keep Salt Lake City air service.

“We really got blind sided last Friday,” said Cody Yellowstone Air Improvement Resources Chairman and state senator Hank Coe.

SkyWest Airlines, which has made two flights daily to Salt Lake City from Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody, plans to discontinue that service after Sept. 6.

The primary reason for pulling out is the volatile price of fuel, said Marissa Snow, SkyWest Airlines corporate communications manager, on Tuesday.

I think the best thing is when they pull up at the drive-in window on their mules,” said Suzanne Rankin, who works at Red Eagle Food Store in Ralston.

Of course, Rankin was talking about Jake Clark’s Mule Days. The 14th annual event kicked off Wednesday.

Native culture says Heart Mountain contains an energy, and members of the Crow Tribe tapped into that energy Saturday at the mountain to engage the 30 or so people present at a Crow Pipe Ceremony.

Crow tribal elder Grant Bulltail presented the ceremony.

Strategy developed to preserve threatened species

A multi-agency team is developing a strategy to preserve the insect- and disease-threatened whitebark pine tree that is considered a foundation species in mountains across the West.

Growing just below timberline, whitebark pine shades snow, thus slowing snowmelt. It allows other plants to gain a foothold in its rugged terrain, said Kelly McCloskey, Whitebark Pine Committee chair and ecologist at Teton National Park.

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