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August 08, 2013 8:30 am

EDITORIAL: Don’t let the last days of summer slip by your family

Written by Ilene Olson

With last week’s turn of the calendar page, we’re now in the final month of summer vacation. It’s hard to believe nearly two-thirds of the summer has passed.

The good news is, there still is time to take in some of the sights and activities offered in Powell and around the region. We live in a beautiful area of the Wyoming. People from all over the world come to experience the landscapes, wildlife, historical sites and activities that, for us, are just around the corner.

Here are our suggestions of a few things to do during August and September:

Vistas and wildlife:

• Drive the scenic Beartooth Highway, U.S. 212, while there’s still time. The highway closes for the winter in October, and as fall nears, closures due to stormy weather are increasingly common.

A drive over the Beartooth Mountains provides breathtaking scenery, high-altitude vistas and the chance to see wildlife, possibly including mountain goats. The next few weeks offer this season’s last chance to see wildflowers at high altitudes before the first freeze, which likely will occur in late August.

• Take back Yellowstone. After Labor Day, tourist traffic through Yellowstone National Park declines, and that’s when many locals head for the park.

Traffic moves better, “buffalo jams” are less common, and it’s easier to see wildlife and find parking places at the park’s thermal attractions. As fall sets in, one of the biggest thrills for park visitors is listening to the bugling of bull elk. Besides going through the East Entrance, local residents also enjoy a drive up the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, then through the Northeast Entrance to Lamar Valley, a spectacular area for viewing wildlife.

• Camping opportunities abound in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, with each area providing majestic scenery and opportunities for viewing wildlife. Of course, anyone camping in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem should be bear-wise and be prepared with bear spray.

• The inaugural Cody Wild West River Fest, a community event designed to bring people together to celebrate the Shoshone River, has been set for Saturday, Aug. 24. For a complete list of events and to register for competitions, visit www.codyriverfest.com.

• Beat the heat with a boat ride or a dip in Big Horn Lake (Yellowtail Reservoir) east of Lovell off U.S. Highway14-A. A drive or boat ride through the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation area showcases spectacular cliff walls surrounding the lake, as well as birds and wildlife, including bighorn sheep.

• Wild horses can be seen at Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range or in the McCullough Peaks. They’re often at higher elevations at this time of year, but they move lower as the weather gets colder.

Downtown and nearby:

• Picnic with police this evening (Thursday) from 5-7 p.m. at Homesteader Park near the Frog Pond. The event will include bike and car seat safety information by Safe Kids representatives and other informational booths.

• The annual Wings and Wheels fly-in and car show will take place Aug. 17 at the Powell Municipal Airport. Breakfast starts at 7 a.m., followed by a car show at 9 a.m. and an air show at 10 a.m. Trophy presentation takes place at 2 p.m. For more information, visit www.pcwingsnwheels.com or call Mike Martin at 899-5528 or Mike Harker at 272-0175.

• Also on Aug. 17, a Back to School Bash will take place from noon to 5 p.m. at the Powell Aquatic Center, with free hot dogs and pop while they last. For more information, call 754-0639.

• The Homesteader Museum will host the long-anticipated “Key Ingredients,” a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution, on Aug. 24. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day for an open house reception that includes food and refreshments, a silent auction for a kids’ kitchen and other items, and a raffle drawing. The exhibit will remain on display through Oct. 25.

Normal museum hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 754-9481 or visit the museum’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/homesteadermuseum

• Also on Aug. 24, the inaugural Powell Arts Fest will take place downtown at Plaza Diane from noon to 11 p.m. The festival will offer art booths, food trucks and live entertainment at the corner of Bent and Second streets in Powell.

• The Northwest College Juried Student Photography Show remains on display at the SinClair Gallery in the NWC Orendorff Building through August. The gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

• The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center offers information, displays and food for thought about the 11,000 Japanese people, many of them American citizens, who were interned at the camp during World War II. The center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, visit the center’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/heartmountainwy or call 754-8000.

With Mother Nature providing so much to enjoy around us and with so much going on here, there’s no reason for any of us to sit at home being bored before school starts on Aug. 28.

Get going and enjoy the rest of your summer!

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