Spring has sprung, despite the forecast


In typical Wyoming fashion, just when you think the worst might be behind us, Old Man Winter may still have a few tricks up his sleeve.

Just last weekend at the L.A. Kohnke Track Invitational at Panther Stadium, athletes and track fans alike basked in the glow of plentiful sunshine and temps that flirted shamelessly with the 70-degree mark. It was T-shirt weather in our little corner of the state, with kids in shorts riding their bikes, backyard grillers prepping for Final Four barbecues and our local parks filled with the sights and sounds of spring. Youth baseball was even underway, as the Powell Storm 12U team opened its season Saturday with games against Lovell.

But just when it appeared safe to break out the patio furniture and kiddie pools, Mother Nature proved once again she’s not without a sense of humor, as the state braced this week for another round of winter-like conditions.

What a difference a couple of days makes.

We half-expected to wake up Wednesday morning to a veritable snow globe, the tell-tale signs of spring buried beneath a half-foot of snow. However, it appears the worst of the forecast may skirt us here in the northwestern part of the state. After an ice-cold February, Park County residents took advantage of a couple of weekends of decent weather, participating in community service events that indeed remind us that spring is in the air.

On Sunday, March 31, volunteers descended on the Shoshone River for the annual river clean-up. This year for the first time, the clean-up extended to the banks of East and West Newton lakes, tidying up the area in anticipation of the spring and summer rush.

“We want to clean up the heavy use areas before we start seeing a lot of traffic,” said Ian Morrison, president of the local anglers group Adiposse, which handles logistics for the event.

Fast forward a week, and Friday saw a group of hearty souls douse themselves in frigid water for a worthy cause, as the annual Jackalope Jump was held at Powell High School. A fundraiser benefitting the Special Olympics, this year’s iteration of the event featured 30 jumpers, representing an eclectic mix of cops, coaches, students and volunteers. The jump raised over $6,000 for Special Olympics Wyoming that will go toward training and competitions for Wyoming athletes with intellectual disabilities.

And coming up this weekend, regardless of weather, will be Northwest College’s annual Multicultural Showcase, a spring tradition that gives NWC’s international students an opportunity to share their culture with the community. Food, entertainment and a silent auction are just a few of the happenings that make the event such a success each spring, and it’s one of the last big community events the college offers before the end of the school year in a few weeks.

Despite what Mother Nature might have in store for us this weekend, spring has sprung. Water is set to start arriving in local canals next week, and as the days and weeks creep toward summer, events like the ones mentioned above will continue to multiply, with a little something for everyone. Keep an eye on the community calendar, and enjoy once again the changing of the seasons.