Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Outdoors


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  • County and governor criticize old-growth planning process

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jun 20, 2024

    Both Governor Mark Gordon and the Crook County Commissioners have expressed displeasure with how the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has handled the process of changing how it manages old-growth forests. “The State’s concerns about the process, timeline and substance of the National Old-growth Amendment (NOGA) persist, are in fact increasing, and have become indicative of why the Forest Service should perform its effort at a forest unit level, not on a national scale,” wrote the governor last week in a letter to Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agric...

  • Moon walk with mountain goats

    Jun 20, 2024

    The Black Hills National Forest will conduct its first Moon Walk of the year on Saturday, June 22 at 7 p.m. The activity will start at the Spearfish Canyon public parking area, located at the mouth of the canyon. Please join Black Hills National Forest staff for a Moon “Drive” through Spearfish Canyon to learn more about the wildlife you may see, specifically on a cliff edge or foraging along the byway. Mountain goats are charismatic creatures, photogenic and fun to watch. They are also wild animals that will protect themselves if they fee...

  • Derby winners

    Jun 13, 2024

    Winners of the Sundance Rod and Gun Club's 2004 kids' fishing derby, left to right: Bergen Hammersley –first fish 9" trout, fourth longest trout (tie) 10¼"; Wyatt Cheshier – longest sucker 9"; Livia Ellsbury – third longest trout 10-5/8"; Brynlee Bock – longest trout 11-7/16"; Ella Ellsbury – fourth longest trout (tie) 10¼"; CK McDonald – second longest trout 11". About 30 kids, from three years old to twelve, fished from 1 to 3 p.m. on June 1. Everyone had at least one hot dog...

  • BHNF management plan largely dormant

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jun 13, 2024

    We likely won’t be seeing much about the revised management plan for the Black Hills National Forest this year, according to Dru Palmer, consultant to the county commissioners. She said last week that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has pushed back publication of the notice of intent to begin developing the plan to fall or early winter. This is partly because USFS is also working on its environmental impact statement for old growth forests, she said, and some of the same personnel are involved with both projects. In the meantime, Palmer told t...

  • County continues battle to be involved in old growth forest planning

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jun 13, 2024

    The Crook County Commissioners have signed up as a cooperating agency as the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) decides how to manage old growth forests, but will be making their thoughts clear on how the process has gone so far. Earlier this year, the commissioners called for a rethink of USFS plans to amend every national forest land management in the nation to create an overall strategy. The county criticized the one-size-fits-all approach and failure to include local governments in the planning. In a letter sent to the USFS in April, the...

  • Derby day

    Jun 6, 2024

    Kids and their families gathered at Sundance Pond on Saturday afternoon to take part in the annual Sundance Rod & Gun Club fishing derby. The club has sponsored the event for many years, introducing new generations to the pleasures of the outdoors. Hot dogs and soda kept the young fisherfolk fueled as they competed to bring home the first and biggest fish. Above, Rod Malo demonstrates the finer points of baiting a hook....

  • Paddle in the Park starts this week

    Jun 6, 2024

    Keyhole State Park will be offering its popular "Paddle in the Park" events again this summer, an opportunity to learn new skills relating to kayaking, paddle boarding and staying safe on the water – all while having fun! Alternatively, the events provide visitors who may already be experienced in the basics of kayaking and paddle boarding the access to hone their skills in a new location. During the Paddle in the Park events, all watercraft and life jacket supplies are provided free of c...

  • Good catch

    Jun 6, 2024

    On a nine-day vacation in Alaska to celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary, Crook County residents Tanya and Dustin Harden booked a fishing charter in the town of Seward with Saltwater Safari Company, under Captain Noah Wamsteker. "This day of fishing, May 28, was planned for halibut fishing," says Dustin. "It was mid-afternoon when the captain instructed us to reel up so we could move to another location. The fishing had slowed up a bit, so it was time to try another spot." Or was it? Tanya...

  • Burn ban back on

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jun 6, 2024

    The county burn ban is back in place after Fire Warden Charlie Harrison determined that the fire danger is higher now than it has been over recent weeks. The ban was temporarily lifted in mid-May, and remained that way until the end of the month. Harrison said at the time that he intended to review the situation at the end of May based on weather conditions and fire risk assessments. The National Weather Service (NWS) is currently predicting that temperatures have a 40 to 50% chance of being above normal until mid-June, and an up to 70% chance...

  • Rabies prevention: not just shots for family pets

    Jun 6, 2024

    With the onset of warmer weather, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is warning residents to beware of wild animals that may carry rabies, especially bats, as they become more seasonally active. “Many people do a good job of protecting their family pets from rabies, but don’t realize other animals can sometimes be a threat,” said Dr. Emily Curren, state public health veterinarian with WDH. “Rabies can infect any mammal, including humans.” Humans and pets can get infected from the bites or scratches of an animal with rabies. People ca...

  • Town deer tests show improvement

    Sarah Pridgeon|May 30, 2024

    The number of tests coming back positive for chronic wasting disease is holding steady, according to the latest data from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department. Crook County’s deer hunt areas were on the high priority list for testing in 2023, along with a large portion of the west of the state and several to the south and center. Hunters in high priority areas are asked to submit samples for testing to help the department monitor the spread of the always-fatal disease. From those areas, and from all across the state, a total of 5100 samples f...

  • Illegally released walleye found in Newcastle's Black Elk Pond

    May 30, 2024

    The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says the recent discovery of walleye in Black Elk Pond in Newcastle is the result of illegal fish stocking and seeks to find the person responsible. Walleye have not been stocked by the department in Black Elk Pond. They are a predatory species and after they reach just a few inches in size, they feed exclusively on other fish and can have lasting impacts on a fishery if a population becomes established. “Illegal fish introductions are a serious problem and seem to be especially prevalent in northeast W...

  • Kids' fishing derby June 1

    May 23, 2024

    The annual kids’ fishing derby sponsored by the Sundance Rod and Gun Club is scheduled for Sat., June 1 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Sundance Pond. Registration will start at noon. The derby is open for all kids age 13 and under. There will be door prizes for all fishing kids and hot dogs and soda provided for all. For more information, please contact Douglas Ramsey at 307-290-2901....

  • BLM follows county in lifting burn ban

    Sarah Pridgeon|May 23, 2024

    Following in the steps of Crook County, the Bureau of Land Management has now lifted the fire restrictions that were previously in place for BLM-administered public lands in Crook, Niobrara and Weston counties. In a statement from the Newcastle Field Office, the BLM said that it will “join county partners in rescinding restrictions following recent and expected precipitation that has reduced fire danger in northeastern Wyoming”. However, even at this time of reduced risk, the BLM warns that it is still important to be aware of the con...

  • Wyoming State Parks observes Free Fishing Day June 1

    May 23, 2024

    Angling at Wyoming’s State Parks June 1 will be a good day of fishing guaranteed. Wyoming State Parks, in conjunction with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s “Free Fishing Day”, is waiving daily use fees at all parks/recreation areas that provide angling on June 1. Wyoming State Park locations offering free entrance are Boysen, Buffalo Bill, Curt Gowdy, Edness K. Wilkins, Fort Phil Kearny, Glendo, Guernsey, Keyhole, Seminoe and Hawk Springs. Does not apply to camping fees or reservations. Fishing opportunities also exist at the followi...

  • Black Hills National Forest campgrounds and seasonal gates scheduled to open

    May 16, 2024

    Campgrounds on the Black Hills National Forest will open Friday, May 17 for first-come first-serve camping. Campsites that have been reserved will be available for use beginning Wednesday, May 22. The Forest offers 30 campgrounds with more than 680 individual sites. Many of the campgrounds are operated by a Forest Service recreation concessionaire, Forest Recreation Management, (FRM) Inc. Many campgrounds have on-site hosts who can help provide information about nearby trails and outdoor...

  • County on board with prescribed burns

    Sarah Pridgeon|May 16, 2024

    With the U.S. Forest Service planning to tackle fire danger through prescribed burns across the county in the near future, representatives approached the county commissioners last week to seek advice on reassuring the public of both the safety of and need for the fires. Bearlodge Ranger District’s Patrick Champa, District Ranger, Chris Zoeller, Fire Management Officer N Zone, and Josh Hoffman, Fuels Assistant Fire Management Officer attended last week’s meeting of the commission to give an overview on two planned burns. The South Slope and Nor...

  • FS seeks public comment on Davis Hazardous Fuels Reduction project

    May 16, 2024

    The Black Hills National Forest is proposing to reduce fire hazard in the Moskee area. High fuel loading in this area poses a risk to surrounding lands and communities. The Forest Service is proposing to treat up to 1304 acres of ponderosa pine, grasslands and hardwoods. Pine forest varies from dense, mature stands to open-canopy woodlands with an understory of grass or dense regeneration. Detailed maps can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=66020. The project would be implemented partly via Good Neighbor Authority agreements...

  • Weed & Pest braces for grasshopper influx

    Sarah Pridgeon|May 9, 2024

    With predictions of a bad grasshopper season ahead, Crook County Weed & Pest has launch a program for larger properties that it hopes will keep the hungry insects from causing too much damage. The district is also offering its assistance to landowners with smaller parcels who would like to tackle the potential influx. “They are an intrusive, invasive little insect,” says Alycia Conroy-Davis, District Supervisor. “They eat everything.” Hay, soy beans, alfalfa – it doesn’t make a difference, the grasshoppers are willing to eat it. In fact, a gra...

  • New noxious weed found in Wyoming

    May 2, 2024

    In summer 2023, a new noxious weed was identified in two locations in the Big Horn Basin: one was found in a Washakie County sugar beet field, and another under a bird feeder at the Park County Animal Shelter. Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) is an invasive annual weed native to the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. It was first identified as a problem noxious weed in the Southeastern United States, where it caused major problems in the region's cotton industry and has since sp...

  • USFS proposes winter burns

    Sarah Pridgeon|May 2, 2024

    Sometimes, it takes a fire to prevent a fire. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is proposing to target areas of the Bearlodge Ranger District in Crook County with planned burns, with the aim of improving the odds of managing future wildland fires safely and effectively. Hazardous fuels have built up within the estimated 8382 acres that have been identified, such as grass, brush and fallen trees. Clearing this accumulation through a planned fire helps to provide fire managers with areas in which to manage future fires. Though it may seem...

  • Healing the land

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 25, 2024

    A hundred years from now, the forest south of Sundance may look just the way it used to. The Fish Fire burned through just under 6800 acres back in 2022, leaving blackened scars in its wake. Left to its own devices, the land would likely take multiples of that timespan to heal those wounds, but the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) was on site last week to offer a helping hand. Along with a contracted crew of planters, Forest stewards arrived with boxes of foot-high seedlings to take advantage of a two...

  • Keyhole State Park partners with Audubon Rockies for summer events

    Apr 25, 2024

    Keyhole State Park is partnering with Audubon Rockies again this summer to provide a series of birding events at the park from May through August. The first event will be a "Birding Walk" on May 4, beginning at 8 a.m. at the Rocky Point Trailhead. This will provide an opportunity to observe, identify and learn about the various bird species at the park. Some binoculars and birding guides will be provided, but please bring your own if possible. All other events will be bird banding events...

  • Don't let ticks steal warm weather enjoyment

    Apr 25, 2024

    With tick season quickly approaching, the Wyoming Department of Health says simple steps can help state residents protect themselves and their family members from potentially serious tick-borne illnesses. Courtney Tillman, an epidemiologist with WDH, said past records show people typically start seeking medical help due to tick bites in May. Diseases sometimes spread by infected ticks in Wyoming include tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) and Colorado tick fever (CTF). Tularemia symptoms include fever, swollen and painful lymph...

  • That spring feeling

    Apr 11, 2024

    Spring took a back seat at the weekend, interrupting the plans of the local wildlife, although the storm didn't amount to as much as was predicted. According to the National Weather Service, Aladdin saw seven inches of snow during the three-day event, while Sundance escaped with just 2.2 inches and Moorcroft only received a half-inch dusting....

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