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First grizzly sighting of year reported in Yellowstone

Powell (WNE) — The first grizzly bear sighting of 2019 was reported March 8 in Yellowstone National Park, when visitors observed a large bruin between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge.

Additionally, park officials say grizzly tracks were reportedly seen between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Junction on March 11.  Male grizzlies come out of hibernation in mid-to-late March. Females with cubs emerge in April and early May. In 2018, the first grizzly sighting was recorded on March 7 — just one day earlier than this year.

When bears emerge from hibernation, they look for food and often feed on elk and bison that died over the winter.

Sometimes, bears will react aggressively while feeding on carcasses, Yellowstone officials warn. They note that all of Yellowstone National Park is bear country: from the deepest backcountry to the boardwalks around Old Faithful.

“Yellowstone visitors care deeply about the conservation of bears and observing them in the wild,” said Kerry Gunther, the park’s bear management specialist. “Reduce human-bear conflicts by preventing bears from getting food and garbage, hiking in groups of three or more people, carrying bear spray, and making noise in blind spots on the trail.”

Bear spray has proven effective in deterring bears defending cubs and food sources, Yellowstone officials say, adding that the spray can also reduce the number of bears killed by people in self-defense.

The park restricts certain visitor activities in locations where there is a high density of elk and bison carcasses and lots of bears. Restrictions began in some bear management areas on March 10.


Man found dead on Riverton bike path identified

RIVERTON (WNE) — Officials have released the name of the man found dead Monday afternoon on a bike path in Riverton.

The body of Horace Big Medicine Jr., 62, was discovered at about 2:35 p.m. Monday in the 200 block of North Broadway.

The initial call to police was regarding a Native American subject lying on the bike path wearing a t-shirt, jeans and one shoe.

About five minutes later a Riverton Police Department officer who responded to the scene indicated the man was deceased, according to initial reports.

Stratmoen said the man was living in Fremont County at the time of his death. A death notice states Big Medicine was from Arapahoe.

The cause of his death will be determined by an autopsy, which won’t take place until Friday in Loveland, Colorado, due to the winter storm hitting the area Wednesday.

“I’m not going to send my deputy down and have him stranded in Rawlins,” Stratmoen explained.


Woman revived, two face meth charges

GILLETTE (WNE) — Two people were charged with drug offenses after police and EMS crews saved the life of a 33-year-old woman after she was technically found dead in a basement bedroom in the 500 block of Ross Avenue Wednesday night.

The woman was unresponsive, was not breathing and did not have a pulse when officers arrived, Gillette Police Sgt. Dean Welch said. An officer performed CPR before EMS could arrive.

Once EMS continued CPR, the woman came to and she was taken to the hospital.

A 48-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman admitted that they all used meth earlier that day and police found syringes and other drug paraphernalia in the house. The man was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and the woman was ticketed for use.

The 33-year-old woman’s medical condition was unknown Thursday morning, Welch said.


‘Big Boy’ locomotive to hit the rails in May

CHEYENNE (WNE) — Union Pacific announced its schedule for steam operations this week, including plans for the long-awaited Big Boy 4014.

The Big Boy will hit the tracks after more than two years of detailed restoration led by UP’s “Steam Team,” a group of steam locomotive experts and engineers who carefully dismantled and rebuilt the relic to restore its 1940s glory. It’s the world’s only operating Big Boy train.

On May 4, following a 9:30 a.m. ceremony on the tracks behind the Cheyenne Depot, Big Boy 4014 will leave for Rawlins.

The 30-minute celebration in Cheyenne will include speakers and an intimate viewing of the train.

Local tourism leaders expect the day to attract visitors from all over the country.

On May 5, the Big Boy will go from Rawlins to Rock Springs and from Rock Springs to Evanston May 6.

After a day in Evanston with no public display, it will travel from Evanston to Ogden, Utah, on May 8 and will join the Living Legend 844 in a 2019 commemoration of the Transcontinental Railroad’s 150th anniversary May 9.


From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

By |Mar. 15, 2019|

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