The Wyoming Range: a drilling dilemma
By Daryl Hunter

 

Cliff Creek Falls, Wyoming Range, bondurant wyoming
Cliff Creek Falls a six mile hike up Cliff Creek in the Wyoming Range

Driving through the Hoback Valley I always marvel at the untouched beauty of its mountains and the timeless tranquility of its river bottom ranches, the Wyoming Range to the west and the Gros Ventre Range to the east are breathtaking. Most any place else in the world this awe inspiring spot would be a tourist attraction but in Western Wyoming with its embarrassment of natural riches the Hoback Valley is just another pretty place. The Bridger-Teton National Forest's Gros Ventre and Wyoming Ranges are among our countries natural treasures. While the tourists flock to Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks the Wyoming Range provides a sanctuary for locals to camp, hunt, snowmobile, fish and ride horses and ATV's.

The Forest Service redently leased 44,600 acres of the Wyoming Range's eastern slope. This decision which effects an area west of Merna puts at risk world-class scenery, recreation, wildlife habitat, native cutthroat trout streams, and the solitude for the residents of Hoback Ranches, also at risk are roadless areas in the Cliff Creek and Hoback drainages. Bondurant is no place for a boomtown.

Swift Creek Trailhead, Wyoming Range, bondurant wyoming
The North side of the Wyoming Range the way I like to view them, from the saddle of a horse.

At the south end of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, between the Wyoming and Wind River mountain ranges are the high desert plains of the Upper Green River Basin. These high desert areas are where we should concentrate our mineral development as these sagebrush plains lack the visual amenities of our mountains and unlike steep mountains can easily be reclaimed.

The environmentalists will argue that these deserts serve as winter range for elk, mule deer and antelope, and as a corridor for the longest big game migration in the continental United States and that over one hundred thousand animals use this region to survive winter when the higher country of Greater Yellowstone is deep in snow. All this is true but as I drive through the area all I see is wide open sagebrush plains and 3,500 wells have already been drilled in the basin, somewhere! There are so many deer and antelope in the Green River Basin they are a road hazard. The industry has approval to drill at least 4,000 more and they will be good for the Wyoming Economy, Wyoming's Wildlife Trust Fund, Wyoming's Hathaway Scholarship Fund, etc.

Something the environmental movement doesn't understand is that they can't stop the world and kick everyone off. They have to understand that we have to get, oil, gas, coal etc. somewhere and it should be conveniently expedient when the energy deposits are sagebrush deserts, red deserts or arctic deserts (ANWR). Lets drill'em!

While the environmentalists are spending their political capitol and energy stonewalling energy development in limited value locales and crying wolf and lying about a gamut of inconsequential issues they are building a resentful and loyal opposition by those who want a healthy economy and energy independence. Many as have I, have built up such distaste for the environmental movement that we have trouble siding with environmentalists when it comes time to preserve our treasures. Environmentalists would be more effective if they would adopt a measure of reasonableness to their cause.

Boy swimming, greys river, wyoming range, alpine wyoming,
My son Scott swimming in the Greys River in the heart of the Wind River Range

Our world needs energy and it would behoove the BLM, the Forest Service and our elected representatives to shelve plans to drill in places like the Wyoming Range considering its high recreational usage. People have a lot of emotion about where they play; it isn't helpful for the cause of energy development to mobilize to activism the anti-environmentalist fifth wheel pulling, ATV aficionados and the like of places like the Greys River Valley. In this political climate of divisiveness it is not a good idea to create activists of the previously disengaged, a coalition of ATV'ers against drilling of the Grey's River Valley would soon by allaying with coalitions against drilling our sagebrush and tundra deserts and voting against energy development at the ballot box.

As an outspoken conservative multiple use advocate some will be surprised that I come down on the side of not drilling in the Wyoming Range, but it is not the first time; we successfully stopped the Shoshone National Forest from leasing an oil development at Jewell Lake, a stone's throw from Brooks Lake under the Breccia Cliffs and Pinnacle Peak at the head of the Wind River by Towgotte Pass. There are treasures that should be left alone.

In a hundred years when places like the Middle East and ANWR are dry and oil is $500 a barrel, America's energy mindset will be different and then we can drill our recreational gems without the political fallout that would be the case today.

 

'And Rightly So' - Daryl L. Hunter's column published as inspiration dictates
 

A Deist Among The Mormons • By Daryl L. Hunter
What I think of the Mormons and why Mitt Romney should be President!

I live in a beautiful rural valley of 700 people in eastern Idaho and after I came to live here I found out that Utah isn’t the only place that is fifty percent Mormon..............................As a compulsively inquisitive geo-political junkie I decided to look through the Book of Mormon so I could learn a little about the belief of my neighbors. As with any outsider looking into another’s faith, I found many outlandish passages that would require faith to swallow, however, this is a characteristic that all religions share. What I have learned of my Mormon neighbors in the years since my voyeuristic venture into the sacred book of the LDS Church is more telling. My anecdotal experiences have revealed to me that I couldn’t have better neighbors or live in a finer community....................................................Although I can’t achieve faith, I admire, and may be envious of those who do. One of the problems I find in my on going analysis of life and faith is the paradoxical dichotomy of religion that fosters the Achilles Heel of human nature, “tribalism.” The tribalism of religion pits one religion against another, hence 99% of the worlds problems. The tribalism of Evangelicals is undermining the ability of their conservative brethren, the Mormons, to carry forward the flag of conservatism and I find this as an affront to common sense. -----------------------> More

Militant Islam 101: a history and warning • In the wake of the Iraq War, there has been much Monday morning quarter backing by America’s weak offensive line (liberals) who insist the “War on Terror” is to be waged only against Osuma bin ladens al Qaeda. This essay is to make the connection of pan-Islamo Fascism and its long terrorism history. As the democratic world confronts al Qeada’s Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah ‘s Hassan Nasrallah, and their followers, many among us are trying to understand militant Islam, where it came from and its aims. The following background material is designed to give an overview of the phenomenon that has been called "militant Islam," "fundamentalist Islam," “Islamo Fascism” “Islamism,” or "radical Islam."

"Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." - the Muslim Brotherhood

The roots of militant Islam go back to the thirteenth century-----------------------------> More

Independence Day reflections and hopesOn July, 4,1776 our forefathers mustered up the temerity to declare their freedom from the tyranny of a foreign government. This brazen act set forth the foundation to build the freest nation on earth. During the following 16 years this new country crafted the foundation for our nation to succeed. This first contract with America sowed the seeds for America’s future greatness, but did it also sow the seeds for America’s future demise as well?

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Info ToursGovernor Frank Murkowski (R) AK should sponsor information trips to Alaska and ANWR for all influential people involved with this issue................... It should be mandated by Congress that all Congressional members must participate in these tours in if they wish to vote on such important legislation............................Extracting the oil of ANWR is an unavoidable eventuality. God put that oil there, and humankind will not allow it to remain there forever.

'And Rightly So' - Daryl L. Hunter's weekly column published in Jackson Wyoming's "Planet Jackson Hole" until 7-12-2006

Daryl L. Hunters Last Column For Planet Jackson Hole7-12-2006 For the past six months Planet Jackson Hole has provided me the opportunity to point out many wrongs, as I perceive them in our dynamic and rapidly changing area...................I hope that I have opened a window so our many newcomers can look at some of the endangered, traditional professions with empathy instead of scorn.................The flood of us newbie’s who devour the cattle ranches and farms are the locusts of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Tort Reform6-28-2006Tort Reform • America’s medical industry is in a crisis due to frivolous lawsuits and outrageous judgments to victims. Tort reform is desperately needed...............Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi, R-WY, on 6-22-2006 called for reforms that will deliver quick and fair compensation to injured patients, while providing consistent and reliable results so doctors can eliminate defensive medicine and learn from medical errors.............Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine, that high premiums “are forcing physicians to give up performing certain high-risk procedures,

The Spotted Owl Canard and Environmentalists6-21-2006The Spotted Owl Canard and Environmentalists • A funny thing happened here in our Northwestern forest; a giant canard has been shot out of the sky. One of the most fought over endangered species in the history of the West, the Spotted Owl, contrary to popular belief appears to be the victim of an invasive species from the eastern forest; the culprit, the Barred Owl.

In Defense of Logging and Loggers6-14-2006 • There have been few characters of American folklore with the stature of Paul Bunyon.......................It is refreshing to hear that this proud profession is still celebrated despite its vilification by America’s tree huggers who have turned a blind eye to their need for timber products.........................When we choose not to log our forests, by default we are choosing to look at burnt forests instead.

Public Land Ranching
Environmentalists would love to put this cowboy culture out of business

The Public Grazing Conundrum6-7-2006 •The face of the west is changing, what was once a frontier populated with hard scrabble farmers, loggers, miners, cowboys and ranchers has been infiltrated and is getting gentrified by interlopers from the cities that have a new plan for their adopted home, part of this plan is to end the grazing of our public multipurpose lands.

About Memorial Day5-31-2006Private First Class Jacob Allcott, 21 from Caldwell Idaho, was killed April 22 near Baghdad. On Friday May 5, I heard on the radio that the following day in order to honor Pfc. Allcott, that the people of Idaho Falls were going to line the funeral procession route to the Iona cemetery, I decided to go too pay my respects to our fallen soldier I did not know.

Conservatives are from Mars Liberals are from Venus5-24-2006Several years ago observation provided an epiphany that testosterone may be a factor of political ideological persuasion; later Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger put forth his oversimplified hyperbolic “girly-men” comment about the California Legislature apparently coming to a similar hypothesis.

The Wyoming Range: a drilling dilemma5-17-2006As an outspoken conservative multiple use advocate some will be surprised that I come down on the side of not drilling in the Wyoming Range, but it is not the first time;.......................Driving through the Hoback Valley I always marvel at the untouched beauty of its mountains and the timeless tranquility of its river bottom ranches, the Wyoming range to the west and the Gros Ventre Range to the east are breathtaking. Most any place else in the world this awe inspiring spot would be a tourist attraction but in Western Wyoming with its embarrassment of natural riches the Hoback Valley is just another pretty place.

Power of Place, or values5-10-2006 •• The power of place, well we sure have that! The question is what are we going to do with it? We inarguably live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, our rivers, mountains, wilderness areas and our plethora of wildlife has presented many paradoxical, insoluble dilemmas....................

A teachable moment  • 5-3-2006 • A teachable moment can be characterized by a current event one experiences or observes that provides an anecdotal example that can be illustrative by opening a window upon the past,............In 1783 a planned military coup was defused only by the personal intervention of General George Washington, ............During the Vietnam war the media’s incessant brow beating verbally emasculated our leaders robbing them of the tools they needed for bold, decisive leadership to win the war, In Iraq..............

J.P. Robinson, Star Valley Wyoming Cowboy, driving cows in the Wyoming Range
J.P. Robinson, Star Valley Wyoming Cowboy, driving cows in the Wyoming Range

The Cowboy: an endangered species4-26-2006 • The cowboy is one of America's most cherished and mythical figures. He symbolizes the mystique of the American west, a caricature of frontier courage, independence, and rugged masculinity. The iconical cowboy brings to mind, horses, cattle, the howl of a coyote, and wide-open spaces, the cowboy riding off into the sunset. In the west all these things are still alive and well but sadly the cowboy may be riding off into the sunset for good.

Illegal Aliens: Our legislators perplexing paradox • 4-19-2006 The illegal immigration debate has brought to the fore some interesting political dynamics that beg analysis. The imponderable elephant in the living room of this debate is the Hispanic voting block..........................Their convoluting of semantics is nothing but disingenuous subterfuge about their intent. For the sake of semantic clarity we can call it – lying! Their covert attempt to pass off a sow’s ear for a silk purse should not fly.

Family Values - a journey of discovery • 4-12-2006 •Growing up a child of alcoholics in a single parent home with a mother who sang the praises of..................Other than that I was the typical 70’s something counter culture rebel. During the 70’s and 80’s I was libertarian in many ways..............my opinion of a “Family Values” platform was: how lame.............Then I became a father.

Taliban in Jackson Hole4-05-2006After a commercial rafting trip one day, I asked this gal from Kansas how she liked her trip. She replied it was fun and it sure is pretty around here, but the mountains get in the way of the view..................“I felt I had looked into the face of evil,” Fund wrote after Rahmatullah defended the Taliban’s treatment of women and said he hadn’t seen any evidence that their “guest” Osama bin Laden was a terrorist.

Conservative Populism3-29-2006Conservative Populism- pop·u·lism - 1 - A political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite.........- e·lit·ism or é·lit·ism - 1 - The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class. - b. - Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class. ................Liberals bandy about the word populism in a proprietary manner as if their social advocacy made them the de facto “peoples party”. I don’t think that they are correct.

The New Paganism3-22-2006 • There is a new Paganism taking root around the world and it manifests itself as environmentalism or more explicitly, Pantheism, a doctrine identifying the Deity with the universe and its phenomena, Fundamentalist Environmentalism, if you will..........Making a reasoned argument to a Fundamentalist Environmentalist to harvest any of earth’s recourses is akin to asking a Christian to give up Jesus.

Xenophobic paranoia or teapot tempest • 3-08-2006In the uneasy climate after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration’s hasty decision to allow Dubai Ports World to purchase of operations of six U.S. ports is incomprehensible to most Americans...........It is regrettable that the administration didn't factor perception by the American people into their analysis. ..........

Bison Crossing River in Jackson Hole Wyoming
Bison Crossing River in Jackson Hole Wyoming

Media should ignore ‘work product3-01-2006 • Two bills being considered by the Wyoming Legislature that would prevent public access to government e-mail........What a nit picking world we have created where we feel the need to read the mail of others,.....

A Cellulosic Ethanol plant may be coming to Idaho Falls2-22-2006 • According the the Ottawa Sun, Iogen an Ottawa biotech firm who specializes in Cellulosic Ethanol is hoping to build a $350-million factory in Canada or Idaho Falls,......Supporters of alternative energy sources say that thanks to biotech breakthroughs, we may soon be able to produce ethanol easily and inexpensively.....

Let Natives have a PC bison hunt2-15-2006Let Natives have a PC bison hunt • Montana, Gov. Brian Schweitzer's office is planning on changing how bison that wander out of Yellowstone are managed. In recent weeks........... Imagine, the Griswold’s family vacation to Yellowstone while watching for moose, elk, and grizzly bear they happen upon a real live native American bison hunt,

Freudenthal - Alito - Bush - in the news2-08-2006Gov. Dave Freudenthal’s recent trip to Iraq included meetings with Wyoming troops, Gen. George Casey and Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. The following are some of the statements he made while there........Justice Alito has emerged unscathed at the end of the gauntlet hosted by the Senate Democrats much to the chagrin of America’s liberals ......President Bush in his state of the union speech said a couple of important things that need to be driven home: “I have authorized a terrorist ........

National Elk Refuge, Jackson Hole Wyoming
National Elk Refuge, Jackson Hole Wyoming

Ethanol - now is a good time1-25-2006 • Ethanol is a commercially proven renewable bio-fuel which is used as an additive to gasoline, either as an oxygenate additive as mandated by federal or state "clean air" programs, or as an octane enhancer or gasoline substitute. It is refreshing to know that fuel choice is on the horizon and it is in our grasp to write an obituary for foreign oil.....

High Mountain Heli-skiing under attack again!1-18-2006High Mountain Heli-skiing under attack again!Jon Shick of High Mountain Heli-skiing, the 12 good paying jobs that he provides and the $870,000 that 1, 200 heli-skier days would bring into our community are under attack again.......Once again I would like to thank the environmentalist community for marginalizing themselves by putting forth another imbecile's argument to further their anti multiple use agenda on our forests. Their red hearing about heli-ski operators scarring and stressing the wildlife living in snow deep enough that powder hounds pay $725.00 a day to ski it is amusing.

The Elk Feed Ground Conundrum1-11-2006 • Wyoming's elk feed grounds are coming under increasing scrutiny because the feed grounds crowd elk into unnaturally small areas which foster conditions that are conducive to the transmission of disease, this is why brucellosis is so common on feed grounds and game farms, and it is only a matter of time.........

Freudenthal Second Strike Legislation1-04-2006 • Governor Freudenthal has proposed legislation that will require sex offenders who target children to get life in prison with no parole upon their second conviction. But predictably Casper criminal defense attorney Mike Krampner in defense of his customer base......

Christmas Present12-21-2005Christmas Present • Growing up as a child in America, as all children, I loved the Christmas season, the Christmas tree, lights, lawn decorations, candy, mistletoe, cookies, Santa Claus, elves, reindeer and most of all presents, it was a magical time of year. It sure was a surprise at age 12 when I found out that........

 

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