Props and Disses

By on July 10, 2014
A mule deer scoots under barbed-wire. Photo: Wyoming Migration Initiative. 

A mule deer scoots under barbed-wire.
Photo: Wyoming Migration Initiative.

Prop: Support a path of least resistance

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Biologists working on the study of migration routes of mule deer, pronghorn and elk need every bit of support they can get. The more we learn about our ungulate companions, the more we are awed at their ability to move in concert to an age-old drumbeat.

The migratory route between Yellowstone and the Red Desert is just now being fully understood thanks to observation and hi-tech tracking data. This corridor narrows at times – at Daniel, WY, in particular – to the point where it is in danger of being choked off.  Hotspots also exist that force great herds across dangerous highways.

The Wyoming Migration Initiative ( needs your support. Planning future development – and there will be build up, yes, even in Daniel – AROUND these sensitive routes, leaving them as intact as possible, will be crucial to protecting these species.

Mule deer, pronghorn, and the other species like the lynx and sage grouse will eventually end up saving ourselves from ourselves. Oil and gas greed, subdivision development overgrowth, will all be kept in check if we make protecting these great herds a priority.

Diss: Rental compromise: Everybody out of the pool

Who came up with this idea? The only thing worse than a decision made by authorities that pisses off one side for the sake of the other, is a lukewarm compromise that rankles everyone.

Faced with a tough call, our political leaders chicken out too often. Sure, during a campaign season they can be wishy-washy, but once you’re in and looking at a comfortable four years, take a stand, will ya? The American people (and that includes Teton County) at least appreciate someone who speaks their mind, has a definitive agenda and stance, and sticks to their guns. We won’t all ever agree on short-term housing rentals, for instance, but we would be inclined to respect an opinion formed by a politician that took a side and argued his/her case.

This option of allowing homeowners to rent their place to noisy vacationers for one week out of every month is a classic “lose-lose” scenario. Property owners and those companies who feed off them by playing the VRB(lott)O, don’t feel they are getting enough. It isn’t hard to see that one coming. Neighbors of vacation party homes who thought they were buying into a community, not a Holiday Inn Express, also don’t like the decision. They will still be woken in the middle of the night by an impromptu barbecue and creative parking, they just don’t know which week that will be.

Hotels and motels can’t be too happy, either. Lodging facilities count on summer to make their hay. To have illegal rentals going on at rates they can’t touch isn’t fair. VRBOs don’t pay for advertising, permits, and, in many cases, don’t collect sales tax or lodging tax. Or at least they don’t report it.

Even stakeholders without a dog in the fight are compromised with this non-decision. Enforcement falls to understaffed town and county departments whose employee’s lives are made that much harder trying to determine which month had its week, and what about weeks that span a calendar month?

Just outlaw these rentals. They destroy neighborhoods, encourage homeowners with no vested interest in the valley, change the playing field for legitimate lodging facilities, and push potential renters (known as the workforce) into the woods.

Diss: ‘Can you hear us now?’

Will the county just put a cell tower in already? It’s obvious we’ll never find a subdivision or neighborhood that wants to live under the shadow of one. Forest land will require years of mandatory bureaucracy. The only solution is putting one on county land. It’s high time. Cell coverage in the valley is awful and with all the tourists clogging the bandwidth it’s even worse now.

Make it 120 feet. Disguise it as a spruce, a pine, or a Chinese flag. Just make it happen so I can call home and say, “You’ll never believe it…”

About Jake Nichols

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