Tunnel | Snow Harvesting | Human
Remains Found at Fremont Lake Campground
Governor Mead proposes
I-80 climate control tunnel
Governor Matt Mead is proposing to build a covered dome tunnel
the top of Interstate 80 from the Nebraska to Utah border to
'winter-free zone' along the state's major highway travel corridor. "We're
calling it the 'Keep Out Winter' Tunnel," the Governor
can't go through another winter like this," Governor
Mead said in a press conference on Friday, noting that I-80
in Wyoming has been closed 56 times the past winter. "We
can't even travel between Laramie and Cheyenne a lot of times.
worst of it, I-80 can be
shut down for days across Wyoming in the winter. We have
to get started on it right away."
Wyoming KOW Tunnel will be covered with a breathable, state-of
the art, highly durable translucent fabric borrowed from the
greenhouse industry to create a micro-climate environment that
temperatures inside even in
the coldest temperatures Wyoming winter can throw at it.
will stay consistently 70 degrees inside even if it is -50F
below outside in the dead of winter," said
Wyoming Department of Transportation Highway Engineer John
will breath to let fresh air in, but not the snow," he
said. The fabric is semi-transparent to allow travelers to
see the scenery and not miss the views and scenic landmarks
along the drive through Wyoming.
an ambitious endeavor, but we've analyzed all the economic factors,"
Governor Mead said. "We've calculated our costs for winter
snow removal along I-80 during the nine months of winter
and the devastating loss
Wyoming and national economy due to the shut down of the interstate
for even a few hours," the Governor said. "It will
initially add a
little more to the cost
but then we are convinced we'll make that all up within
just a few years by
eliminating the annual freeze-thaw and salting destruction of
the road pavement and gaining guaranteed traffic flow year-round
the KOW. Once we get the $1/mile/vehicle toll in place, it will
generate $5.6 million/day, $2 billion/year of additional revenue
State to help offset the construction cost."
will be working with the Wyoming Game & Fish Department to
incorporate numerous wildlife overpass bridges into the construction
"They're already building an arch, so it won't be too difficult
to make some of the sections into overpasses at known wildlife
crossing points along the interstate," said WYG&F spokesperson
and wildlife biologist Amy Morgan. "We calculated out the
cost of installing ten foot high non-jumpable fence along the
whole interstate corridor to reduce wildife collisions, and this
expensive than that would be," she said.
the moderate year-round climate, it will create a greenway
across the entire state which is inspiring frustrated Wyoming
gardeners with dreams of being able to take advantage of
a year-round growing
working with garden clubs in San Diego to bring in
palm trees to beautify the greenway," WYDOT engineer
Jones said. "It
will be a banana belt.
San Diego didn't have palm trees until they imported
them in the 1930s to create a tropical look for the town.
going to follow their example and learn from them to do that
in Wyoming too,"
Jones said. They plan to start with beautification landscaping
and then later will look into leasing narrow-strip plots
along the corridor for crop production. They already have
someone interested in starting banana tree farming and others
have contacted them about boosting the Wyoming-grown fruits
and vegetable industry.
new I-80 Wyoming KOW Tunnel already has people along the interstate
corridor super excited about the future. The Mayor of Rawlins
has proclaimed they have plans on the drawing board
to place an all-weather climate control dome over the entire
city to create a year-round pleasant environment. The
Town Council has voted to rename the city "Riviera,
once the dome is complete. They will
be relandscaping the entire town with a tropical
paradise theme. "We'll have summer year-round in Riviera,
and we'll be
every day," the
Mayor said. "We're so excited we'll actually be able to get
something to grow here and the wildlife won't come in and eat
it." They plan to also expand their golf course and
town. "We'll be able to have a
real fountain in town! Getting rid of winter will create
a whole new economy for us," the Mayor
sought comments from Presidential candidates on what they
thought of the ambitious new undertaking for the Wyoming KOW
Tunnel. Republican contender Donald Trump said, "I'd
build it bigger and taller
pay for it." Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders said, "We
need climate control tunnels in every state." Democratic
candidate Hillary Clinton responded, "Where's Wyoming?"
plans new 'snow harvesting' venture
Resources issued a press release Monday announcing they are
expanding their operations in Wyoming to begin a new division
of the company which will do "snow harvesting."
surprise announcement came as industry speculators wonder
how the company can navigate the downturn in the economy
with more and more federal government regulations that seem
businesses at every turn.
see the handwriting on the wall for everyone in the hydrocarbon
industry," Public Information Officer Joe Caldwell said.
they are getting rid of coal and oil, so we know we're next.
We need to diversify our product line to a different resource,
so now we'll be getting into snow harvesting to deliver much-needed
company revealed they have negotiated a billion $ contract
with the State of California to deliver snow to the Sierra
mountains, which is the source of much of the state's drinking
water and agricultural irrigation.
is a renewable resource that Wyoming has lots of nine months
of the year," Caldwell
is always trying to find a place to get rid of it in the
winter here in Wyoming. Global warming has significantly
reduced the snowpack in California, and this
will help solve that problem for them," he explained.
2015, the Sierra Nevada snow pack was the lowest it has
been in 500 years, according to scientific studies. "California
needs and wants
snow in their mountains and
Ultrah can deliver it," Caldwell said. "We expect
it to be hugely profitable and tide us through until the
picks up again."
company plans to bring back many of their subcontractor
heavy equipment operators who have been idle during the
economic slowdown. There are huge fleets that stand ready
to be put back to work with this new venture. "We're working
with all the truckers who are interested. No one needs to
travel west on the interstate with an empty truck anymore.
I-80 is like a giant conveyor belt for moving snow," Caldwell
company plans to operate on their existing leases across
Wyoming to harvest snow during the winter. "It will
have none of the split estate issues of oil and gas," Caldwell
said. "This is entirely a surface operation. We're also
working with WYDOT to snow harvest along highway right-of-ways
and snow fences across the state."
local area ranchers have begun to negotiate contracts to
lease out their ranches for snow harvesting
knows how to do all the government permitting and has the
network of contractors to work with," rancher Gordon
Michaels said. "They have connections with international
markets to ship snow that
will benefit all of Wyoming."
ranchers say they can make fairly simple modifications to
their haying equipment to convert
to making Compressed Natural Snow bales, which are more
economical to transport.
really excited to be able to jump into this new CNS industry
with Ultrah. We already work all hours, year-round, in the
best and worst of Wyoming weather anyway, so winter snow
harvesting is a perfect fit for us. Snow bales are clean
and all natural. It gives us another
revenue source to boost our winter ranching operations," Michaels
said it represents another example of the oil and gas industry
and the ranching community working together in a new cooperative
partnership that is mutually beneficial.
and Federal government officials haven't been as cooperative,
don't know how to tax it," Caldwell said.
to this point snow hasn't been considered a mineral. Government
officials are scrambling
trying to figure out who has the taxing authority over
snow. There are no regulations over snow harvesting on federal
leases or on private ground. There has been some talk
of folding it in and creating a new Wyoming Oil, Gas and
Commission, but the State Engineer's Office has raised
questions over the matter.
commented he was sure government would eventually catch up
with it all and work out the CNS tax issue. "They always
find a way to get their cut, but with the profit we are already
seeing with this readily available
everyone." He added that private
industry can be much more nimble than government to use
the entrepreneural spirit to innovate and take advantage
of new market opportunities. And, he added, "We are
thrilled we don't have to worry about the moose and elk
Human remains found at the entrance of the Fremont
Hikers found what appeared to be the remains of two campers
in front of the locked gates of the Fremont Lake Campground.
studies confirm the remains are human and multiple leads
on the scene indicate the campers have been waiting since
the summer of 2014 for the campground to open.
Careful examination of the evidence surrounding the scene
indicate these campers were planning an extended stay. The
majority of their gear and provisions appear to have been purchased
campground was closed the fall of 2013 for upgrades and disagreement
between the Forest Service and their contractor
have prevented completion and reopening.
for these two un-happy campers, the end result was tragedy,"