EcoWatch

Richard Wilson, Brian Gorsage and Sean Strayed use guy-wires to temporarily stabilize a Gazex counterweight during the 2015 installation of two new exploders in Twin Slides on Mount Glory. WYDOT will replace the remaining two Gazex pipes starting Wednesday.

Avy exploders to be upgraded

The Wyoming Department of Transportation starts work Wednesday to complete the overhaul of the Gazex avalanche mitigation infrastructure on the north side of Teton Pass.

The exploders, located on the south face of the Bridger-Teton National Forest’s Mount Glory, date to the 1990s and are being replaced with newer equipment. Two of the propane-fed pipes were replaced in 2015, and the remaining two are being swapped out this year. Work replacing the old infrastructure is slated to occur through Aug. 4, then pause before resuming Sept. 2-10.

Along the highway, WYDOT crews will stage on the uphill side of the currently snow-free Glory avalanche path. The area, near mile marker 10, will be closed during the project.

WYDOT will also fly a helicopter to transport materials on July 28, causing intermittent traffic delays.

The Mount Glory’s Gazex avalanche control system has been in place for three decades and helps keep a commuter route used by thousands daily, Highway 22, open throughout the winter. The large crook-necked pipes that are positioned at the upper end of the Twin Slides and Glory slide paths detonate a mixture of propane and oxygen.

Fence pull set for Saturday

The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation’s “wildlife friendlier” fencing projects continue this weekend with a three-strand barbwire removal effort on private land north of Jackson.

Participants are convening at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Gros Ventre Junction parking lot east of the roundabout and then convoying for 10 minutes to reach the site. Getting to the 0.7-mile-long obsolete fence line requires a short but steep hike.

Organizers ask that participants bring a mask or other face covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sunglasses or eyeglasses are also a must because of the nature of the work.

RSVP by emailing jhwffencepull@gmail.com.

Dam objection period opens

The Bridger-Teton National Forest is accepting objections to a proposed dam investigation project that will require a 5-mile motorized trek into the Bridger Wilderness.

A geotechnical survey of the Silver Lake Dam, which predates the wilderness, would be conducted in late summer or early fall. The noncompliant “high hazard” earthen dam has not been altered since 1953 and has substantially deteriorated.

Bridger-Teton officials have signed off on an environmental assessment and draft decision to allow a tracked CME-850 Drill Rig and a tracked Cat 312 excavator to drive 4.7 miles into the wilderness on the same route used in the 1950s, when the dam was last repaired.

Objections are due by Aug. 27. Only people, organizations and agencies that commented on the Bridger-Teton’s plans previously are eligible to object. Only the Wyoming Game and Fish Department commented and thus is eligible to object, according to an environmental assessment for the Silver Lake Dam project.

Custer-Gallatin plan is out

After four years of planning, the Custer-Gallatin National Forest has released its revised forest plan.

The overarching document guides forest management, use and protection of the 3.1-million-acre forest, which encompasses the northern end of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Preparation of the plan included 62 public meetings, 40 webinars and two official public comment periods.

Custer-Gallatin officials are hosting three webinars Thursday — at 10:30 a.m., 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. — to answer questions about their final plan. Go to USFS.adobeconnect.com/cgfpr-500.

—Compiled by Mike Koshmrl

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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