The West

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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

Flag a Fence, Save a Sage-Grouse

"THE SNAP, SNAP, SNAP of plastic tags being popped onto barbed-wire fence echoes across the vast expanse of eastern Montana’s sagebrush steppe as young volunteers—and potential future conservationists—sweat in the sun with a common purpose: to save greater sage-grouse."

How Two Senators, a Swiss Philanthropist, and Secretary Zinke Could Unlock America’s Only Inaccessible Wilderness

"There’s a 16,000-acre wilderness in Northern New Mexico that’s full of turkeys, mule deer, and elk (it’s even rumored to hold trophy aoudad). What’s more, this rugged wilderness of deep canyons, cottonwood river bottoms, and mesas has seen hardly any hunting pressure for at least a decade. The nearest city (Las Vegas, N.M., population 13,285) is a good 50 miles away."

"But there’s a catch to this backcountry hunter’s paradise, and it’s a big one."

"Right now, the Sabinoso Wilderness is completely inaccessible to the public—it’s the only designated wilderness in the country that you can’t get to. The area is surrounded by private land (since it’s designated wilderness, you can’t even helicopter in if you wanted to)."

"This wilderness could be unlocked, possibly in time for this fall’s hunting season, with a signature from the Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke. One of the ranches bordering the Sabinoso Wilderness was sold to the Wilderness Land Trust for $3 million, and the Trust intends to donate that land to the Bureau of Land Management in order to open access to the public."

‘What Would You Do?’ Author Wants To Stop Sensationalizing The Donner Party

"Tales from the American West are marked by heroism, romance and plenty of cruelty. Among those stories, the saga of the Donner Party stands alone — a band of pioneers set out in covered wagons for California, and eventually, stranded, snowbound and starving, resorted to cannibalism."

"Author Michael Wallis says the story of Donner Party has been sensationalized over the years. His new book chronicles the journey from its beginning, illuminating the challenges the families faced and the fatal error that set them on a tragic course — accepting bad advice that an uncharted shortcut would ease their passage to California. About half of the party survived."

June 9, 1972 Black Hills flood

"The Black Hills Flood of 1972, also known as the Rapid City Flood, was one of the most detrimental floods in the history of South Dakota. It took place on June 9–10, 1972 in the Black Hills of Western South Dakota. 15 inches (380 mm) of rainfall over six hours sent Rapid Creek and other waterways overflowing, flooding many residential and commercial properties in Rapid City. It also caused flooding of Battle, Spring, Bear Butte, and Boxelder Creeks."

"During the night of June 9, Canyon Lake Dam became clogged with debris and failed, resulting in 238 deaths and 3,057 injuries. Several bodies were never found. Over 1,335 homes and 5,000 automobiles were destroyed. The value of the damaged property was over US $160 million in 1972 dollars."

Boulder falls from Rimrocks, clips car in Billings

"A boulder fell from the Rimrocks on Thursday night and struck a car, according to the Billings Police Department."

"The driver of the vehicle was on North 27th Street driving toward the airport when they were struck, said BPD Sgt. Clyde Reid. The driver was uninjured and the car had minor damage, Reid said."

"The boulder, described as roughly half the size of a passenger car, fell on 27th a few hundred yards north of Rimrock Road at about 8 p.m. and came to rest in the middle of the road, Reid said."