Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Cindy Glasson
Reporter Photographer 

Solar eclipse planning continues


Sub-committees are now being formed within the solar eclipse planning committee to fast-track some of the items before the celestial event coming August 21.

Hot Springs County Emergency Management Coordinator Bill Gordon dispersed a special event plan to members of the committee last week that included a list of action items, suggesting sub-committees could work on the individual pieces quicker and more in depth, reporting back to the main group at each of the monthly meetings.

One of the sub-committees will be communications.

A communications plan is currently underway, but the sub-committee will oversee things like additional programming for emergency services. It is going to be crucial to have adequate communications between law enforcement, fire and ambulance, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), State Parks and other entities.

The BLM, Forest Service and State Parks will be stretched pretty thin covering the county, so it has been suggested that search and rescue personnel and perhaps even road and bridge employees could be placed in marked vehicles in designated areas to kind of keep an eye on things.

Having “eyes on the ground” could have a two-fold advantage – keeping people from doing things they shouldn’t due to the visibility of marked vehicles and they will be able to report back to main operations if there really is an emergency or if “someone suspicious” is really just a family having a picnic in an area they shouldn’t be in.

The committee is going to approach the county commissioners about supplementing the cost of fuel for those days to help alleviate strain on the individual budgets.

Fred Crosby, assistant to the mayor, was in attendance at the meeting and fielded some questions that would need to be under the purvey of the Town of Thermopolis rather than Hot Springs County.

One of the questions for Crosby was the need for extra dumpsters around the downtown area, something Crosby indicated would probably not be a problem. Port-a-potties on the other hand could be an issue. Crosby said he doubted there were any available anywhere in Wyoming for that week.

In addition, it was suggested the hours for spots to eliminate RV waste be extended during the event to allow visitors extra time to use the facility in the hope they will use the dump station rather than other means.

Crosby did say the town code currently does not allow camping, either by tent or RV, outside designated RV parks. The town council is considering a resolution that would allow dry camping during the week of the eclipse.

The town, however, does have some concerns about water use during the eclipse.

With so many extra people in town, staying at hotels and campgrounds, eating out and so forth, it could possibly put a strain on the water plant.

To that end, the council is also considering some kind of watering restrictions to take some of the pressure off.

Chamber Director MeriAnn Rush let the group know the chamber will be adding information on the eclipse and services available in the county to their website.

One of the items will be a “drop down” menu listing all of the accommodations available in town, including any possible hotel rooms and RV or camping spaces as well as any homes or rooms in their homes that individuals may have for rent during the week.

There will also be a list of events going on in the area for folks to enjoy, any business specials and things like the breakfasts and box lunches that will be available through the Senior Citizens Center and the ArtStroll, which is being moved to the Friday before the eclipse.


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