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This Bears Repeating – Only You Can...

August 23rd, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

As a long-time resident of Cody, Wyoming, I am surrounded by heroes. From the driven professionals who teach our children to the dedicated and selfless staff of our police, fire and other public-service departments, there is a huge population of heroes among us.

That fact has become abundantly clear recently as skilled and dedicated firefighters battle wildfires in Yellowstone National Park and along the North Fork of the Shoshone River. As sometimes happens in the late summer, lightning-caused fires occur, and the trifecta of high temperatures, high winds and low humidity can increase the danger of those fires spreading.

The National Park Service reminds us that fires play a natural role in the ecosystem, and firefighters manage each fire based on current and predicted conditions as well as risk to structures. Lightning causes many wildfires, but from time to time there will be human-caused fires as well.

The National Park Service reminds us that wildfires play a natural role in the ecosystem.

Firefighters who continue to put their lives at risk as they protect ours are my heroes. I hope you’ll join me in thanking the many smokejumpers, pilots, hotshot crews and other skilled professionals that help to protect us.

Who doesn’t remember Smokey Read More

All Play, No Work on Labor Day

August 15th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

The Labor Day weekend in Cody, Wyoming marks the end of our beloved nightly Cody Nite Rodeo and a few other attractions, but it also is the beginning of a super special time of the year: the fall travel season. And by this time of the year, Cody residents look forward to the season with excitement.

As a patriotic American citizen, I believe it is my solemn duty to spend the entire weekend playing and avoiding work of any kind. Some of my neighbors who have what I believe is a marginally unhealthy devotion to weed-whackers and pruning shears may not agree with me. But even if my garden needs dead-heading, my tomatoes need canning and my refrigerator needs fumigating, I’m taking the weekend off to play.

In celebration of the new season, I typically plan my three-day Labor Day weekend around some of Cody’s authentic Western experiences. But I try not to over-plan. That would be too much work.

On Saturday morning, I’m going fishing. Early. So early, in fact, that my favorite breakfast place in town won’t be open yet. But that’s the best time to enjoy the quiet and clean fresh air of our authentic mountain region. Last Labor Day Read More

Looking for a Place to Retire

August 9th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I’m seriously considering retirement.

I know what you’re thinking. Why would someone who’s obviously decades too young and in better shape than most of our Olympic athletes be thinking of hanging up her spurs?

Well, like one of my favorite cowboy musicians likes to sing “If you wait for the dinner bell to ring to wash your hands, you end up with leftovers. And that’s how I met you.”

Since retirement won’t happen immediately, I thought I should do some research to find a great town in which to spend my golden years. And the many years leading up to them.

So, here are my criteria for where I want to live and not work.

Friendly locals. “Good morning,” “Thank you” and “Excuse me” go a long way in my world, even if you don’t know someone. In my retirement destination, my off-leash dog will be scratched behind her ears instead of being the cause for a call to the dog catcher.

Cody Chamber of Commerce hosts a free pancake breakfast every spring.

Friendly visitors. Most people traveling in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country are curious and open to conversation. My landing spot will attract the same type of visitor.

Entertainment. Since Dan Miller’s wife probably won’t let Read More

Another Species Makes a Comeback

August 2nd, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

One of my favorite weasels has returned home to Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country.

That’s right, some 35 black-footed ferrets were just released on two ranches near one of my favorite towns. Meeteetse (“Today is brought to you by the letter combination ‘ee’”) is known for its cowboy chocolatier and the old bank that never was robbed because Butch Cassidy kept his money there.

It’s also the closest town to the Lazy BV ranch where in 1981 a dog named Shep showed up with a dead animal. Ranch owner John Hogg contacted the authorities because this dead animal was so unusual. It turns out this was a black-footed ferret that many wildlife biologists thought had gone extinct.

Over the next five years, biologists rounded up the ferrets and started a captive breeding program near Fort Collins, Colorado.

As ferret populations have grown, wildlife biologists have released them in groups at 24 sites throughout the American West and in Canada and Mexico. I first saw one of these sites in Badlands National Park, and I am so happy that they are now closer to home.

In a way, this is a homecoming for the ferrets. Those 35 critters have been released on the Lazy BV ranch and Read More

Corrie’s Cool-Down Strategy

July 26th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Well, here we are in late July, and there’s a heat wave that has hit many parts of the country. Cody too. It’s been in the 80s and 90s for several weeks now, and a few of my friends have gotten a little cranky.

Not me, though. Summer is a terrific time to play in Yellowstone Country, and I’m not going to waste my summer months dwelling on Mother Nature’s heat. When it gets hot, I simply implement “Corrie’s Cool-Down Strategy.”

Here’s my strategy in a nutshell:

This may seem obvious, but save most outdoor play for early mornings and evenings. That’s an easy thing to do when you live in a recreational mecca like Yellowstone Country. My favorite early-morning activity is fishing for blue-ribbon trout in one of the region’s well-stocked rivers or streams. The temperature along the water tends to be slightly lower than in town, and just walking along a secluded, wooded trail to a favorite fishing hole is enough to start my day with a smile and spring in my step.

Fishing is a great way to keep cool.

Stay active. In northwestern Wyoming — with its enthralling and ever-changing landscape of rocks and rivers, forests and valleys, mountains and Read More

An Ongoing Mission

July 19th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Comments (2)

A trip to Heart Mountain WWII Japanese American Internment Center is always a very emotional outing for me. It’s one thing to read about historical events or view serious documentaries, but when you visit sites where those events actually occurred or meet people who lived there, the true meanings hit home.

Many times I have taken friends or relatives – even nieces and nephews who would prefer a trip to the pool – to Heart Mountain and have encountered people who actually lived there. They are often visiting with their own friends and family. Invariably I am struck by their strength of character and ability to remember the injustices without allowing bitterness to overtake them. I keep expecting them to hold me responsible, but they never do.

Last week was a convergence of reality and fantasy, television characters and real-life people.

You’re probably familiar with the actor George Takei who played Sulu on the original Star Trek television show and later in some of the movies. If you spend much time on social media, you may know that Takei has developed a following for his very funny posts and memes that show up on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere.

There was not a lot of Read More

Dirty Talk in Yellowstone Country

July 12th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Sometimes you need to get dirty, and in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country, that’s pretty easy to accomplish.

Although I was as carefully coiffed as every other cowgirl dancing at Cassie’s last Saturday night, a few hours before I was demonstrating my finesse dancing the Cowboy Cha Cha, I was climbing multiple pitches of sandstone and limestone in the Shoshone River Canyon. I was a dusty, sweaty, nail-cracked mess, and I was as happy as a frolicking wolf pup on a sunny winter day.

After I cleaned up, administered a quick mani and pulled on my best dancing boots, I took one look at my overflowing laundry hamper full of dirty socks and UV-protectant shirts and realized I do this Cinderella-inspired quick-change routine quite often. At least a couple of times a week.

Enjoy a bike ride in the Beartooth mountains.

That’s because there are a whole lot of ways to get dirty in Yellowstone Country. In the last few weeks I’ve been horseback riding near Cedar Mountain, whitewater rafting on the Shoshone River, fishing for cutthroat trout in the Greybull River, mountain biking in the Beartooth Mountains, zip lining at Sleeping Giant Ski Area and hiking through the Absarokas.

The scenery just can’t Read More

Nothing If Not Flexible

July 6th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I’m a terrific aunt. At least that’s what I like to tell myself. And every summer when little darlings come to visit Aunt Corrie here Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country, I put together a perfectly paced itinerary, with a balance of educational and cultural experiences and outdoor adventures so when they return to my sister’s house they’ll have a renewed appreciation for Cody and this bountiful region of northwestern Wyoming.

Because they adore me, and because Aunt Corrie knows best, the kids have always dutifully followed the itineraries with enthusiasm. Until this year.

Turns out these one-time knee-biters are now near-teens, and they have opinions on what we should do and where we should go. Plus, they already know a lot about the region.

For example, when we were driving home from the airport, I shared “did you knows” about the area, as I always do. “Did you know, kids, that the town of Cody is 120 years old this year?” “Of course, Aunt Corrie. And did you know that Buffalo Bill would be 170 years old this year?” I swear I heard giggling from the back seat. That’s when I knew that Aunt Corrie was no longer in charge.

The next day, I took Read More

The Call and the Drama of Wapiti Valley

June 29th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Last weekend I visited – again — the new Buffalo Bill Center of the West exhibit called “Invisible Boundaries: Exploring Yellowstone’s Great Animal Migrations.” The exhibit is a fitting addition to the Draper Museum of Natural History’s focus on the Great Yellowstone Ecosystem. Although the exhibit opened May 30, I’ve already been there three times.

Thoughtfully presented with stunning photographs and video, interactive migration maps and original artwork, the exhibition shows the migration patterns of not only the wildlife of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem but other species like monarch butterflies and humpback whales and the elusive cowboy music group Los Calientes as well.

The Draper Natural History Museum connects you with nature in Cody/Yellowstone Country.

Then, with the wildlife of Greater Yellowstone on my mind, I drove through Wapiti Valley in the hopes of observing one of my favorite wildlife species in the area – elk — which can often be seen from the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway, the road that leads from Cody to the East Gate of Yellowstone. The name of the valley is the Shawnee and Cree word for elk – meaning white rump – which I think is a perfect name, because elk are plentiful in the Read More

You Shoulda Knocked, Shia

June 21st, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Dang. I wish I would have thought of something this fun. Then again, I am not the movie star I most definitely should be and would probably not get the attention.

So, what am I yammering on about this week?

Part-time bad boy, part-time actor, occasional shaver and full-time hottie Shia Lebeouf (sounds like the anti-Dan Miller, except for the hottie part) along with his creative compadres Nastja Rönkkö, and Luke Turner are in the middle of a 30-day performance art project called “Take me Anywhere.” The trio posts coordinates of their location and invites someone to pick them up and, well, take them to a destination for whatever activity they want.

There are some limits, of course.

They started last month in Boulder, Colo. and headed north where one of my friends in Fort Collins tried to be the one who picked up the hitchhikers to help him finish his basement. I have no idea if they have any carpentry, plumbing or electrical skills.

They headed east toward the Black Hills and doubled back to Denver and into the mountains before turning south and east again. They have been to Arizona, Florida, New Orleans, Chicago, the mid-Atlantic and then Read More