I love end-of-the-year articles. Whether they are “Top 10” movies, the best car chases, the Darwin Awards or even the influential people who die, I simply enjoy looking back at the year that was.
In that spirit, I would like to offer my own list of seven significant events for 2013 and happenings in our beautiful corner of the world.
Sequestration threatens to delay opening of Yellowstone. In the spring we started hearing rumblings that budget cuts would result in delays of opening some of the roads heading into Yellowstone National Park. Of particular concern was that the east gate would open some two-three weeks later than normal so that the sun could melt the snow instead of National Park Service crews plowing the roads.
In demonstrating a typical Western “Can Do” attitude, a campaign spearheaded by our Chamber of Commerce raised enough money to pay for Wyoming state road crews to plow from the east gate up and over Sylvan Pass until they met the NPS crews working their way toward us.
The Prince of Monaco comes to town. In September Monaco’s Prince Albert II came to town to present the Camp Monaco Prize to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his great grandfather’s visit. The first Prince Albert came to Cody in September, 1913 to go hunting at the invitation of Buffalo Bill.
The hunting party camped in the area near Buffalo Bill’s hunting lodge, Pahaska Teepee at the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park beyond the western end of the Wapiti Valley.
25 years since the big fires. It’s hard to believe, but this past summer marked 25 years since the forest fires of 1988 burned hundreds of thousands of acres in and around Yellowstone Park. While it was certainly costly at the time, we learned a tremendous amount about fire ecology, letting fires burn and just what constitutes a healthy forest.
The Cody Nite Rodeo reaches a milestone. Everybody loves milestone birthdays, and 75 is always a good number. Our very own Cody Nite Rodeo certainly did not act like a senior citizen as it entered its second 75 years. I cannot wait until he turns 100.
Government shutdown closes the park. This time around there was little we could do about the gates being locked and the park closing. When the deep thinkers closed the federal government, national parks were a casualty. The only good news was that the shutdown occurred at the end of the summer season when many services and most of the hotels inside the park were winding down anyway. Some travelers made their way to our town and discovered just how much we had to offer.
Local gal wins national crown. Our own Ashlee Lundvall was named “Ms. Wheelchair U.S.A.” Ashlee was paralyzed in 1999 when she was 16, but that has not stopped her from becoming involved in the Wyoming Disabled Hunters program and enjoying camping, riding all-terrain vehicles and kayaking the Buffalo Bill Reservoir. Ashlee is married to Russ Lundvall who grew up in Cody, and the two are proud parents of a two-year-old daughter – Addison.
Park County welcomes visitors. Okay, so this is more of an ongoing occurrence, but the fine folks of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as the rest of Park County opened their hearts to travelers from all corners of the world. Once again we demonstrated that our brand of hospitality is one reason so many people choose to come and vacation here.
I salute my fellow townspeople and neighbors and wish you all a prosperous and happy New Year. I have no doubt that we will achieve our goals together and that we will continue the tradition of making this area a world-class destination.
Until next time, I’m looking forward to a great 2014.