Eclipse Safety Tips
Wyoming’s Wind River Country has all the best ingredients of an unforgettable solar-eclipse experience. However, there are some risk-management factors we would like you to keep in mind so that our shared eclipse adventure is as enjoyable as possible for all!
Eye safety: Do not look directly at the sun except during the brief period of totality—when the sun is totally blocked. Use eclipse-viewing safety glasses, shadow devices, or even a welder’s hat. Take the time to review NASA’s eye-safety tips.
Trespassing: We have millions of acres of wide-open spaces for eclipse viewing, but not all of them are public land and an open gate does not necessarily mean anyone can enter. It is your responsibility to know land ownership, to heed trespass laws, and to care for the public lands you use in the manner expected. You can find maps of land ownership with an app like OnXMaps, on a GPS and through local agencies like the Wyoming State Lands, Wyoming BLM, and Wyoming Forest Service.
-When using public lands, remember to leave no trace of your presence.
Navigation: Don’t rely on your phone or car GPS for navigation. It is not uncommon for visitors become lost because they only used their phones to navigate. Pick up a county or state map at a local store or Chamber of Commerce, or ask for directions to check your route.
-Not all roads are paved or even in good condition out here. Travel with water, food, extra layers, and a spare tire, especially if you plan on getting off the more popular routes.
Location: Be sure you always know your location—travel within your capabilities and those of your vehicle.
-Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
-If you do have to call 9-1-1, please state your location first. Our dispatchers are dispersed across the county, and if they are overloaded your call may go elsewhere in the state. The first bit of information to relay to the dispatcher is your location.
Fire safety: August is peak fire season in Wind River Country, and your car, your cigarette, and your campfire could all easily start a wildfire.
-Don’t park your car (or leave it running) on grass. Instead, park in designated camping, parking, or viewing areas.
-Don’t toss cigarettes.
-Thoroughly douse any campfire, and make sure your campfire is legal—they are banned in many locations.
Altitude: Wind River Country’s elevation ranges from 5,000 feet to nearly 14,000 feet. If you are not acclimated, be sure to drink lots of water and don’t over-exert yourself. Know the warning signs of altitude sickness.
-The altitude also means the sun’s rays are harsher; wear sunscreen, long-sleeved shirts, hats, and pants.
Bears: Take appropriate bear-safety steps, including food storage regulations and carrying (and knowing how to use) bear spray.
Snakes and bugs: Take precautions to protect yourself from mosquitoes and rattlesnakes.
Wind River Indian Reservation
To use public lands for fishing, camping, hiking, boating, or picnicking on the Wind River Indian Reservation, all people not enrolled in the Eastern Shoshone or Northern Arapaho Tribes must obtain a Wind River Indian Reservation Tribal Fishing License, essentially an entrance permit. This license is available numerous retail locations across Wind River Country. Contact the Tribal Game and Fish with any questions at (307) 332-7207. The Wind River Indian Reservation is home to many people. Please be respectful of their property and traditions by asking before taking photographs, knowing and obeying laws surrounding landmarks and destinations, and respecting culture and the land.
Wyoming has 3.5 million acres of State land, also called “State trust lands” and “school trust lands.” These are multi-use lands open and free to the public, but there are some rules to abide. Off-road vehicle use, overnight camping, and open fires are prohibited on State land. All motor vehicles must remain on established roads. Cultivated croplands on State lands are not open to public use. The privilege of using State lands can be lost, so respecting the laws surrounding these areas ensures future generations will be able enjoy events like the Wind River Eclipse in the same places. Learn more and to find places of State land ownership for your viewing plans at the Office of the State Lands website.
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees a large block of public land within the path of totality. Recreation is allowed in these areas, but please spread out and minimize your impact. We encourage visitors to check land status maps, GPS tools, and the Fremont County Assessor’s Office to be sure you are, in fact, on public lands. The rugged nature of BLM lands demands high clearance vehicles with tough tires. Vehicles must stay on established roads and obey all posted signs. The BLM does not provide public services within the path of totality, so expect to be self-contained. Prepare for varied weather by bringing lots of water, sunscreen, and seasonally appropriate clothing. Many places on BLM lands do not have cell phone coverage, so emergency response is very limited. Plan ahead and prepare, and let someone know your itinerary. For information, contact the BLM Lander Field Office at (307) 332-8400.
photo by Audrey Krise