CASPER, Wyo. — Tribal officials on Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation are preparing for visitors looking for a prime spot to view next month’s solar eclipse by blocking off sacred sites and opening parts of the reservation to campers willing to pay $500 for a permit.
More than 10,000 people are expected to come to Fremont County and the reservation, whose Crowheart community is on the centre line of the Aug. 21 eclipse, The Star Tribune reported.
Some residents of the reservation, such as Crowheart Store owner Lloyd Haslam, are underwhelmed by the fact that their location is one of the best spots in the 14 states where the moon’s passage will completely block the sun.
Haslam will keep additional supplies and gas on hand — his is the only service stop for miles — but he’s skeptical that more than a few people will actually buy the $500 camping permits.
“I’ve had people all summer talking about it as tourist people come in and stuff,” he said. “Heck, I could care less.”
Two casinos on the reservation are offering eclipse packages and lodging, while a non-profit organization is offering teepee stays.
Three swaths of land will be open to people who buy camping permits for the week leading up to the eclipse. Viewing the eclipse for the reservation’s side roads also will require a day permit.
However, tribal officials warn the camping areas won’t have garbage cans or toilets. It’s strictly pack out what you pack in, said Art Lawson, the Shoshone and Arapaho Fish and Game director.
Lawson is in charge of most of the eclipse planning on the reservation, and he’s only been on the job for three weeks.
He figures it would take 20 or 30 game wardens to adequately patrol the reservation’s lands. He’ll have just three, plus officers brought in from Montana by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Lawson said he plans to put up signs to tell travellers that the open spaces bordering state roads are private land requiring special permission to access. He also plans to block off some of the more sensitive sacred sites and graves.
He has already had to deny a German film crew’s plans to film the eclipse from a spot on Crowheart Butte.
“I’m like, ‘No, absolutely not,’ “ Lawson said. “There are grave sites and everything around Crowheaert Butte.”