'Blocking out' eclipse meeting

Chamber sets meeting to discuss logistics of solar eclipse weekend

 


The Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce is hosting a meeting at 4:30 p.m. May 24 at the Platte Valley Community Center to help prepare local government agencies for a busy August weekend.

On Aug. 21, a solar eclipse will plunge a broad swath of central Wyoming into total darkness. Across the state, hotels are booked solid for the astronomical event and two Valley events—the Steinley Cup Brew Fest and a large wedding—could bring significant crowds into the Valley, posing challenges for local authorities.

The Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce will host a meeting to bring together stakeholders to prepare a plan to deal with the possible crowds.

Mayors and clerks of Valley towns, police, fire, EMS officials have been invited, as have representatives of the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office and local media representatives.

The meeting will be a time for stakeholders to discuss issues such as managing trash, sanitation, camping and public safety concerns.

Such concerns could be quite significant, depending on the numbers of visitors that come to the Valley on the eclipse weekend.

Due to the eclipse, Casper hotels have been fully booked for almost a year, according to the Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce. Rawlins, while not in the epicenter of the event, is also reporting that 100 percent of hotel rooms are booked for the weekend.

Saratoga hotels are also booked solid for the weekend, according to the chamber.

The eclipse coincides with the Steinley Cup Microbrew Festival in Saratoga which is scheduled for Aug. 19-20. There is also a large wedding scheduled for that weekend, according to the chamber.

Between those large events and overflow bookings for the eclipse, crowds in the valley could be quite significant and local agencies and businesses should be prepared to handle large crowds, Stacy Crimmins of the Chamber, said in an email.

Across the state and the nation, other localities are also preparing for an influx of visitors during the eclipse. The eclipse will be visible in a band of the country stretching from Oregon to South Carolina.

In the Wyoming epicenter of the eclipse—stretching from Jackson to Casper to near Torrington—the earth will be in darkness for about three minutes. The eclipse will begin in the west and will be first visible in Wyoming around 11:36 a.m., and will transit out of the state in the east near Torrington at about 11:48 a.m. according to NASA.

Towns in the Valley are not in the total eclipse zone, but the event will be about 97 percent visible from Saratoga and 96 percent visible in Riverside and Encampment.

 

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