SCWEMS and the Divide


The Encampment Town Council Met Thursday and saw its regular meeting dominated by issues related to the South Central Wyoming Emergency Medical Services (SCWEMS) and the opportunity to be a Continental Divide gateway community.

After taking care of routine business, Jeb Steward, Chair of SCWEMS, spent about 20 minutes updating the council on the goings on at SCWEMS.

Steward was appointed as Encampment’s representative to SCWEMS at the May 12 council meeting. At that meeting, Steward accepted the appointment telling the council that SCWEMS was important to him, and that he had helped with the organization’s creation while a member of the Wyoming Legislature between 2007-2012.

At his first SCWEMS meeting, Steward was appointed chair of the SCWEMS board. Steward said he returned to Encampment to update the board on issues facing SCWEMS and the measures taken since May to address those issues.

“A lot of the problems I have been working on since I was appointed as chair at my first darn meeting were structural problems, Steward said. “It didn’t take long to realize that many of these problems could be traced back to those structural problems.”

The structural problems were mostly personnel issues such as employees of SCWEMS also being on the board, Steward said. Another issue was how the board was set up to manage daily activities, which is different from most other joint powers boards set up only to oversee policy and fiduciary issues.

“We wanted to see more board members who were not employees,” Steward said, saying that the board is now composed of seven members, four of whom are not employees. The board will also hire a person to handle the more time consuming tasks.

Steward also announced a program to recognize employers who allow SCWEMS volunteers to take time off work for emergency duties (see story below).

The Town council also heard from local resident John Farr about the opportunity to be a gateway community to the Continental Divide Trail.

The 3,100-mile-long trail is 50 years old this year, Farr said, and the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, a nonprofit, is looking for towns to become gateway communities.

Only three communities in the state qualify, Farr said: Encampment/Riverside, Rawlins and DuBois. Being a gateway community offers possible economic advantages to gateway communities as those hiking the trail will be made aware of those communities and their amenities.

The town of Riverside and Encampment, should they apply to be a gateway community, would receive signage and publicity on the coalition’s website.

Earlier, Farr had approached the Riverside council and pitched the opportunity there. In that meeting, he told Riverside officials that the town would have to hold an annual special event to commemorate the trail. Farr said he planned to ask the Encampment-Riverside Lion’s Club if it would allow such an event to “piggyback” on the annual Woodchoppers’ Jamboree.

By Thursday, Farr said he spoke to the Lion’s Club, which indicated it was amenable to sponsoring the event as part of Woodchoppers’ Jamboree.

The town council members showed interested in pursuing gateway community status and told Farr to let the council know whatever he needed.

The council then dealt with routine matters, approving a conditional use permit, discussing improvements to the town hall building and other business items. The council then entered executive session to discuss possible litigation.

The next regular meeting of the Encampment Town Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 10 at Encampment Town Hall.


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