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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Two days ago, Wyoming resembled the 1930s dust bowl.  We had a high wind warning and around 4 pm, the wind hit a real high.  Dust was blinding in areas.  Earlier, when getting the groceries out of my car at 2:30, I had difficulty walking against the wind and was pelted with sand.  By 4 pm, the blowing dust had greatly increased.
Part of the reason for the dust is a decade-long drought.  Rain was almost nonexistent this summer.  We got half an inch in July.  Snow is also noticeably absent.
The other factor is the construction of subdivisions and the continual encouraging of horse ownership.  Subdivisions disturb the ground and open up sand for blowing.  Horses eat 40 acres to the ground and allow the dust to blow around.
I realize people have to live somewhere.  Part of the problem is Wyoming allows subdivisions of 35 acres or more to have nothing but a blade-cut road that is never maintained.  This exposes miles of sand to the Wyoming wind.  However, there are millions to be made by selling off ranches in 40 acre plots.  Maintaining roads is expensive and cuts into profits.  Money has always been more important than conservation and with the internet, one can easily sell land not suited for multiple residences to people who see a low price and buy in.  Californians have done this for years.  Celebrities help sell plots in the desert as home sites.  How to stop it?  Smarter buyers would be the only chance.
As for horses, I can provide much photographic evidence of damages, if anyone wishes to see why I make this claim.  A look on Google maps will show you which homeowners have horses--the brown, barren lots have horses, the greener ones do not.
Since pictures are said to be worth a thousand words, here goes:

I lightened the pictures to help show the sand.  This was close to sunset and the sand in the air made it darker still.

I'm not good with a video camera, so please excuse the funky breaks and feet!

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