Park County Prepares for Eclipse
Written by Andrew-Rossi on August 17, 2017
The numbers of visitors coming to Cody during the eclipse weekend may not affect residents in Cody any more than the crowds that come on the 4th of July.
That’s the consensus of many agency officials after a meeting yesterday to coordinate efforts to deal with the influx of people expected to arrive in the state to view the solar eclipse on Monday.
A representative from Rocky Mountain Power noted that they have no concern about the solar activity, or the increase in people, affecting the power grid. Mike Conner with the Sheriff’s Department agreed that neither factor should impact communication in the county.
Other agencies are preparing for various effects from the high numbers of visitors, though – the Wyoming Highway Patrol is preparing for as many as 40,000 vehicles to be coming through the Wind River Canyon on Monday; and the Forest Service is preparing for untold numbers of people utilizing campgrounds, outdoor toilets and garbage disposal sites.
Lisa Constantine with the Cody Chamber of Commerce says there are still a few rooms available at lodging facilities in the community, but those rooms will be sold at a higher rate.
One issue that all at the meeting agreed upon was that eye safety is of utmost concern. Kimball Croft with the Public Health Office read a testimonial from a Worland resident, Gard Ferguson, who lost part of his eyesight when he looked directly at the eclipse as a child.
Croft noted that the damage from looking directly at the eclipse will not show up for a few hours – so hospital staff were made aware that victims could be coming in to the emergency rooms or urgent care that evening or the next day.
Croft added that sunglasses will not protect your eyes from solar retinopathy – eclipse glasses or a pinhole projection method are the only safe way to view the eclipse. He warned that there are fake glasses being distributed on Amazon and other online sellers, so be sure to test any eclipse glasses you receive by holding them up to the flashlight feature on a cell phone. If only a small dot is visible, the glasses should be safe.
Although many locations have sold out of eclipse glasses, Constantine said as of yesterday they were still available at Sierra Trading Post, the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center, Legends Bookstore, the KOA Campground, and the general stores in Yellowstone National Park.