The Flatlander's View

Nebraska bison not on par with roaming Wyoming beasts

By Steve Moseley
Posted 5/17/22

As you no doubt suspect, there are differences between living in Nebraska and northwest Wyoming. Big ones.

For one, though I’ve heard many of you howl like banshees about the taxes you pay …

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The Flatlander's View

Nebraska bison not on par with roaming Wyoming beasts

Posted

As you no doubt suspect, there are differences between living in Nebraska and northwest Wyoming. Big ones.

For one, though I’ve heard many of you howl like banshees about the taxes you pay out there, we found Wyoming taxes pale in comparison to the Cornhusker State. Outrageous property assessments so severe they hinder economic development are the norm here, where poor souls like me pay state sales tax, local sales tax and special assessment sales tax for specific projects, in addition to getting clocked upside the head by state income tax every April 15.

I was stunned how cheap it was to register our vehicles in Park County compared to what we routinely paid — and still pay — here in tall corn country.

Tax exhibit A – I acknowledge this was many years ago and things may have changed in Wyoming. That said, it’s a fact that when we moved to Powell, we sold our home in Lexington, Nebraska, made the big leap and bought one on Cary Street. We purchased the Powell house in excess of $20,000 more than we collected on the one we sold, yet our real estate tax bill dropped by half.

But I digress; these shortcomings of the former tall grass prairie, now planted to corn by the square county (corn we burn in our cars while much of the world starves) is not the shortcoming about which we shall speak this month.

On my front burner today, having recently taken what passes for a Nebraska wildlife photography adventure, is the bounteous natural world you enjoy (but too often take for granted). There are opportunities here — the annual migration of millions of sandhill cranes through our backyard in early spring is one — but they are few, far between and pedestrian for one privileged to have lived seven years immersed in Yellowstone, the Tetons, Bighorns, Beartooths, Pryors, McCullough Peaks, the Big Horn Basin and more. So much more.

Talented nature photographers do amazing work in Nebraska, no question. My problem is I compare everything here to the upper left corner of Wyoming. Unfair, I know, but I can’t help myself.

Let these sparring bison serve as a case in point. They look like free-roaming bison in Wyoming. They are not. These fellows live entirely behind the wire at the Henry Doorly Zoo’s Wildlife Safari Park between Lincoln and Omaha on the eastern-most edge of our state, smack up against the Missouri River. This is where all Nebraskans live, save a comparatively few of we ‘out-staters.’ (Don’t get me started on the blatant disparity between urban vs. rural representation on issues from school funding, to property taxes on ag land, to economic development initiatives, to public projects, and on and on.)

It was kinda fun watching this wee clutch of shaggies, but those few moments bore scant resemblance to the vast herds in Hayden Valley for but a single Wyoming example among many.

There are eagles, a couple wolves and the odd black bear or two among creatures in our ‘Yellowstone’ … all closely confined. Necessarily so, given their location between two dense human populations. Don’t misunderstand; our creature feature is not terrible; in fact, it’s much visited and appreciated in these parts.

But northwest Wyoming it ain’t. My mission today is to help you realize the glorious assets hiding in plain sight all around Powell, then motivate you to go enjoy them. Timing couldn’t be better; the whole spectacular season is lying right at your feet.

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