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County looks to preserve historical magazine

Aug 16, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Editor Loren Jost retired as Riverton Museum director last month, but he has been asked to continue the publication for another year.

The Fremont County Museums Board is working to maintain production of its historical journal, the Wind River Mountaineer, after its editor recently retired. On Thursday, board chairman Steve Banks introduced a proposal to contract with the retiree, Loren Jost, to produce the magazine for another year.

The Wind River Mountaineer comes out four times a year and has 186 subscribers in 24 states. It has been published since about 1975 and takes its name from a newspaper that was published in Fremont County from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.

Banks said some subscriptions have been paid up for five years at a value of about $5,200. He was concerned that ending publication would require the museums board to return that subscription money.

The Wind River Mountaineer has a balance of roughly $5,000, Banks said.

Jost was the director of the Riverton Museum until July 1 and was responsible for editing and coordinating production of the journal.

Four more issues

The proposed contract would have Jost continue work on the Wind River Mountaineer for four more issues, which would be finished before September 2014. For each issue, he would receive $500.

"Loren is probably the best choice to continue as editor of the Wind River Mountaineer," Banks said.

Jost has an extensive knowledge of Fremont County history and experience producing the journal, Banks said.

Other board members did not disagree but did have concerns about details of the contract.

"I'm really glad it will keep going," board member Carol Chidsey said about the Wind River Mountaineer.

Museum changes

The museums are enduring a transition, she said, referring to moves to change the administrative structure to having a single system-wide director rather than one for each museum. The directors position at both the Lander Pioneer and Riverton museums currently are vacant.

Keeping the Wind River Mountaineer in Jost's hands would help the journal through the time of flux, Chidsey said.

Board member Erin Shirley asked if the museums' staff could take over publishing the Wind River Mountaineer, and if the future system-wide director would be in charge of the journal or if each museum's site director could be in charge of one issue a year.

The contract also should stipulate that the museums board owns all content published in the Wind River Mountaineer, Chidsey said.

Magazine's name

Banks also was concerned because Riverton Ranger Inc. owns the Wind River Mountaineer name, and he said he wanted to formalize an arrangement.

Ranger publisher Steve Peck said he did not think there would be a problem reaching an agreement over use of the journal's title.

At the meeting Thursday, the board decided to continue pursuing the contract with Jost and to have Fremont County deputy attorney Jodi Darrough make recommendations for the document. Banks hoped to reach a decision at the board's September meeting.

Board member Jon Lane suggested looking toward the future even as the board works on the contract with Jost.

"We ought to be considering that next direction," he said. "What is the capacity of the Fremont County Museums staff to contribute to the Wind River Mountaineer?"

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