Montana trying to dispose of Cold War commode kits

A Montana county plans to dispose of more than three dozen Cold War-era sanitation kits meant to provide makeshift bathroom facilities for fallout shelters.

Forty-two fiberboard drums labeled “SK IV Sanitation Kit” were shipped to Gallatin County in January 1964, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (http://bit.ly/24mUN5C) reported.

The kits contain a toilet seat, commode liner, 10 rolls of toilet paper that people were cautioned to “USE SPARINGLY,” along with commode chemical. The seat fits on top of the lined drum.

The kits are a reminder of “the subtle but real fear of a nuclear World War III,” said Shane Hope, an archaeologist in the county’s Historic Preservation Board.

After county officials determined they didn’t need the kits any more, they found out the Department of Defense didn’t want them back. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had no use for them, either.

The county has offered some of the kits to museums. The rest may be sold at auction. A value and date haven’t been set.

The kits include instructions for setting up and using the commodes. When the waste reaches “the level of the sanitary fill line on the drum,” users are instructed to put on the included rubber gloves, use the included wire tie to close up the liner and put the lid back on the drum.

“DO NOT REMOVE THE FILLED BAGS FROM THE DRUM,” the instructions caution. And if you need to move the drum, it is preferable to slide it across the floor instead of tilting or lifting.

The drums, which were furnished by the Office of Civil Defense, also included drinking cups and a can opener to open metal cans of food or to pry lids from water-storage drums.

http://bigstory.ap.org/urn:publicid:ap.org:1f20206d04394eb3afca7dd493e07276

Montana considers releasing wild bison outside Yellowstone

By Laura Zuckerman

Montana wildlife managers are asking the public to weigh in on a plan that could see the state establish a herd of wild bison that originated at Yellowstone National Park.

The state for three years has crafted measures that would need to be in place for the return of a publicly managed wild bison herd to Montana after a decades-long absence, state Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Tom Palmer said on Friday.

The agency has opened a 90-day comment period for proposals that range from taking no steps to restore bison to the landscape to reintroducing them on private or public acreage where there would be less competition with livestock for grass and a lower threat of disease transmission.

The state is not pinpointing where bison might be restored, Palmer said.

The options floated by the state come less than a year after it gave 145 bison that originated at Yellowstone National Park – which spans parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho – to a Native American tribe in Montana to further the conservation of the country’s last herd of wild, purebred bison.

Those animals had been quarantined to create a herd free of a disease, brucellosis, that could be transmitted to cows and cause them to miscarry.

The brucellosis-free band was later confined to a Montana ranch owned by media mogul Ted Turner before the state Fish and Wildlife Commission approved giving the animals to the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

Bison that wander out of Yellowstone into neighboring Montana in winter in a search for food have been targeted for capture or death by government officials because roughly half the herd has been exposed to brucellosis.

Montana wildlife managers will make no firm plans before assessing the public response. Systematic hunting reduced the nation’s vast wild herds to the fewer than 50 of the animals that found sanctuary at Yellowstone in the early 20th century.

Jay Bodner, natural resource director for Montana Stockgrowers Association, said the industry would seek to ensure that any projects eyed by the state spelled out how the massive creatures would be contained or fenced to prevent them from damaging private property and mingling with livestock.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2015/0613/Montana-considers-releasing-wild-bison-outside-Yellowstone