In the spring of 2023, Bear River State Park in Evanston, Wyoming, announced the birth of a rare white bison calf. The bison is white coated like its mother and has captured the hearts and attention of many.
“While their coloring is fairly rare to see, these are not albino bison,” said Park Superintendent Tyfani Sager. “The introduction of cattle DNA over the past two hundred years has contributed to the occurrence of a white coat.”
Marathon Pipe Line’s (MPL) Right-of-Way specialists regularly interact with the company’s 29,000 landowners. That includes Bear River State Park, where the MPL’s Granger - Wahsatch pipeline safely transports crude oil through the south portion of the park and crosses underneath the Bear River. MPL’s Salt Lake City team presented a check to Sager to provide hay and protein pellets for three bull elk and 16 bison that reside within the park.
“We’re thankful for the support from partners like Marathon Pipe Line. We’ve had a great relationship over the years, and every bit of funding we receive means so much,” said Sager.
“Bear River State Park is integral to this area, and it feels great to be able to give and make a positive difference in the community.”
Earning Your Trust
As part of MPL’s public engagement program, Earning Your Trust, employees interact with stakeholders in a variety of ways to engage and educate landowners, community members, schools and public officials about pipeline safety and infrastructure. Senior Right-of-Way Specialist Jared Martin is newer to his post in the Salt Lake City area, but he has established a quick bond with Sager and the other park staff.
“A major part of my role is establishing relationships with landowners and folks in the community like Tyfani, and it’s something I take a great deal of joy in doing,” said Martin. “Through education and communication, we increase pipeline safety awareness and build trust with one another. Bear River State Park is integral to this area, and it feels great to be able to give and make a positive difference in the community.”
In 2022, MPL worked with the park to establish a pollinator habitat across three acres of the pipeline right of way. MPL Sustainable Landscape Coordinator Scott Sharpe was on-site to assist with the effort.
“As we got started with our sustainable landscapes program, it seemed like a natural fit to enhance Bear River State Park’s stretch of right of way. Not only does it benefit pollinators and wildlife, but it reduces our disturbance to the area. As this landscape matures, the native and compatible vegetation will require less mechanical maintenance—primarily in the form of mowing—over time.”
The team’s work isn’t quite finished. MPL Public Outreach Specialist Sally Arnet is putting the finishing touches on one more addition to the site—a park bench.
“This bench will symbolize our relationship with the park and support our role as guardians of public safety,” said Arnet. “This bench will not only serve as a place to sit and rest near the river but bring awareness to pipeline safety and the importance of calling 811 to have underground utilities marked before digging.”
About Marathon Pipe Line
MPL operates 10,000 miles of pipelines across 26 states. Together, its employees uphold its mission to safely and reliably operate pipelines while creating new and exciting ways to enhance communities and strengthen relationships with all stakeholders—bison and elk included.