1999 Wolff Den Design - Lady Wolf - Ralph Maughans Wildlife Reports

Conservation News Stories in Western Wolf Country
Archive 1997 - 1998

Please be aware that not all articles and links will be working as some of the sources do not keep archives.

(12-31-98). Federal timber sales in Wyoming lose money, study shows. Billings Gazette on-line. As is the usual case for most interior western forests, the General Accounting Office (an arm of Congress) has reported that Wyoming National forests actually lost money on their timber programs in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. This year, as in years past, timber interests say, "yes they lost money, but there are so many values of timber harvest not apparent in the marketplace (positive externalities) that subsidies from taxpayers are justified."  More and more, however, conservationists say damage from timber harvest in these slow-growing interior forests (negative externalities) more than offset any unmarketable benefits. Examples of destructive timber sales  are the Double Cabin, Sunlight Creek, and Ramshorn Peak sales which have been the focus of numerous articles in the past on this page.  Alert on timbering and oil and gas development near Ramshorn Peak and the Dunoir.

(12-29-98). The Endangered Species Act: Nixons best legacy. Idaho Mountain Express. (12-24-98) Endangered Species act turns 25. Environmental News Network. Dec. 28 was the 25th anniversary of the signing of the endangered species act.

(12-15-98). Yellowstone area conservation groups ask for the public's help on developments adjacent to the Dunoir. It's some of the prettiest country in the world and as readers of this page know, tremendous wildlife habitat. Despite the present glut of oil, the oil industry wants to go in to this prime elk, grizzly, bighorn, and wolf habitat.

(12-8-98). Yellowstone Superintendent worries about a "death by a thousand cuts" for Park. Billings Gazette.

(12-6-98). Sheepmen find survival difficult in global market. Billings Gazette. The Farm Bureau likes to yell about wolves, but stockgrowers organizations and the media sometimes focus on the real problems of livestock producers.

(11-26-98). Rancher sentenced, fined for shooting 9 elk: Meeteetse (WY) man says he was trying to protect his livelihood.  Billings Gazette. This was quite a sensation when it happened in 1997. Now, well over a year later, "justice" has been done. Update on 12-4. Wyoming's Governor wants state payments to convicted elk poacher examined. AP.

(12-3-98). State biologists to start testing for whirling disease in Yellowstone River: Scientists surprised by finding parasites in lake. Billings Gazette on-line.

(12-2-98). Regional Forester spares upper Greys River from another big timber sale. Billings Gazette on-line. It's truly a pretty place, but its headwaters have been hammered by too much logging by the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Finally, the regional forester (who oversees the B-T and other national forests nearby) has sided with local conservation groups.

(12-2-98). Biologists find whirling disease parasite in Yellowstone Lake's cutthroat trout. How did it get there? Billings Gazette on-line. It seems like the Yellowstone envionment taks one hit after another from the outside.  This is more bad news for the future of the Park and its wildlife. Fortunately detection of whiling disease does not always mean the trout population will crash like it did on the Madison River, but it might.

(11-30-98). A big mine is coming to Big Timber, Montana. Billings Gazette. Unlike the now defeated New World gold mine above Cooke City, Montana, this one is going in.

(11-29-98). Grizzly recovery in Rockies hinges on people, official says. Billings Gazette. The grizzly bear recovery seems to be coming along well, but the Interagency Grizzly Bear Team leader says the future is really up to people who live around the great bears.
Let me add the 1998 was the best year for quite while for low numbers of grizzly bear deaths in the Yellowstone Country, but the bears of the Northern Continental Divide ecosystem (Glacier NP, Bob Marshall Wilderness, etc.) suffered lots of motalities.

(11-24-98). Greater Yellowstone Coalition says grizzly bear not ready for delisting. Billings Gazette. Moves are afoot to delist the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Country, including Yellowstone Park.  Most conservation groups say this is premature until the government assures grizzly habitat will remain intact.

On the Targhee National Forest road closure controversy:

(11-21-98). More on the anti-government rally. Post Register by  Mike Barenti. Here is more on the anti-fed rally in Eastern Idaho. Mike Barenti did a good job in the article checking on the constitutional basis of the claims of these anti-grizzly, UN conspiracy folks, the first reporter to do so. Update: I feel a bit of the steam has gone out of this since the weird UN Conspiracy talk began to be reported by the main stream media.

(11-20-98). Hundreds show up in Rexburg, Idaho, to Protest Federal Regulations. Post Register. It's loon season in Eastern Idaho, and I'm not talking about hunting. Here is a link to Coffman's web page, where he spins the conspiracy theory "Globalized Grizzlies."

(11-19-98). Anti-road closure rally expands into anti-federal government rally. Post Register. Those against closing old timber roads on the Targhee have joined with anti-federal government folks.  I'm glad the media is finallty writing about the UN conspiracy element of the road closure protest.   It has been there from the start, but it has been mostly beneath the radar screen of the main stream media. Professor Freemuth is correct that they are trying to expand the issue and bring in more groups, but the danger of such a strategy is that you can lose control of the agenda.

(11-12-98). A second anti-road closure rally planned Nov. 19-20. Post Register. This is your national forest too, not the Teton/Fremont County Forest. Send your comments to the Targhee National Forest and to your members of Congress (not to Idaho's congressionals unless you live in Idaho). Email addresses for members of Congress and other officials. Here is the link to the official Targhee N.F. website.

(11-1-98). Here's the Post Register Story on the road closure rally. I'm glad no one broke the law. Now it's going to be up the the rest of us folks who think 20% of the old timber roads on the Targhee NF closed to recover grizzly bears is not much of a sacrifice. There seems to have been a lot of confusion over this issue, for example: (from the story) "This summer the Forest Service started ripping up the roads. That's what made Dean Wiser so angry when he took his four-wheeler out to School House Mountain overlooking Henry's Lake two weeks ago. He found the road pockmarked with 'tank traps' - deep holes flanked by dirt piles 9 feet high. Heavy equipment had churned up the soil and made the road impassable. 'We were just totally speechless,' he said. 'If I had done that to the roads, I would have been in jail.'"

But, in fact if he had done it , the Forest Service would have praised him. The Targhee had been soliciting and using volunteers to close and decommission roads. This is a standard way of decommissioning roads where law enforcement is problematical. If people won't obey the rules, then sometimes the Forest Sevice shows enough courage to what is necessary. Photos of the road closures. Added on 11-10-98

(Added on 11-8-98) Map of developments in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The Targhee is to the immediate SW along the boundary of the Park.  Does it look like reducing the number of roads by 20% would hurt the road recreation opportunities on that nation forest?

(11-11-98). CUT agrees to sell critical winter range to the government and conservation interests. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. This is great news. The Church Universal and Triumphant did not sell it developers, so maybe the land just north of Gardiner will be used be benefit wildlife rather than destroy it. I should note that the bison controversy still has not been settled. Governor Racicot may insist on shooting bison on private property or the newly acquired land. More on the bison -- CUT may give bison a warmer reception this winter. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

(11-8-98). Living with the big bear - Grizzlies are returning to Idaho and residents are learning it's not always easy to share. Post Register. This is an interesting article on how griz are finally returning to the Targhee. One point the story should have mentioned is how much more effective pepper spray is compared to guns in keeping both humans and bears alive in those rare cases of grizzly attacks -- there were just three maulings this year in the greater Yellowstone area (none in Idaho).

(11-8-98). CUT may decide to sell part of their Royal Teton Ranch to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation on Monday. Billings Gazette. Effort to acquire this vital winter range just north of Park continue to be hampered by Governor Racicot's desire to continue to keep the area off-limits to bison. See earlier article: Bison Complicate CUT Negotiations. Bozeman Daily-Chronicle. 10-2-98.

(11-6-98). An explosion near the Park's Mud Volcano creates a large new hot pool. Billings Gazette.

(10-30-98). Targhee National Forest offers $2500 reward for information on would be ranger station bomber.
The Targhee National Forest this week offered $2500 for information that sheds light on why a bomb was placed at the Teton Basin Ranger District Office in Driggs, Idaho last week. The Jackson Hole Guide reported that the Targhee National Forest has received a number of nasty phone calls regarding speculation that the bomb was related to the road closures, so the Forest Service said they really don't know why someone would take the action. If you have information about the incident call Phil Looney, special agent at 208-523-0037 or 351-9544.

Earlier Story on this issue.
(10-20 and 21). Road closures to restore grizzly bear habitat cause political trouble and potential violence on the Targhee National Forest in Eastern Idaho. FBI Searching for would-be bomber of Targhee NF Ranger District Office. Post Register, Oct. 20.  Eastern Idaho Counties Pass Ordinances to Frustrate Efforts to Close old timber roads on the Targhee NF. Post Register. Oct. 21.
I have linked to a number of articles on this road closure controversy in months past.  It is really heating up.   Many of these ordinances are unconstitutional, and bombs and bomb threats against U.S. government personnel are of course illegal. Lets hope some of these "motorheads" aren't going down the road Tim McVeigh took.  As for states and counties superimposing their laws in violation of laws of the United States where the United States clearly has full authority, this was what the Civil War supposedly settled.  If these counties want to have a new conflict, sign me up on the side of the United States. Fortunately, the Targhee got about 80% of the roads obliterated so that those intent on violating the law couldn't ride around the closures. Then the Forest Service stopped due to pressure from the Idaho delegation and a lawsuit by the motorheads. It was reported in the Jackson Hole News on 10-21 that the district forest ranger, Patty Bates, said that written on the outside of the container were the the words, "Bye, bye f___ers, boom!"  There was also a note stuck in the bomb. Its contents were not disclosed.

(10-28-98). Now It's Church's Move. Opinion by the Bozeman Daily-Chronicle.

(10-25-98).More ATV restrictions coming. Billings Gazette. Montana national forests are developing new "travel plans" for the national forests.  Controversy over use and the degree of restrictions needed to govern off-road vehicles on public lands is growing in Montana (and elsewhere, I should add; see the bomb story below). ATVs, dirt bikes and snowmobiles are legitimate uses of public lands, but they cause problems and self-regulation doesn't work well. Many national forests are develping new travel plans, and you can particpate. The article in the Gazette unfortunately assumes that it is a matter of non-motorized use versus motorized use. In fact many people do both. There are places where ATV use is appropriate and places where it should be resticted or eliminated. The same is true with snowmobiles.
More on the Targhee road closure controversy. Opinion by Jim Gerber in the Post Register. Gerber is a leading activist against the Targhee grizzly bear road closure and obliteration plan.  He used to plan timber sales on the Targhee. He complains about the obliteration of old, unneeded timber roads in grizzly bear habitat.  These "tank traps," etc. the Forest Service constructed in order to firmly close these roads are a tiny disturbance compared to the roads themselves.  If outlaw off-road vehicle users don't like what happened, they should have obeyed the law in the past instead of pulling down the gates and cutting the lock chains that the Targhee forest has used in the past. They have but themselves to blame.

Folks who are interested in protecting grizzly habitat to the west and southwest of Yellowstone National Park should keep checking my page. I'll keep folks updated on these travel plans. These are your national forests, not just a playground for 4 x 4 drivers in the local area.  Heck, I have a 4 x 4 myself, and there are plenty of open roads to drive in the area. It's not like the Forest Service is closing all, or even most of them.   Maybe I'm weird, but I like to see some wildlife on the national Forest, including big critters like grizzly bears. That means protection of their habitat.  (See the article below [10-21] on the bomb left at the Targhee forest office).

(10-25-98). Sawtooth Recreation Area acquires critical easement. Post Register. A government payment has guaranteed that at least part of the view of the Sawtooth Range from Stanley, Idaho will be protected.

(10-22-98). Huge Trophy Home Subdivision approved for Paradise Valley Billings Gazette. Paradise in Paradise Valley is getting a big tattered with all the subdivisions. Will this subdivision for rich folks harm the area's scenic environment?  A similar development could talk place immediately north of Park of the CUT lands are not acquired by the government. Photo of the vicinity of the subdivision.

(10-18-98). While farmers suffer, one Idaho rancher cashes in. Opinion. Lewiston Morning Tribune. While many many folks saw this story on TV on  the "Fleecing of America," in case you didn't.

Articles about public land acquisition in the Montana portion of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem:

  • (10-20-98). Clinton signs the Gallatin II Land Exchange bill. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. This is great news!!! Now if the CUT lands are acquired, the 105 th Congress will not have been all that negative regarding the Greater Yellowstone country. Here is more information from the Greater Yellowstone Coalition about the Gallatin II Land Exchange and CUT acquisition.(10-17-98).
  • Uncertainty clouding CUT talks. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
  • (10-16-98). The new federal budget has been adopted after much negotiation, and the word is that Senator Baucus was able to secure $6-million to buy land from CUT (Church Universal and Triumphant) for winter range near Gardiner, MT. Congress Set Aside CUT Money: Is it too late? Bozeman Daily Chronicle. 10-16-98.
  • (10-9-98). Where's Real Action on the CUT Deal? Editorial Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The Chronicle believes letting this deal slip away will only make the bison issue more difficult.
  • (10-3-98). Senate OKs 54,000-acre Gallatin land swap. Billings Gazette on-line. This is good news. It will protect the country to the NW of Yellowstone from massive sub-divisions. Don't confuse this with the vitally-needed acquisition of part of CUT's Royal Teton Ranch.
  • (9-30-98). Montana Congressional Delegation Now United on Land Acquisitions. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Maybe the Church lands just north of Gardiner will be acquired by the government after all, but I wouldn't put much faith in Senator Burns of Representative Hill's commitment.
  • (10-1-98) Church has other interested buyers for ranch. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

(10-14-98). The Many Threats to Yellowstone's Fisheries. Billings Gazette. Despite an upswing in the Park fisheries beginning in the 1970s, the 90s have brought numerous grave threats, mostly due to biological pollution -- alien species and diseases.

(10-8-98). Another sewage spill from antiquated Yellowstone sewer system. Billings Gazette. The sewage flowed into the Firehole River.

(10-8-98). Yellowstone makes major effort against Lake Trout. Billings Gazette. Finally some progress against this finny threat to the the Yellowstone ecosystem.

(10-6-98). Grizzly bear shows up on the Snake River Plain just west of Parker, Idaho.  This is a very odd place for a grizzly to appear. Was it for love of apples?

(10-4-98). New measurements show Yellowstone caldera bulging. Billings Gazette on-line. The land inside part of the Yellowstone Caldera has started to rise rapidly (in geologic terms) -- several centimeters a year. What does this portend?
(10-2-98). Swarm of small earthquakes in the Yellowstone Caldera. Billings Gazette on-line.   Monitor Yellowstone earthquakes by the day, month or year, on the University of Utah's Seismic Server.

(10-3-98) Grizzly Injures Hunter, Guide. Billings Gazette on-line. There has been another grizzly mauling. This time in the Washakie Wilderness. This incident was very similar to the one reported above -- the grizzly came upon the hunters, the bear was surprised and mauled them. This is the fourth mauling this year in the Greater Yellowstone area. One mauling was in Yellowstone Park, one in the Teton Wilderness, one just south of the Teton Wilderness, and one in the Washakie Wilderness.

(9-30-98). Man kills grizzly that mauled hunting partner. Billings Gazette on-line.  This is the first hunter-grizzly incident of what has so far been a good season. Unfortunately this was a female with three cubs, but the cubs are old enough to survive on their own.   The mauling took place on the Bridger-Teton National Forest near Blackrock Meadows (15 miles east of Grand Teton NP).

(9-26-98). Forest Service steps up patrols in the Teton Wilderness to prevent unnecessary grizzly bear shootings during hunting season. Billings Gazette on-line. Recent years have seen a big increase in grizzly bear shootings  (self-defense) during the elk hunt. This year both hunting organizatons and the Forest Service are making a big effort to promote the use of pepper spray and more patrol along the Yellowstone Park/Teton Wilderness boundary to make sure that sanitary rules are followed so as not to attract bears and make sure hunters don't try to bait elk out of the Park. What this story doesn't tell is that hunt is both a threat and a boon for the bears because hunters leave many hundreds of gut piles for the bears, providing an excellent late season source of fat and protein.

(9-25-98). Hope fades for buyout of CUT land just north of Yellowstone. Billings Gazette. This is a very sorry development that money can't be found for this critical purchase even at a time of a budget surplus. The result will be sub-division of all land north of Gardiner and blowing a great chance for critical winter range for Yellowstone bison, elk, and big horn sheep, but Senator Baucus says "I'll Fight For Royal Teton Ranch," Senior Senator Throws Weight Behind Funding for CUT Purchase

(9-21-98). Scenic Spring Gulch near Jackson, WY may be protected. Billings Gazette. One of the last open spaces near Jackson, WY is to be protected by a conservation easement. Conservation easements are one way to protect private property from subdivision with but minimal government involvment.

(9-20-98). Sewer line spills into creek at Yellowstone. Post Register.

(9-16-98). End of Yellowstone Mine Threat is formally celebrated. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Ironically with the huge drop in the price of gold in the last year, environmentalist opposition to the New World Mine probably did the company a big financial favor by avoiding a bad investment.

(9-14-98). Two important Yellowstone land acquisitions are before Congress. Billings Gazette. There are two great chances to protect the north and northwest flanks of Yellowstone, but election year and bison politics may threaten them. Update on 9-17, Congressmen Look for ways to speed up land bills. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

(9-6-98). Authoring Idaho's gridlock. Opinion by the Post-Register. The Idaho Falls, Idaho newspaper takes on the two anti-environmental radicals in the Idaho Congressional Delegation -- Chenoweth and Craig. Of course we shouldn't forget those radicals in the Idaho House of Representatives. Here is the regular column of one such . . . . Devastating as a cruise missile by Lenore Barrett. Barrett hails from Challis (Custer Country).

(9-1-98). Two, far-ranging grizzly bears killed for attacking sheep. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. This has been a much better year for grizzly bear than the last three -- low grizzly mortality and lower grizzly livestock depredation. Nevertheless, every year some grizzlies get into trouble -- this time on the Beartooth Front and far to the west of Yellowstone -- near Dillon, Montana.  It is incredible how much country young adult male grizzlies sometimes cover, searching for their own range

(8-27-98). Ban on all-terrain vehicles in roadless country just northwest of Yellowstone is extended for one year. Story in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. This decision by the Gallatin National Forest is good news for the beauty of the area as well as its grizzly bear population. The area includes part of the range of the Chief Joseph wolf pack. ATVs had badly damaged the area.

(8-18-98). Molly Ivins column irritates the Idaho political establishment. Molly Ivins "Destroying What You Love." Columnist Molly Ivins recently came to Idaho and fell in love with its mountains and streams but not its third world political establishment. The leading Idaho paper, the Statesman, simply didn't run her usual column. The Twin Falls Times-News ran it, but ran a parallel editorial which didn't refute her, but basically said "how dare she come in from Texas and say such things."  I'd link to the the Times-News for their reaction but oddly it seems to be the only one of their archive links that is broken.

(8-7-98). Grizzly bear kills sheep and cattle in the upper Green River area of Wyoming.

(8-4-98). Growing number of wildlife exhibits threaten real wild life. Opinion in the Post Register. Why don't those state veterinarians so concerned about the hypothetical threat of brucellosis worry about other animal diseases?

(7-29-98). Forest Service selects program to prevent acid rock drainage at huge open pit moly mine in central Idaho. Post Register. They said it was going to be the ideal open pit mine when they opened it. Things haven't turned out that way. They forgot to mention what would happen when they dug deep enough to reach the sulfide ores.

(7-23-98). New Wyoming Political Action Group Fights privatization of wildlife. Billings Gazette. Wyoming has always been a prime state for wildlife and hunting, but powerful ranch interests are more and more trying to push the state toward letting ranchers control the access to wildfire. This new political action committee wants to fight that. Here is WILDPAC's actual news release.

(7-21-98). Asking Too Much of Wildlife. Opinion. Post-Register. Brucellosis has been found in eastern Idaho elk. Should that really surprise anyone?  It's probably been there for 70 years. The Idaho Falls newspaper (Post-Register) is not happy about Idaho Fish and Game's way of dealing with it -- the cattle industry comes first just like in Montana. My opinion. It's time to just say the brucellosis controversy is "bull___." The chances of transmittal of brucellosis to livestock are real, just as the National Academy of Science says.  I think they are about as real is a person being hit by a meteor (it has happened).

(7-14-98). "Salvage" timber sale near the range of the Washakie Pack is appealed by conservation groups. Note on 8-26. The regional forester has rejected the appeal.

(7-13-98). GAZETTE OPINION: Why do we treat national treasure [Yellowstone] with disregard? Billings Gazette.

(7-12-98). Gallatin [National Forest] ready to tackle question of muscles vs. motors. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Conflicts between hikers and ATV (all terrain vehicles) are escalating everywhere.  I'm on the muscle side even though I'm growing older. In fact, I take the tough cross country routes more and more often so I can avoid these folk who can't go anywhere without motors attached. Please get involved with the "travel planning process" on the national forests that most interest you.  If you choose to help out on the Gallatin N.F., you'll be helping the wolves and all the other Yellowstone country critters as well.

(7-9-98). Grand Teton National Park black bear attacks woman. Story 2: Teton Park officials shoot problem black bear - Animal not believed to be same one that earlier bit two women 7-14-98 Post Register.

(6-22-98). [Local] Targhee Forest users object to road closures. Post Register. For those not familiar with this area, Ashton, Idaho is a small town just south of the Targhee National Forest's Island Park and Ashton ranger districts.  The Targhee, even with these road closures, has by far more dirt roads per square mile than any other national forest in the Greater Yellowstone area. It's not like local folks won't have anywhere to drive their rigs. Moreover, the plateau area in question where a few roads have now been closed to facilitate grizzly bear recovery is thoroughly uninteresting --  mile after mile of flat high elevation country that has mostly been clear-cut.  There is only one perennial stream (Snow Creek) on the area in question.

The county commissioner is wrong in that his claim that these road closures will cost the county money.  It is true that the end of the giant timber salvage program on the Targhee cost Fremont County a lot of money.  Most American taxpayers don't realize it, but local counties get 25% of all timber sale receipts.  This creates a strong incentive for local officials to say "log off the mountain for the school kids."  One would think such counties would want to get off of this kind of revenue train if they had an option, and they do.  There are proposals to give counties in the public lands states revenue whether they log it or not.  Guess what? Most county commissioners oppose this. I find this hard to figure.

The story told by this article is, in my opinion, a very good reason why efforts to give our national forests to the states is a very bad idea. This idea is being pushed by some congresspeople from the interior west (such as the Idaho delegation). Here is another recent story (6-23) showing why states should never be allowed to get their hands on the public lands of the United States.  In this story notice that the Montana legislature has actually set a timber quota from Montana state lands, rather than basing harvest on how fast the timber grows. This method is circa 1900, not 1998.

(6-19-98). CUT land sale opens up access to more land. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The Forest Service has purchased 640 acres -- one square mile -- of the property of the Church Universal and Triumphant (a.k.a. CUT) just north of Yellowstone NP. CUT wants to consolidate and/or divest of its extensive holdings north of Yellowstone.  Hopefully this first step will put us on the road to acquiring public land winter range for Yellowstone wildlife.

As an aside, it is interesting how happy most folks are when new public lands are acquired despite the rhetoric of brown congresspeople about what an awful burden the U.S. public lands are.

(6-16-98). Opinion. A bison plan for the ranchers. Post Register. At last the draft of the new bison plan for Yellowstone bison that wander from Yellowstone into Montana is available to the public. Many are saying it is as bad or worse than the now notorious "interim bison plan" that has resulted in the slaughter of so many bison.  In this opinion piece the Post Register newspaper says "Any questions over who is calling the shots about managing Yellowstone National Park's bison herds ended last week. A draft management plan gives that authority to the Montana Livestock Department and the Montana state veterinarian."

This plan is going to be a big controversy, and my pages will cover it. It will take a lot of comment from American citizens to overcome the effort by Montana Governor Racicot and his cronies to grab our bison. People can access the draft plan on-line at: http://www.nps.gov/planning/yell/eis/summary.htm

(6-1-98). Redeem the Sawtooth Promise. Opinion in the Post-Register. Beautiful Stanley Basin at the base of Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains is threatened (again) with subdivision. The Post-Register asks for money, help, and support for the private organization, the Sawtooth Society. Check out my Sawtooth National Recreation Area page.

(5-22-98). Yellowstone: 10 years after the fires. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. It was an article of faith among local Yellowstone National Park haters that the fires had destroyed Yellowstone -- the Park should have been logged off in years past,  that would have "saved" it.

(5-21-98). Jet ski ban sought for national parks. ENN Daily News. The National Parks and Conservation Association has petitioned that the Park Service ban this rapidly growing "sport" in the national parks.  Jet skis are cited by many as one of the most obnoxious recreational inventions.   Nevertheless, they are gaining foothold not only on many folks favorite boating and fishing lakes and rivers, but in the national parks.  Lets hope the National Parks Association keeps their promise to sue if the Park Service doesn't get a hold on this situation promptly.

(5-17-98). Economists estimate the value of a national park. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

(5-12-98). Relocating grizzlies is not always the answer, bear advocates say. By Joan Haines. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. If a grizzly or a wolf gets in trouble, relocate it to a remote location, OK?  One of the troubles is that these animals have what we might call societies.  A new animal in a stable society of bears can cause and can get into lots of trouble.

(5-9-98) Study finds Yellowstone bears have appetite for meat. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. More than anywhere else in North America, a study finds that Yellowstone grizzlies really on meat.
People may ask themselves how can there be so many bison and elk in Yellowstone with the heavy predation by grizzlies, wolves, coyotes, and mountain lion.  After all, Yellowstone Park is a high and cold plateau with a short growing season -- relatively poorly productive of food for ungulates. My hypothesis is that wildlife abundance like this was typical before the western United States was cowed.

(5-5-98). Cattlemen trying to enlist hunters in opposition to more wolves. Billings Gazette on-line. I'm surprised it took this long for anti-wolfers to try this. If someone doesn't get their deer or elk, of course wolves are too blame. You should read this article because it reports a litany of the arguments that are going to be used against the wolves: 1. wolves are so bad they ate all the evidence including all the bones. 2. Defenders of Wildlife doesn't pay enough compensation and so private property rights are violated. 3. The US Fish and Wildlife Services is too slow responding. Cattle growers should have agents on call, instantly, everywhere.  It is interesting to note that they seem to realize that gutting funding for wolf management has hurt them, not the wolves.  Well, duh. . .

(5-5-98) . Two Endangered Whooping Cranes released in Yellowstone. Environmental News Network.

((5-2-98). Idaho wolf pack growing, scientists continue to monitor. Post Register. This newspaper article reflects a concern that Idaho wolves will depress the the central Idaho elk population. This concern has been expressed by local outfitters and guides.  It also provides evidence that it will not -- namely because the wolves will reduce the very high cougar population of central Idaho.  Wolves and cougar are two predators in almost direct competition with one another for prey, and wolves tend to drive cougar from their kills and also directly kill cougar.

(4-30-98). Mine land next to Yellowstone is worth $69 million: Final appraisal of New World Mine is completed. Bozeman Daily Chroncle.

(4-13-98). Two Wyoming Brothers Push Plan to Fence Yellowstone National Park. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

(4-11-98). Horn hunter treed by grizzly bear.  Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Grizzly bears have now mostly emerged from their dens, and horn hunters are often at risk because looking at the ground just ahead for horns is not compatible with watching for bears. This is quite a story in the Chronicle.
I should add that last spring a horn hunter west of Meeteetse, Wyoming was charged by a grizzly. The hunter curled up in ball and the elk antler attached to his backpack deterred the griz!

(4-10-98). Cattlemen want Eastern Idaho elk herds reduced.  Post Register. The brucellosis controversy comes to Idaho. If cattlemen are so frightened of this disease that never seems infect any cattle or people in the Yellowstone country, then they will probably support wolf migration to Eastern Idaho to control the elk population. Right?

(4-8-98). Off-road vehicles restricted on Targhee National Forest. Post Register. I had some good things to say about this yesterday, but then I found out that what the Targhee is proposing is the most minimal restrictions it thinks it can get away with. So, they are still working their way down the path to big lawsuit.

  • Targhee closes roads to avoid lawsuit. Post Register. 2/7/98
  • The Bears vs. The Roads - TARGHEE NATIONAL FOREST. Post Register. 2/1/98

(4-7-98). Creating a win-win scenario. Opinion in the Post-Register. The Post Register doesn't think a Targhee National Forest land trade to create private land for sub-divisions at Grand Targhee Ski Resort (on the west slope of the Tetons) is a good deal for the public.  Apparently neither do most residents in Idaho and Wyoming near the area. Previous story on ski resort from the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

(4-4-98). Those Welfare Queens get Touchy. Opinion from the Idaho Falls, Post-Register. The Idaho Cattle Association doesn't like the dozen or so billboards the Idaho Watersheds Project has put up in Idaho. Billboard 1       Billboard 2.
Link to The Idaho Watersheds Project . I would put a link to the Idaho Cattle Association, but they have no web page.  Why would such a powerful organization lack a web page? Can anyone guess?

 (3-25-98). An elusive search for green". Editorial in the Post Register. Idaho is one of the prettiest states, but in recent years its  legislature has become perhaps the most anti-environmental in the country. I find it somewhat hard to explain. Idaho is a conservative state, but it's conservative, not reactionary like its legislature. Conservative and  anti-environmental do not necessarily go together. In fact, being against massive change ought to predispose people to protecting our natural surroundings. Part of the problem may be that many of its politicians are clueless as to how Idahoans today make their living.  They are stuck in the 1950s when mining, logging, and livestock really were significant sources of employment.  Idaho Rep. Helen Chenoweth is reported to have said, "We just want things to be the way they used to be." I do too. How about remaking Idaho so that it has not only wolves, but grizzly bears and salmon?

(3-16-98). Post Register. Recreational vehicle riders 'growing threat to wildlife' I find the statement in this story by the executive director of the Blue Ribbon Coalition especially frightening. I have observed snowmobiles and snowmobilers go through three stages over about a twenty year period.  The first was that of the unintended harassment of wintering wildlife because folks on these new vehicles wanted to see wildlife and didn't understand how approaching the wildlife stressed them.  In the second stage, snowmobilers generally respected the law and behaved responsibly toward wildlife as well as public and private property.  In this new stage, aggressive political groups at least indirectly encouage the rouge element to break laws they don't like, harass people, violate closures, and generally behave in a lawless fashion. If you don't believe me, just read the police report in the West Yellowstone News and notice how many violations and crimes there are with   snowmobiles.

(3-14-98). Billings Gazette On-line. Opponents of Forest Service land swap in Jackson Hole, Wyoming speak out. It seems like just about everyone in Jackson is against a proposal to privatize public Forest Service land in Mosquito Creek in exchange for putting nearby private lands in public hands.  This story has been repeated numerous times in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Despite the overt hostility by the Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho congressionals to continuing federal ownership of the national forests and BLM lands, whenever a specific proposal to privatize emerges, locals almost always speak out vigorously against it.  Maybe we should be buying more scenic wildlife land on behalf of the public? (3-15-98). In the wake of a public meeting, the land swap plan withdrawn.

(3-12-98). Post Register. Federal court rejects Targhee logging project - Potential damage to streams, fish not assessed. That that Targhee should have another timber sale stopped by the courts should surprise no one.  I guess I've made it clear I think the Targhee the is worst national forest in the Yellowstone Country. Conservation folks used to try and cooperate with them, including myself, but after wasting our time for years on the new forest plan, which they have abandoned under pressure from the motorheads, and recommending leasing 90% of the forest to the oil and gas industry. I guess it will just be "see you in court!"

(3-11-98). Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Montana: The Big Subdivision Country.  It used to be Big Sky country.  Now it is ranchette and knapweed acres. The people in Montana's sub-division review program have quit.

(3-6-98). Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Land swap bill reaches Congress. This huge land swap bill will consolidate the Gallatin National Forest to the northwest of Yellowstone, preventing an endless proliferation of sub-divisions in this mountain country. The swap has a price, however.

(3-5-98). CNN. Deal to prevent Yellowstone mine is close to being sealed. The final story on the New World Mine above Cooke City, MT?

(2-15-98). Massive oil and gas development predicted SE of Jackson, WY. As many as 180 oil and gas wells have been predicted by a BLM geologist in the scenic and wildlife rich upper Green River Basin of Wyoming, home of Wyoming's largest moose herd. This is the scenario if the country is leased by the federal government. The Bridger-Teton National Forest is taking public comments until March 2 on plans to lease the area for oil and gas. So far over 1200 have been received. They overwhelmingly oppose leasing.
About a week ago a meeting was held in Jackson where Mike Judd from Alberta showed slides of how oil and gas has devastated the Rocky Mountains in Alberta.  I can testify to that. Every single canyon north of smallish Waterton National Park is full of oil and gas pipelines, roads, desulfurization plants, etc.  Signs everywhere warm of "poison gas". The concentration of H2S (rotten egg gas) in the canyon bottoms give visitors a constant headache.
The oil and gas industry has assaulted the Yellowstone Country before, but they have been driven off from folks in Jackson and outraged Americans. The last attack was in the early 1980s.

(2-6-98). Grizzlies, roads in conflict near West Yellowstone. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

(2-2-98). Clinton Administration proposes buying critical winter range just to the north of Yellowstone NP. "CUT and White House cut a deal." Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Administration wants to spend $13-million to buy 7850 acres from the Church Universal and Triumphant near Gardiner, Montana. More on the deal. Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 2-3-98. More the Clinton Administration's wish list nationwide. 2-3-98.

(2-1-98). Regional Forester delays nature-friendly travel plan for the Targhee National Forest. Poor Targhee National Forest, probably the worst-managed in the country -- it goes through an eight year process to develop a new forest plan and travel plan, and the regional forester in Ogden, Utah delays the plan because 1200 people signed identical "appeals" of the plan. Rather than delay the plan, I think he should send out federal investigators to see if this abuse of the appeals process violated federal law. The appeal process is very important for the protection of American citizens from possible bureaucratic abuse.  Appeals are supposed to be legal documents that set forth the unique arguments of individuals and groups as to why a Forest Service decision should be reversed or delayed. If this mass copycat appeal tactic is going to be honored, why don't conservation groups email in 25,000 or even 500,000 identical appeals? The regional forester had better get some courage or he might find the legal status of the Targhee set back to 1990 in a hurry. Update. February 7. Targhee NF Closes Some Roads to Avoid GYC Lawsuit. Story in the Post Register.

(1-19-98). Post Register. "Salmon [Idaho] Residents Learn to Live with Wolves in the Neighborhood."
One of the most interesting things in this article is that fact that Timm Kaminski has found that the central Idaho wovles are not just eating elk and deer, but coyotes, mountain lions, and black bears.  Notice how the some of the folks quoted in the story perceive predation to be strictly additive. This is a common misperception -- not recognizing that predators compete with one another. No one should worry about the bill the article mentions, the one by state senator Stan Hawkins. This is just part of his campaign for Congress. Note: Hawkins didn't get his party's nomination.

(1-12-98). Defenders Challenges Farm Bureau's Anti-Environmental Policies at their Annual Convention. Lots of folks think the Farm Bureau is an insurance company. It looks like Defenders of Wildlife is out to change that perception.

(12-30-97) The fourth bad year in a row for Yellowstone Country grizzlies. The only saving grace was that it was better than the last three years. Story by Ralph Maughan.

(12-13-97). CNN. Judge says wolf reintroduction program is illegal: Federal District Judge William Downes orders transplanted wolves and their offspring removed.

(12-6-97). Pepper Spray works on grizzlies. A great story from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. By Joan Haines. -- hunters effectively use pepper spray to deter grizzly attack in the Gallatin Country. Note: this would have been a great year for the Yellowstone grizzly population had it not been for so many hunters that used the less effective method of shooting rather than pepper spray.

(11-16-97). Bozeman Daily Chronicle Debate rages over use of Yellowstone bears in Bitterroot recovery. By Scott McMillion. The preferred alternative for restoring grizzly bears to central Idaho would use bears from NW Montana or Yellowstone. I think this is a bad idea because 1. there is no evidence that these areas have grizzly bears to spare and 2. the grizzly bears in the U.S. lack genetic diversity due to years of inbreeding. The grizzlies should come from Alaska, the Yukon, Northwest Territories or British Columbia, in my opinion.

(11-7-97) Greater Yellowstone Coalition newsmagazine. Residents of Teton Valley, Idaho fight Ski Area Land Swap Deal. No side of the Tetons is safe from massive land development schemes today (except for designated wilderness and Grand Teton National Park). This land swap was killed  previously by local folks.  Now it has come back on steroids.

(10-29-97) Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Hunter stops grizzly with a single shot. This one was in Tom Miner Basin.

(10-16-97) Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Another bear mauling; This time near Big Sky.
Related Story: Grizzly attack changes hunter's Perspective. By Joan Haines. This is a followup on the story about the bow-hunter and the griz reported on 10-7 and 10-8 below.

(10-11-97) Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Tentative deal struck on New World Mine. The long-standing controversy over the "Mine from Hell" was supposed to have ended over a year when President Clinton announced a deal that would stop the mine by paying the mining company for its claims and setting aside monies to clean up the old, but stilll "bleeding" mine workings above Cooke City, Montana. However, the issue got caught in Republican versus Democrat politics. Perhaps this new proposed deal really will end the controversy and make the rugged scenic area on Yellowstone's doorstep save from mining. However the deal sounds shaky.

(10-1-97) Hunter uses pepper spray on charging Teton Wilderness grizzly bear instead of his gun. Things turn out well.

(9-19-1997) Hunter shoots attacking grizzly. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. This was near Hebgan Lake, MT. 

The comments about each story are mine -- RM

Ralph Maughan's Wildlife Reports

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