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



Conservation News Stories in Western Wolf Country, Jan. - Feb. 2002.

Some of the links will be dead, but others work for a surprisingly long time.

Unless the commentary is in quotes, the commentary is my own.  Ralph Maughan


2-28-2002. Wolf class: Yellowstone Institute provides an incredible classroom. By Kayley Mendenhall. Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer

2-27-2002. Many religious leaders dislike Bush energy plan. Christian Science Monitor. By Brad Knickerbocker. Soon the Senate begins the debate on the Bush energy bill, one of the most backward and environmentally hostile bills in many years. I will be posting articles about it.

2-27-2002. Leave the elk counting to the pros. Letter to Bozeman Daily Chronicle. By Barry Christianson. It is amusing that the anti-wolf "Friends of the Northern Range Elk" should hire Dr. Charles Kay from Utah State, who has argued throughout his career that there are far too many elk on the northern range of Yellowstone.

2-27-2002. Little drought relief foreseen for Montana. By Ericka Schenck Smith Billings Gazette State Bureau. Montana is entering its 4th year of drought and folks should remember that when they hear people claim that elk didn't have many calves because wolves killed all the elk or that forest fires burn because the federal government doesn't spend enough money putting them out or that because there wasn't enough logging.

2-27-2002. Forest Service, motorized recreation group sign pact. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer. A lot of people think the problem is hardly that the Forest Service is closing areas to off-road vehicles, but that motorized off road recreation keeps stealing non-motorized areas from self propelled users.

2-26-2002. Dept. of Interior official halts oil exploration adjacent to Arches N.P. By Brent Israelsen. Salt Lake Tribune. This is a happy follow-up to the story below, but beware, the Bush energy bill is before the U.S. Senate this week. While most of the focus is on Alaska, I am most concerned about the provisions that affect the Rocky Mountains.
2-21-2002. Chewing Up a Fragile Land.
Op/ed New York Times by Terry Tempest Williams. How the Bush Administration crushes the life out of red country next to Utah national parks.

2-26-2002. Massive slaughter of domestic elk begins under frigid conditions at mad-elk infected Elk Echo Ranch in NE Colorado. By Theo Stein. Denver Post.

2-23-2002. Yellowstone wolf kills feed many other animals: ‘Nothing is wasted’ By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette Wyoming Bureau.

2-20-2002. Park Service reproposes ban or limitations on snowmobiles in Yellowstone. LA Times. Despite the early cave-in by the Bush Administration to snowmobile interests, the new, revised, draft winter plan proposes phasing out or limitations on snowmobiles, although one alternative is only a slight change from the status quo.
2-20-2002. U.S. weighs lifting ban on snowmobiles at Yellowstone. By Judith Graham. Chicago Tribune.
2-23-2002. Snowmobiles don't belong in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Opinion of the LA Times.
2-24-2002. End the Drone in Yellowstone. Salt Lake Tribune. Editorial Opinion

The draft supplemental environmental impact statement [EIS] is on-line at: http://www.nps.gov/grte/winteruse/intro.htm.

A 60-day comment period is now open! Go to the EIS for info.

2-22-2002. NAFTA’s Chapter 11 threatens the environment and democracy. By Justin Gerdes. ENN. Not only that, but it threatens national sovereignty with its private international "court" system.

2-22-2002. Colorado cougar may be helping to control mad elk/mad deer disease. By Theo Stein. Denver Post. Don't know if it's true, but if so, wolves in Colorado would help too. I should point out that it may be possible that mad deer disease could be transmitted to the predator, but since the Division of Wildlife says it might be OK for people to eat mad deer, I assume carnivores would be more resistant than people.

2-22-2002. West Nile Virus in Wyoming by this summer? By Mark Stark. Billings Gazette.
2-7-2002. West Nile Virus expected in Montana. Billings Gazette.

2-22-2002. Montana forecast lists hot, fire-spreading winds Friday and cold front Saturday. By James Hagengruber. Billings Gazette.
2-23-2002. And sure enough there was a range fire near Choteau, Montana.!!

2-18-2002. Predator politics gets ugly in Idaho. By Rocky Barker and Roger Phillips. High Country News. This is another article, with a bit more time perspective, on the forcing out of Rod Sando at Idaho Fish and Game.

2-15-2002. Park Workers don respirators to work in snowmobile pollution at West Entrance. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. By Scott McMillion. Despite the rhetoric about cleaner snowmobiles this winter, it is horrible pollution as usual at West Yellowstone.
2-15-2002. Snowmobiling Abuses in Yellowstone Continue Despite Costly New Mitigation Efforts. Park records reveal hundreds of violations while park employees continue to suffer health problems from snowmobile exhaust. Greater Yellowstone Coalition news.
2-15-2002. Snowmobiles pollute Yellowstone. Park Service issues oxygen tanks for rangers. MSNBC
2-17-2002. Editorial Denver Post. The Racket is Back.

2-15-2002. Idaho has a new director of Fish and Game, but many question whether it will be the Dept. of Fish and Game, or should be called the "Cattle Growers Protective Bureau" Editorial on the matter from Idaho Statesman.
2-17-2002. Greater Yellowstone Coalition looks at the mess at Idaho Fish and Game.

2-15-2002. Fiery rhetoric. There are no winners in Montana’s politics of hate. by George Ochenski. Missoula Independent.

2-15-2002. Bitterroot logging deal may prompt protests. By Dan Laidman. Missoula Independent. Unhappiness on both sides after Bitterroot salvage logging deal.

2-14-2002. "Same Song, Second Verse." Bush Administration wastes money on a second study of snowmobiles at Yellowstone Opinion of the Idaho Falls Post Register.

2-14-2002. A Computer Shutdown Plays Havoc at Interior. By Tim Egan. New York Times. The Park Service is back up, but meanwhile, most of the rest of DOI is still down, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
2-13-2002. National Park Service web sites are back up.
AP. About 40 per cent are back on-line.

2-13-2002. Debunking Lynxgate. As lawmakers accuse seven government biologists of fraud, the truth is drowned out by the headlines. By Daniel Glick. Outside Magazine.

2-12-2002. There was an interesting dichotomy in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle the last several days in letters to the editor from local politician Montana Rep. Joe Balyeat, a supporter of Friends of the Northern Range Elk Herd, and biologist Mike Phillips of the Turner Endangered Species Fund (and former head of the Yellowstone Park wolf team). Here they are:

Sometimes Crying "Wolf!" is a Good Thing. 2/10/02. By Joe Balyeat
Effort to get wolves delisted should be focused elsewhere. 2/10/02 By Mike Phillips

2-12-2002. Editorial Idaho Statesmen.Idaho Fish and Game Commission fond of secret meetings.

2-11-2002. Terrorism is wrong, from either side of environmental fence. By Todd Wilkinson regional columnist and author. "Ecoterrorism" cuts both ways. The tiny, secretive ELF burns things down, but mainstream environmentalists are regularly threatened by politicians.

2-10-2002. Continuing drought causes Cooke City, MT to nearly run out of water. AP

2-10-2002. Former foes team up to battle politics in Idaho Fish and Game Commission. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

2-9-2002. Bush administration allows oil testing adjacent to Arches National Park. New York Times. By Tim Egan.

2-8-2002. Elk kill begins at ill-fated Colorado ranch. 1200 elk slated to die in "mad-elk" tainted herd. By Theo Stein. Denver Post.

2-8-2002. Developers use Olympics to grab Utah land. By Stephen R. Miller. ENN. Link to Save our Canyons.

2-8-2002. Forest Service and Environmentalists Settle Bitterroot Logging Dispute. By Jim Robbins. New York Times.
2-7-2002. Montana governor throws gasoline on Bitterroot fire controversy. Missoula Independent. By Carlotta Grandstaff.

2-7-2002. Scientists cleared in lynx fur "scandal." News release from PEER. The scientists did nothing wrong. The whole controversy was stirred up by the Washington Times and the anti-environment media. In fact the Times recently offered an environmentalist attacked in their paper a chance to buy an ad to defend himself. The story in An Advertising Department That's on Top of the News. Washington Post. This is a new low in journalism and I think there may be a libel case if a company attacks someone so they can sell them an ad to defend themselves.

2-7-2002. Elk from Montana game farm, sick from tuberculosis, show up in Oregon. Many elk and cattle to be slaughtered. Billings Gazette. Just another nightmare from the game farms.

2-7-2002. Norton says Native American trust reform to cost hundreds of millions. By Bill McAllister. Denver Post Washington Bureau Chief. This is the controversy that is keeping the Department of Interior web sites closed down.

2-7-2002. No word on Bitterroot National Forest court-ordered timber sale mediation talks. By Sherry Devlin. Missoulian.

2-6-2002- Let the locals run forests? Bush Administration proposes "charter forests"  By Katherine Pfleger. Associated Press Writer. It is claimed there is paralysis by analysis on the national forests. The reason for this is that various people who use the forests don't agree on the goals of forest management, and this disagreement is expressed by lawsuits and appeals (on all sides of the issues).
The problem with partially privatized forests run by "locals" is that forests of regional or national importance will be run by people with only parochial interests. Furthermore, if you live in the interior West, the word "local" has a special meaning. It means you support preference for the three Western hallowed occupations -- mining, logging, and grazing. It means you don't live in a urban place (unless you own a logging company). For example, a resident of Boise, Idaho would not  be considered "local" even for the adjacent Boise National Forest. A resident of nearby Horseshoe Bend, small town about 20 miles from Boise would be "local."
You have to live the West and experience the discrimination against urban Western residents before this can be understood. Idaho US Senator Larry Craig made that plain as day recently when he said he didn't consider Blaine County, Idaho part of Idaho and wouldn't represent those folks, and the reason is plain -- they have the wrong opinions about national forests.

2-6-2002. Two Montana Legislators claim wolves are wiping out Yellowstone northern range herd. AP. I get a lot of email asking what can be done politically to help wolves. In the case of Idaho, not much; but these 2 Montana legislators come from competitive districts, and I'd bet they have substantial numbers of politically unorganized wolf supporters in their districts. The answer to folks in this part of Montana is to get involved in the campaigns of their opponents, and if they have no strong opponent and the opponent is no good, why not run yourself?

2-5-2002. Gray wolves heading to California. Defenders seek protections as ranchers howl. By Michael McCabe, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer. Do ranchers live in some parallel universe where word of the trivial effect of wolves on livestock in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho can't get down the galactic wormhole and into their universe?
2-4-2002. Ranchers make the usual usual gloom and doom prediction if wolves come to Oregon. AP. This story has appeared in a number of papers this weekend. Those of us who favor all wildlife have faced winds more bitter than those that blow around LeGrande, Oregon.

2-5-2002. Western Watersheds Project makes its first effort in Colorado. By Theo Stein. Denver Post.

2-5-2002. Environmentalists accept some Bitterroot logging. Missoulian. By Sherry Devlin.
2-5-2002. 'Tired' Bitterroot forest supervisor says goodbye. By Sherry Devlin. Missoulian.

2-1-2002. Emergency appeal filed on Bitterroot "salvage" logging. By Sherry Devlin. Missoulian. Former timber lobbyist, now Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, has tried every trick in the book to prevent normal public process on the biggest fire, so-called "salvage" logging, plan in history.
Is Bitterroot Logging Bane or Balm? Plan Stirs Debate. By Jim Robbins. New York Times.
The story on Bitterroot "salvage" has gone national for a fairly well balanced analysis.

2-4-2002. Last dance for the sage grouse? by Hal Clifford. High Country News feature article. Although the sage grouse is a magnificent large and colorful grouse, its demise heralds a vast new controversy over the shrinking sagebrush of the West. Protection and restoration of sagebrush affects many plants and animals including mule deer, whose declining numbers might be due to the destruction and degradation of sagebrush. One reader did not like this article and wrote: "I can't read this! They as much as admit the herbaceous plants and topsoil are gone that the grouse depend upon, then in typical style blame everything from fences to power lines and avoid the livestock issue except to say it is ' contentious'. What bullshit!"

2-4-2002. Latest article on YNP wolf watching. Wolf watchers get front-row seat to animal's comeback. Becky Bohrer. Associated Press.

2-3-2002. Montana economy declines under GOP control. Opinion by Tom Judge (former governor). Billings Gazette. One doesn't have agree with former Democratic Governor Judge. It might be just coincidence but Montana has become relatively much less prosperous since it started electing Republicans in control of the state government.

2-2-2002. Federal judge orders mediation over timber. Forest Service officials, environmentalists will have two days to reach agreement on salvage logging. By Sherry Devlin of the Missoulian.

2-1-2002. Fish and Wildlife Service plans more releases of Mexican Wolves. Eastern Arizona Courier.

2-1-2002. Small quake in Jackson Hole Concerns Geologists. AP

1-31-2002. Frustration sparks drive to give Idaho Fish and Game more freedom. Vote could trim political control of commission. By Roger Phillips and Rocky Barker. The Idaho Statesman. This initiative could remake Idaho wildlife politics. While it is impossible to eliminate politics from wildlife management, there is a difference between wildlife politics dominated by groups like the cattle association and a politics dominated by those who care for wildlife. In 1994 the legislature made it essentially impossible to get an initiative on the ballot, but recently a federal judge ruled their action unconstitutional. The old law is therefore, reinstated, so getting the 44,000 signatures on the ballot has a chance.
2-1-2002. Governor's staff told commissioners to 'fix' F&G problem. Meetings took place in week before Sando quit By Rocky Barker and Roger Phillips The Idaho Statesman. So maybe the sacking of Sando was not just the F & G Commission.

1-31-2002. Building in the floodplain of the upper Yellowstone River shows big increase. Billings Gazette. By Clair Johnson.

1-31-2002. Purchase of Baca Ranch in Colorado paves the way for a Great Sand Dunes National Park. Denver Post. By Mark H. Hunter.

1-30-2002. Editorial. Idaho Mountain Express suggests a puppet for the next Idaho Fish and Game Director. See other stories on the resignation of another F & G director about 12 stories down. Editorial Post Register: Sando was ousted because he wouldn't bend his ethics at the demand of the cattle association.  ↓

1-29-2002. Utah governor may ask declaration of San Rafeal Swell a national monument. Salt Lake Tribune. In what may appear to be a big switch Governor Leavit may ask George W. Bush to declare this vast area of canyons and colorful rock a national monument. This seems unexpected after the controversy in 1996 when President Clinton declared the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument 100 miles to the south. We visited the Swell about 15 years ago and found it very scenic, but off road vehicles were already scaring the area. On my return 8 years ago, I found so much damage by all terrain vehicles that I cut my vacation short and went home. The devil will be in the details. Would it be a real national monument, or would it be the first national ATV scenic hill climb monument? Scenic photo of area.
1-30-2002. Utah environmentalists revel in the Irony. By Tom Kenworthy. USA Today.

1-28-2002. Idaho's gold mines all shut. By Chuck Oxley. Idaho Statesman. In a nutshell that tells what has happened to resource economy, formerly prominent in rural Idaho. Global markets, not environmental regulations, have put much of the logging, mining, and public land grazing below the level of economic viability. To blame environmental regulations is to suggest that competition requires a race to the bottom in environmental protection (and one might add worker protection too. Wouldn't slave labor much us more competitive?)

1-28-2002. Interior Secretary Norton weathers stormy 1st year. Controversy swirls on several fronts. By Mike Soraghan Denver Post Washington Bureau

1-27-2002. Congressmen in West Yellowstone hearings stand up for snowmobiles. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
2-1-2002. Congressional Committee Gets a Lesson from West Yellowstone. Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

1-26-2002. End of the massive cleanup of old mining area above Cooke City still years away. AP

1-25-2002. The rough and gory road to Mexican wolf recovery. By Ben Ikenson. ENN. This is an overview of the more difficult wolf recovery -- the Mexican wolves.  I have not covered this closely because, unlike Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, I don't know the land well.

1-25-2002. Four options listed for snowmobilers in new Yellowstone draft. Billings Gazette. Related. Opinion: Natural beauty fuels Montana’s winter tourism. Billings Gazette Editorial Montana must strike a careful balance between quantity and quality to profit from winter visitors.

1-24-2002. Defenders of Wildlife Pays $16,691 in grizzly bear compensation during 2001. News release. I am continually amazed how inexpensive it is to compensate for the minor amount of livestock destruction due to grizzlies and wolves.

1-24-2002. Political flak marked Sando's tenure at F&G Director quits, but controversies remain. By Rocky Barker and Roger Phillips The Idaho Statesman. It is impossible to take politics out of wildlife management, but it is possible to empower the public over small membership interests like the cattle association. Now that Idahoans have re-grained the power to write initiatives, I think one is needed to elect the Fish and Game Commission members. It will still be political, but they won't be chosen by a handful of ranchers and farmers. If the commission is good or if it is rotten, the public will be responsible.
1-24. The story in the Pocatello paper. Politics drives director from job Department in flux after Fish and Game leader quits post. By Graham Garner - Idaho State Journal Writer
Editorial. 1-24. Idaho Statesman. Our View: In this rigged rumble, sportsmen got blindsided.
Yesterday 1-23. Idaho Fish & Game director to resign. Rod Sando will quit after two years with agency. By Roger Phillips and Rocky Barker The Idaho Statesman. I predicted last October that Sando wouldn't last when he had the "gall" to not fix a cougar-killing citation at the request of the Idaho Cattle Association. The politics of this shows why Idaho should not be given authority to manage wolves upon delisting.
The beginning of the end. No. 29, 2001. F&G chief rebukes Cattle Association. Sando was asked to intervene in lion-killing case By Rocky Barker. The Idaho Statesman. These cattle boys really think they're above the law.

1-24-2002. New rules: Park Service tests new snowmobile regulations at West Entrance By Brett French Billings Gazette Outdoor Writer.

1-24-2002. Big Sky told to bear-proof trash bins. By Nick Gevock Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer. Almost all the communities in Yellowstone grizzly bear habitat have bear-proofed their trash. Big Sky seems to have been the big exception.

1-23-2002. Our Western economy is changing, and it's for the better. by Thomas Michael Power. Writers on the Range. I have read Professor Power's new book "Post-cowboy economics." It comes up with insightful, non-intuitive conclusions that Western reactionaries will hate. I agree with much of what he writes, but I think the real story is the entire country suffered a decline in wages from the days of Reaganomics until 1998, when real wages finally regained the level of the 1970s.  A slightly different hypothesis is that the fall in wages was taken harder in West, due to the highly mythologized culture; and a provoked stronger, but totally ineffective, political response.

1-23-2002. Conservation Groups Oppose Use of M-44 cyanide gun scheme to protect sage grouse from predators. News Release.

1-23-2002. Senator Craig's astonishing statement. He represents all of Idaho except Blaine County. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express. We all know that many of our elected "representatives" don't represent us. They represent some other part of whatever state, or maybe Enron or other big interest; but they at least pretend. Would it be the rest of Idaho was more like Blaine County -- generally well educated, affluent, not on government welfare, and concerned about the environment instead of jobless, poor, unable to afford education, and in a recession.
1-23-2002. Mountain Express editorial on Craig's disavowal. "Looking for a senator."

1-23-2002. Science, politics uneasy partners in northwest environmental issues. By Michael Milstein. Oregonian. Whenever you read the words "sound science" or  "junk science" it's a tip-off the speaker is politically inspired. These words don't come from scientists. There is proper scientific method or there is not.

1-22-2002. Polluters get off easy in Idaho, report says DEQ struggles to enforce air quality laws. By Rocky Barker The Idaho Statesman

1-21-2002. Protect Colorado's elk and deer from chronic wasting disease. Opinion of the Denver Post.

1-21-2002. Judge puts kibosh on logging plan by Mark Matthews and Ray Ring. High Country News. More on the Bitterroot timber "salvage" controversy. 

1-18-2002. Drought holds on in Montana. Billings Gazette.

1-18-2002.Northern Yellowstone elk herd down 11%. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer  I think the 3 years of drought is the cause. 

1-17-2002. Montana prepares its draft wolf management plan. Missoulian. The plan will be available for public comments in November 2002.
Here is the plan  <http://www.fwp.state.mt.us/wildlife/wolf/wolfmanagement.asp>
1-17-2002. Henckel Column: FWP releases planning tool for wolf management. Mark Henckel Montana Outdoors. Billings Gazette.

1-17-2002. Primitive Idaho microbes could be the model for life on Mars or Europa. San Francisco Chronicle. By David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor

1-16-2002. Group growls over lynx flap. By Mike Soraghan Denver Post Washington Bureau. PEER, the same group that defended "Action Jackson" (see my grizzly report) is saying threats on lynx researchers by anti-environmental Western congressionals violates the Hatch Act.

1-16-2002. New fungus threatens Pacific Northwest trees, including the mighty redwoods? Oregonian. By Michael Milstein.

1-15-2002. Norton Getting Worse? Interior's Silence on Corps Plan Questioned Norton Never Submitted Fish and Wildlife Critique of Controversial Proposal to Relax Wetlands Rules. Washington Post.

1-14-2002. Colorado Division of Wildlife to slash Front Range deer numbers to try and stem "mad deer" disease. Denver Post. By Theo Stein. This is a warning to other states as to what can happen to wildlife if they let chronic wasting disease ("mad elk," "mad deer"  get started).

1-11-2002. National Elk Refuge at Jackson Hole begins supplemental elk feeding for the winter. 

1-10-2002. Anti-wolf, anti-griz, pro-snowmobile, Cody man nominated for key Interior post. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. By Scott McMillion. Paul Hoffman is nominated for a position where he can do great damage to our national parks.

1-9-2002. Let's buy out federal grazing permits and end the damage by Andy Kerr and Mark Salvo. Writers on the Range. Related: National Public Lands Grazing Campaign web site.

1-9-2002. Judge Overrules Decision Allowing Logging of Burned Bitterroot N. F. Trees. New York Times. By Katherane Q. Seeley.

1-9-2002. Drought may have ended in Idaho, but it continues with a vengeance in Montana and Wyoming. Several stories.

1-9-2002. Temperatures climbs to record levels in Montana and Wyoming . Billings Gazette. By James Hagengruber.
1-9-2002. Next year could be even worse in Montana, forecasters say . AP.
1-9-2002. Snowpack may signal drought is at an end. Idaho gets 'off to good start,' but reserves are low. By Ken Day. Idaho Statesman.
1-12-2002. Wyoming still in Drought. Billings Gazette.

1-5-2002. Continuing Court-ordered Computer Shutdown rattles Dept. of Interior. AP

1-2-2002. Ted Turner wants to recovery the rare swift fox on his SD ranch . Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Related: Turner Endangered Species Fund: Swift Fox.

1-2-2002. [Can] Market forces foster sustainable forestry? Government rules become less relevant. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

Other wolf country conservation news archives

March-April 2002
Oct.-Dec. 2001
Aug.-Sept. 2001
May-July 2001

March-Apr 2001

Jan-February 2001

Nov-December 2000

Sept - October 2000

July- August 2000
May- June 2000
March - April 2000

Jan - February 2000

July - December 1999
January - June 1999
1997 - 1998

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