Archives of Conservation News Stories in Western Wolf Country
Updated last on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 3:55 AM

The stories below are arranged in rough chronological order. Be sure to scroll down so you don't miss updated stories. Unless it is in quotes, the commentary is mine. . . Ralph Maughan

Please be aware that not all articles and links will be working because some of the sources do not keep archives, or if they do keep them, they charge for them.

Articles from April through June 2006 -

6-25-2006. Off road vehicle users and drug growers and runners increasingly menace Forest Service workers with assaults. By Matthew Daly, Associated Press.
6-26-2006. Vandals are giving our public lands a beating. Great Falls Tribune. By Michael Babcock.

6-25-2006. Idaho is the only U.S. state without a national park. By John Miller. AP

6-24-2006. ITD, Forest Service mending ties Gravel pit in SNRA creates rift, leads to talk of long-range plans. By Steve Benson. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer. Not ! Here is the truth. Idaho Department of Transportation came in with essentially no notice and started a huge gravel pit right in middle of the splendid Sawtooth Valley (in front of 4th of July Creek) on an Idaho state section of land. The pit, crusher and trucks will be an eyesore for a long time, and completely contrary to the purpose for which the Sawtooth National Recreation Areas was created and millions of your dollars spent to buy up land to conserve the scenery.
The act was aggressive, unnesscary, and the ITD is threatening a second pit in wetlands adjacent to the Salmon River. The only miscommunication is that the Forest Service has apparently not heard IDT tell them to - - - - off loudly enough yet.
The motivation of IDT is unclear. As of now it looks like an unprovoked assault against Idaho's outdoors.
June 23-June 27. Photos of the start of the pit.

6-23-2006. Where Are Bush, Cheney On Science Of Climate Change? By Todd Wilkinson, New West.

6-23-2006. Eastern Idaho developer gets prison for bulldozing Teton Creek near the Tetons. By Christopher Smith. Associated Press. This doesn't happen often (prison for lawbreaking developers). It's a landmark decision.

6-22-2006. Study: Earth is hottest now in 400 years, maybe in 2000 years. Humans responsible for much of the warming. USA Today. The National Academy of Sciences did the study at the request of congressional global warming skeptics.
6-23-2006. Related story: Global warm-up fed '05 hurricanes. By Kim McGuire. Denver Post Staff Writer.

6-22-2006. Sheep ousted from part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Federal judge sends environmental study back to Forest Service. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express Assistant Editor. Although the lawsuit is not based on wolves, this decision will be good for all wildlife in the Sawtooth Valley ares.

6-22-2006. New Group Takes On Goliath. Saving Hunters From the NRA. New West. By Bill Schneider. For a long time I've felt there needs to be an alternature to the NRA for gun owners. I own a number of guns, but joining the NRA has become like joining the Republican Party (and not that part of the GOP that supports protecting and conserving our outdoor heritage). Now there is American Hunters & Shooters Association.

6-22-2006. Nature Conservancy buys Idaho ranch to add to its "ranch preserve" near Dubois, Idaho (near Idaho/Montana border). Idaho Statesman. More on the Nature Conservancy in Idaho. By Roger Phillips. Idaho Statesman

6-21-2006. Bush Administration issues new national park management guidelines stressing conservation over recreation. By Juliet Eilperin.The Washington Post. What a relief! It looks like Cheney crony, Paul Hoffman was slapped down (see story below on Hoffman on 6-14 in Vanity Fair, "Who's ruining our national parks?"). Snowmobiles and ATVs are not going to have the run of the Parks.
6-21-2006. Greens applaud new national park rules. Motorized vehicle advocates call draft bad for public recreation. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide. One correction in the story—the Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC) doesn't have 600,000 members. They get groups to join their "coalition." Then they count every member in each group as a member of the BRC, even though most have no idea their group has affiliated with the BRC. The BRC probably has more like 10,000 real members.
6-21-2006. Secretary of Interior Kempthorne's preservation-oriented park policy a good step. Great Falls (MT) Tribune.

6-21-2006. Owner rules out restarting, fixing Mohave power plant. Ken Alltucker The Arizona Republic. This coal-fired electical generation plant was one of the dirtiest in the country and polluted the Grand Canyon for many years. Good riddance. Build a modern clean plant.

6-16-2006. President Bush Announces World’s Largest Marine Sanctuary. By Laurel Wamsley. Outside Magazine. This is the first major land protection (actually most undersea and land) that President Bush has made. It seems that just the right groups and politicians came together to make this fine thing happen.

6-16-2006. Forest Service plans to ease limits on killing predators in western US. By Brad Knickerbocker. Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor. This is a misleading headline about an noxious new Bush Forest Service plan to kill predators in designated Wilderness areas—units of the National Wilderness Preservation System. It is not about the Western U.S. generically. The plan is totally against the concept of Wilderness, and I think it violates the Wilderness Act. The Act does allow for the killing of specific predators to benefit the the minor livestock use that was grandfathered in some Wilderness Areas. Methods that would minimize impacts on Wilderness values must be used. Little predator control is done.
The proposed new policy would "permit the use of aircraft, motorized equipment and mechanical transport, and pesticides in wilderness areas . . ." Wilderness and motorized use are incompatable. Motorizied use is allowed for emergency administration work, but killing predators in reserved country which is supposed to be a place where nature is free is hardly any emergency.
The proposal also seems to exclude notification of the public, so bear, wolf, cougar, and coyote killing schemes in Wilderness can be hatched and carried out by a bunch of good 'ol boys.
The proposal can be found in the Federal Register. I will comment more when conservation groups have fully analyzed the situation.

6-14-2006. Idaho's governor not ready to give up on Snake River Sockeye Salmon despite recommendation by panel for extinction. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman. Just 5 salmon returned to Redfish Lake, the only remaining spawning area, in 2005.

6-14-2006. Word from Idaho Fish and Game about dog safety in wolf country. Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game news release.

6-14-2006. Who's Ruining Our National Parks? By Michael Shyayerson. Feature article in Vanity Fair. Vanity Fair is known for its excellence in feature articles. Shyayerson looks at Paul Hoffman, a Wyoming crony of Cheney's, who is now very busy, happly eating away our National Park System's standards on behalf of the Bush Administration.
We have encountered Hoffman before in the news, but this is the first good article on him. He is a particular threat to Yellowstone National Park.

6-14-2006. 33 Idaho state senators urge Gov Risch to reject mercury rule. Some worry that pollution-trading program will lead to coal-fired power plants being built in the Gem State. By John Miller. Idaho Statesman. Idaho is the one state that remains coal power plant free. Many of these plants are notorious producers of mercury pollution (a contaminant of coal). Idaho is not part of the national mercury cap and trade system, and conservationists, agriculturists, and many others do not want Idaho to join the system, in part because Mercury pollution is already an Idaho problem with one possible source the many open pit gold mines in nearby Nevada which produce a lot of mercury and arsenic in their dust. Nevada gold mine

Part of the huge Barrick Goldstrike mine in northern Nevada, north of the town of Carlin. Photo Ralph Maughan. Taken June 2006.




6-13-2006. Defending dad's land-loving legacy. Mark Udall battles partisanship to preserve father's environmental ethic, legislation. By Associated Press. Mark Udall, a Colorado congressman and son of famous conservationist Morris Udall, has a good chance at picking up a US Senate seat that would protect our outdoors. Stewart Udall, Mark's uncle, was a conservation-minded Secretary of Interior about 40 years ago. His cousin, Tom Udall, is currently a conservationist congressman from New Mexico. It's a family full of people willing to stand up for our outdoor heritage.

6-13-2006. Do cows indirectly increase snowmelt? Summit Daily News (Colorado). By Michelle Nijhuis.

6-13-2006. Geyser, inactive since '98, erupts. Variety of changes observed throughout Norris Geyser Basin. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette.

6-11-2006. Wolves vs. elk: 10 years after Wolves' return, are Idaho's most controversial predators decimating elk herds? By Roger Philips. Idaho Statesman. Philips finds no evidence that wolves are decimating Idaho elk herds. Wolves have changed elk habits and so hunters need to use different tactics to be successful.
I should add that a major reason wildlife advocates like myself supported the reintroduction to wolves was to benefit the elk, and so cause them to change their habits, making them wilder, and less like merely quick livestock.

6-11-2006. Climate Change Hits The American West. No longer dismissed as an invention of Chicken Littles, climate change is upon us and Americans are addressing it head on. Consider this possible view of the West in the year 2056. By Todd Wilkinson. New West.

6-10-2006. Poachers busy in Wyoming energy fields By Jeff Gearino. Southwest Wyoming Bureau. Casper Star Tribune.

6-10-2006. Hikers report 2 wolf sightings near Aspen "Those were no coyotes," said the pair, who alerted wildlife officials. But the state says there is no way to confirm it. By Brandon Lowrey Denver Post Staff Writer

6-10-2006. Wolf Sterilization Scheme in British Columbia Backfires. By Chris Darimont and Chris Genovali. Counterpunch.

6-9-2006. Federal official's memo raises wildlife concerns. By Brodie Farquhar. Casper Star-Tribune correspondent. Brucellosis is a moderately serious livestock disease, but it functions more as a disease of useful political convenience than anything else. Its most common use is by livestock interests to attack wildlife conservation. When the tables are turned such as in Idaho which has lost its brucellosis free status, the disease doesn't even make the news in rural weeklies. We can bet that this federal vet official is up to no good.

5-31-2006. West's new tune: Hands off our lands. The idea of selling off federal lands is now about as popular as a hawk in a prairie dog colony. By Mike Soraghan Denver Post Staff Writer. As recently as 5 years most politicians from states like Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and Nevada and scattered places in Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Arizona, regularly complained about the burden the vast public lands of the West imposed, and talked longingly about selling them off or grabbing them for the states (except maybe keeping some of the national parks). In the last year, the true feelings of today's Westerners has shoved that aside. Those politicians who formerly badmouthed our vast open spaces of the West have become their "born again" friends (although I doubt their conversion is sincere).
Despite this welcome development, I think there needs to be a political house cleaning, and those with the wrong attitude toward our public land in the past, exposed, and maybe replaced with those whose whose affection leaves no doubt.
In the article above "Terry Anderson, executive director of the Property and Environment Research Center in Montana," said "many Westerners are opposed to the outright sale of public land because, the way it is, they have it for themselves. 'There's this cultural populist attitude,' he said, 'that somewhere in the Ten Commandments it says, 'Thou shalt have access for free."'
Damn right, Terry!

5-31-2006. Canada [Alberta] Pays Environmentally for U.S. Oil Thirst. Huge Mines Rapidly Draining Rivers, Cutting Into Forests, Boosting Emissions. By Doug Struck Washington Post Foreign Service. In fairness, it is not just U.S. thirst. Alberta is a province with almost no environmental ethic. This is manifested in many ways other than energy development. If mining tar sands in Alberta is destructive, wait for development of oil shale in Utah and Colorado.

5-30-2006. Climate Change Responsible For Increased Hurricanes, Researchers Find. Science Daily.

5-30-2006. A victory for salmon on the Snake River. By Ted Williams. Fly Rod and Reel Magazine.

5-30-2006. Scientists find the firey plume of magma that feeds Yellowstone extends hundreds of miles down. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette. The magma pool also tilts toward the northwest to about Dillon, MT.

5-30-2006. Oil addict's symptom? Urge to drill for more. The Republican.

5-30-2006. Call of wild is wolf pups' past, future Surrogate motherhood can apply to wolves, as a Minnesota captive wolf adds three wild-born wolf pups to her family. Minneapolis Star Tribune. By Tom Meersman.

5-29-2006. If you meet a wolf, what should you do? By Keith Ridler. AP writer. Meeting a wolf or even a pack is almost always a benign event, with exceptions, such as if you have a dog, or are near their den or their kill.

5-29-2006. Yellowstone National Park's air quality is still good but sliding downhill faster than any other national park. By Brodie Farquhar. Jackson Hole Star Tribune. Yellowstone trends are down in all categories except, ironically, visibility.
The outlook for most Western national parks is bad given the Bush/Cheney reliance-on-traditional- energy-sources program.
Details: National Park Service air resource management program results.

5-29-2006. Biologist: Protect Wyoming pronghorn migration route. Longest terrestrial journey in Lower 48 is threatened by development. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide. Pronghorn have been migrating from south of Pinedale, WY to Jackson Hole for over 5000 years. Now oil and gas development and subdivisions, especially in just a few key chokepoints, may cut that off forever.

5-27-2006. Wyoming governor sounds nuts when he talks about wolves. By Brodie Farquhar. Casper Star Tribune. Freudenthal, now in re-election mode, calls for aeriel gunning of wolves, claims Idaho and Montana's currently operating wolf plans “aren’t worth a bucket of warm spit.” I doubt Freudenthal believes any of this, but he does believe in pandering. As for myself, an Idahoan, I am tired of his insults and hostile actions toward his neighboring states such as his export of disease, polluted water, and dirty air.

5-27-2006. Kempthorne, Risch accept new jobs. Jim Risch will have shortest tenure as governor in Idaho history; Kempthorne moves to Interior. Gregory Hahn and Bill Roberts. Idaho Statesman.
Note: although Kempthorne's confirmation was the big news, a new head of FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) was also confirmed yestereday. Both are very important positions, and rememeber, it's three hurricane seasons until election 2008. These could be as big a factor as anything else given the aftermath of Katrina and the liklihood of similar hits beginning soon. The first tropical storm of the year (tropical storm Aletta) just formed over the west coast of Mexico.

5-24-2006. Gallatin County, Montana shutters regional park due to abuse by off-road vehicles. By Walt Williams. Bozeman Chronicle.

5-24-2006. Guilty Pleas All Around in Poaching Case Involving Former Staffer to Montana's embattled US Senator Conrad Burns. By Courtney Lowery. New West.

5-22-2006. Wolf foes howl at state managers. Emotions run high during Fish and Game meeting in Hailey. By Steven Benson. Idaho Mountain Express. —a very misleading headline. Opinion was divided about 50:50. It's just that anti-wolf is so noisy.
Regarding the people who said their dogs were bitten by wolves at the place in Croy Canyon, the reporter should have interviewed Steve Nadeau of Idaho Fish and Game as well as reporting the supposed goings-on in Croy Canyon. In fact Idaho Fish and Game went to Croy Canyon and the general Haily/Ketchum area three times in response to these reports. Wildlife Services made three trips too.
Here's what they found in Croy Canyon. One wolf track. One dead coyote, maybe killed by a wolf. They trapped and got one large stray dog. Nadeau, large carnivore manager for Idaho, said he thought they had "gone above and beyond" on this particular matter.

5-22-2006. A northern Utah, Forest Service ranger district plans to open many non-motorized trails to ATVs. News release from a conservation group appealing the decision.
At a time of ever higher energy prices, growing obesity in the population, and environmental degradation, this action that will push those who walk and ride mountain bikes out of the mountains on the populous Wasatch Front is and example of the U.S. Forest Service acting against the public interest.
Related: "Forest wants more rangers to enforce off-road rules." By The Associated Press. Fascinating how there are just 3 rangers to enfore all the Forest Service land in SW Montana and the ORV group says more are not needed. In the past five years they have written just 21 tickets. How many land ripping violations were there, maybe 21,000?

5-21-2006. Winter, spring tough on mule deer Low survival rate leads Fish and Game to reduce hunts in Southern Idaho. By Roger Phillips. Idaho Statesman. The winter was unusually severe, at least compared to the the last decade of mild winters. Coyotes also killed many malnourished deer. Winter didn't apparently hit the elk very hard, however.
It's easy to predict that come next hunting season wolves will get the blame for reduced mule deer numbers.

5-20-2006. Strongest earthquake of the year in Yellowstone Park. AP. Not very strong, however.

5-18-2006. Student tells of encounter with mountain lion. By The Associated Press.

5-17-2006. Trout Unlimited assails Bush Administration for making the dominant role of the BLM energy development. By Jennifer Talhelm. AP/Casper Stat Tribune. The Bureau of Land Management manages more of your federal public lands than any other land management agency, and it's true that open space of the West and the clean air above them are being rapidly industrialized by the Bush Administration. It isn't pretty like the energy company ads.
5-17-2006. BLM office in Utah oil, gas lease sale rakes in $54M Controversial: The auction included some parcels that have been protested by conservation and outdoor recreation groups. By Joe Baird The Salt Lake Tribune.
$54-million is chump change for the amount of damage that will be done.

5-16-2005. Scientists discuss invasive algae problem ["rock snot"]. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer. This is a growing problem in th clear mountain streams of the Rockies.

5-15-2006. Under the overthrust. By Jeanne Klobnak-Ball. Jackson Hole Planet. If you are not familiar with the Overthrust Belt of the Rocky Mountains you should be. It is some of the most scenic and wildlife rich country in the world, and its 800 mile stretch is in the bulls eye of the natural gas industry. It continues north into Alberta, and if you want to see some trashed country, visit the foothills and canyon north of Waterton National Park.

5-14-2006. Middle Fork of the Boise River is worth preserving. Pete Zimowsky. Idaho Statesman. Two huge open pit gold mines are planned for its headwaters. Gold is currently over $700/oz, making many new mines feasible. The thing about gold, however, is this. It isn't like other metals. It is an alternative store of value as much as something used for industrial or decorative purposes. Increasing the gold supply cannot easily be shown to be of any national or international benefit. What if lots of new gold drove the price down to $500/oz? Would investors be better off? Doubtful. There really isn't a need for new gold mines.
Secondly, gold mining has become very damaging to the environment, and these costs are too often borne by the public which sees no benefit from the gold.

5-12-2006. Mud-bogging leaves scars and saps away Idaho Fish and Game's money. By Eric Barker. The Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune. Call me harsh, but I think these people should be jailed with a mandatory minimum sentence. One way you get get these jerks is to carry a digital camera and a cell phone to law enforcement. Make sure you get their license plate number in the photo and a wide view of the area as well as a close up. New 8X to 12X digital cameras can keep you well back from the lawbreakers. I've nailed a couple of them.

5-12-2006. National Parks learn to make do with less. Campfire stories privatized; talks by rangers cut. By Tom Kenworthy. USA Today. The Bush Administrative says there is just not enough money to do more, and yet yesterday Congress passed and the President is eager to sign another $70-billion tax cut. Essentially all of the media commentary was not whether the tax cut would do any good, but whether it would lift the sagging hopes of the majority party in Congress and the President whose approval rating dropped to 29% in the latest poll released today.

5-11-2006. Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee sends approves Kempthorne nomination on a voice vote. By Matthew Daly. AP. Other political matters may, however, hold up Kempthorne on the Senate floor or maybe even kill his nomination. Politics in the Senate is complicated and many unrelated issues are fought out on the floor, in part because the House is run with such partisan efficiency that the minority has no opportunity to influence things there; hence they use the Senate where the minority party has many procedural rights.

5-11-2006. Groups further effort to protect Yellowstone cutthroat, claiming hybridization, loss of habitat pose threats. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

5-10-2006. Lava Lake Land and Livestock receives awards. Times-News. Last year when the Castle Peak Pack killed quite a few sheep they even removed their sheep band from the North Fork of the Big Lost River in Idaho's Boulder Mountains.

5-10-2006. State biologist [Montana] keeps eyes on wolves through tracking. By Mike Stark.The Gazette Staff. It's about Jon Trapp, one of the fine biologists working with wolves for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks.

5-10-2006. Kempthorne's nomination draws opposition from greens. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

5-6-2006. Opinion. Kempthorne's "frozen in time attitudes" said to conflict with best interests of today's Westerner. Rocky Mountain News. By Matt Baker. It's true that emphasis on natural resource development will harm the economics and reduce the reasons why most people today choose to live in the West. More on 5-9-2006. Kempthorne failed to answer key questions he will face as Secretary of Interior. Editorial. Denver Post.

5-4-2006. What the Idaho Statesman would like Idaho's governor to say as he testifies on his confirmation as Sec. of Interior. Editorial and,
5-4-2006. What he said today. Kempthorne Nomination Tied to Energy. By John Heliprin. Associated Press Writer. Kempthorne said a few encouraging things and might recuse himself from making decisions on wolves, grizzlies and salmon for a while due to his unfriendliness to protecting them as governor of Idaho. Most of the questions to him were slow pitches, although he stressing drilling for oil and gas to the degree that one senator reminded him that he had not been nominated Secretary of Energy. Kempthorne comes from a state with zero oil and gas deposits, and in truth probably knows little about the complex politics of these resources.

He did say he would check into the low royalty payments the oil companies were making to the federal treasury for all their production on public land. A number of recent reports have shown that the oil companies are avoiding paying many billions of dollars of royalties due to loopholes created from them in the 1990s and not closed despite the enormous profits they are making from the high prices.

5-4-2006. Yellowstone Wolf Population Tops 1,000, States Seek Delisting. The Heartland Institutite. This misleading headline tells us more about the Heartland Institute than about wolves. One would think someone who claims to represent the heartland would know that Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming are a bit more than country "in and around Yellowstone."

5-4-2006. Wild Bill. NPS on Slippery Slope with Photog Fees. By Bill Schneider. New West.
5-4-2006. National Park Service backs off of filming fees. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Chronicle. The high daily filming fee will apply to large studio type operations, not the small filmakers who have to spend a lot of time in the field for just a minute or two of real action film.
5-3-2006. Montana U.S. Senator Baucus says Park's new filming fees aren't fair. AP

4-29-2006. Uproar over fees to film in U.S. parks. Photograhers would be charged $150 per day. By Jennifer Byrd, Associated Press. These new rules will apply to those who shoot commercial videos. However, the same rate applies to both Hollywood productions and small independents. The effect is easy to see--drive out the small in favor of the corporation. Hasn't this been the dominant theme in public land management the last ten years or so?
The requirement to establish these fees was sponsored by Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo, who now claims it "was meant for larger-scale Hollywood movie productions, not small-scale nature films." Be that as it may, the sponsor of a bill has little say over its implementation. With the funding of national parks and public lands in general being deliberately reduced, can there be much doubt that before long, anyone with camcorder or sophisticated digital camera is going to stopped by a ranger and assessed a fee?
You should note that this fee doesn't apply just to national parks, but to BLM lands too, which are your generic public lands. A side-effect of this is to cause people to think of their public lands as the "government's land," and so lend support to their privatization (probably one intent of this and similar laws).

5-3-2006. Oregon's Land-Use Debate Raises Idea: Developers Should Pay for Gov't "Givings". By Dan Richardson. New West. Developers just love to agitate for mandatory payments if their efforts to develop land are thwarted by the government. Well fair is fair; shouldn't developers have to pay the government if government regulations make development more profitable? Government regulations and actions help rather than hurt developers very frequently.

5-3-2006. Alaska effort to gun down wolves from air this winter was mostly a failure. Fairbanks News-Miner. By Tim Mowry. Oh how sad for Alaska Fish and Game Dept.

5-2-2006. Anti-wolf initiative may not make the ballot. By Michelle Dunlop. Times-News writer. As I predicted, the Idaho anti-wolf initiative seems to have fallen short of the signatures needed to get on the election ballot this fall.

5-1-2006. Interior job offers Kempthorne a chance to show passion for parks. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman. This is a very hopeful story, but I doubt the Bush Administration will allow his enthusiasm, if it is really present, to manifest itself. My belief is that the Administration is preparing us for privatization of the public lands. They are softening us up for their sale by first starving the budgets for managing them and alienating us from them by charging high fees for what should be free to all American citizens.

4-27-2006. Public's rights are 'expansive,' judge rules in Forest Service case. By Susan Gallagher. Casper Star Tribune." Congress wants the public to have "expansive" rights to appeal U.S. Forest Service decisions, a federal judge said Monday in rejecting three rules imposed by the Bush administration." Related story. Forest Service Slapped Down. Federal Judge Validates Form Letters. By Bill Schneider. New West.

4-27-2006. Domestic sheep grazing prevails over bighorn sheep in SE Wyoming. By Chad Baldwin. Casper Star Tribune. The two are not compatible because domestic sheep easily pass on deadly diseases to bighorn. Economically speaking, bighorn are worth many times more than domestic sheep.

4-27-2006. Wisconsin wolf population estimated at 450 to 520. Duluth News Tribune. AP

4-25-2006. Elk kills eyed to restore Rocky Mountain National Park's balance. By David Olinger, Denver Post Staff Writer. This is going to be very controversial. They did it in Yellowstone back in the 1960s and the anger was overwhelming. There is better evidence that Rocky Mountain is overpopulated with elk than there was with Yellowstone.
Related 4-26-2006. Save the Beavers, Kill the Elk (But What About the Wolves?). By David Frey. New West.

4-25-2006. Over the Horizon Line. Column By Hal Rothman. Want Political Backfire? Screw With the American Vacation. "The current attempt by the Bush administration to cut the National Park Service operating budget by 20% is only the latest in a shameless series of efforts to gut the most beloved institution in American society."
My take is that Democrats and most Independents were fed up with Bush two years ago. I've been listening to right-wing talk radio lately. Even these folks can't stand Bush anymore. One of the reasons is the perception he doesn't stand up for American institutions like citizenship. Closely related is national parks. America invented national parks, and his crew is taking away this American birthright.

4-25-2006. Timber and conservation groups work to together to come up with "better" forest plan for the vast Beaverhead/Deerlodge N.F. in SW Montana than the Forest Service. By Perry Backus. Missoulian.

4-25-2006. Montana Highway Patrol assigns special unit to U.S. 191. By Walt Williams. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer. US 191 from West Yellowstone to Bozeman is a slaughter for people and wildlife.

4-25-2006. YNP, Grand Teton NP fees to rise. Billings Gazette thinks it's a good idea. Billings Gazette. The money is certainly needed. However, I think the Bush Administration is defunding the national parks for political rather than for budgetary reasons.

4-25-2006. Pinedale, WY man goes to prison for poaching four mule deer. AP/Billings Gazette.

4-24-2006. Montana sends 18 pages of concern to British Columbia government over massive coal development planned adjacent to Glacier National Park. AP/Billings Gazette. 4-24-2006. Hundreds of US Forest Service Campgrounds face closure. By By Brodie Fahrquhar. Casper Star-Tribune correspondent. The Forest Service is facing deliberable budgetary starvation by the Bush Administration. I think in preparation to privatizing our public lands and selling them to corporations and rich foreigners.

4-24-2006. Ozone pollutive levels spike near Pinedale from pollution at the Jonah natural gas field. Casper Star Tribune. By Whitney Royster. So, the formerly pristine air of the Green River Basin is already destroyed by the natural gas field, and they are just getting started.

4-21-2006. Two wolf hybrids shot in Colorado after they harassed livestock. Wet Mountain Tribune. This is indirectly at least one reason why my hope their wolves will naturally recolonize Colorado had faded. Even if a male and female wolf get together there and have pups, their offspring will very soon be indeed and likely end mating with dogs and hybrids some one has turned loose.

4-21-2006. Proposed Idaho Anti-wolf initiative wastes time, paper and votes. Guest opinion. by J. Robb Brady. Idaho Mountain Express. I dunno. Maybe folks ought to sign the anti-wolf initiative and then use the fall election to slap it down to show how Idahoans support wolf restoration.

4-20-2006. Hunters increasingly speaking out for public lands protection. USA Today. By Tom Kenworthy. That includes opposition to the disgusting oil natural gas leasing decision in the Wyoming Range (see story below).

4-19-2006.Is Jonah the model? As the Wyoming Range is leased, many wonder about its fate. Wyoming Range By Lauren M. Whaley and Angus M. Thuermer Jr. Jackson Hole News and Guide. The nearby Jonah natural gas field (on the flat) is going to have the most dense spacing of gas wells in the United States. Yes just like those editorial cartoons about Bush and Cheney. Will the beautiful Wyoming Range end up the same way? As they develop we need to take pictures and document and make sure the world never forgets this devastation of Middle Rocky Mountains. What the Jonah Field looks like. It will get a lot worse.

Clause Peak. Wyoming Range. What will it
look like when the gas companies are done? Copyright © Ralph Maughan

4-19-2006. Boise River makes no. 6th most endangered river. Idaho Statesman. "Dangers to Boise River land it on national list Environmental group says proposed gold mine near Atlanta threatens all of river's beneficial uses." By Rocky Barker.
4-19-2006. Yellowstone River named nation's second most endangered river. By Walt Williams. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer. Most people who follow this page and who have passed through Yellowstone Park's north entrance already know about the subdivision of Paradise Valley, MT. Kind of like the old Joni Mitchell song (with many covers since)—"They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." Only the situation is a bit different because it is that so many folks want to live in Paradise, but it is not possible, especially in the helter skelter, unplanned way development is proceeding.

4-19-2006. Dog Days. By Rosie Woodroffe. It’s not too late to save the largest canid in Africa. Wildlife Conservation online. One thing that can be drawn from this article in conjunction with many others is that increased disease is a form of biological pollution, one that will increasingly fell both people and other animals.

4-18-2006. Bush Administration tells national parks to plan for 20 to 30 per cent budget cuts. By Brodie Farquhar. Casper Star Tribune. The national parks may be Americans most favorite federal government program, but cuts of this magnitude show an ideological administration bent on preparing them for closure and eventual privatization. Fortunately, the Congress feels some need to respond to the desires of the American public and has the final say on the budget. In addition, their annual budget resolution has failed to pass so far, so perhaps last year's budget will have to do. They would be a better outcome. It has lots of warts, but may be better than what Bush and this Congress might hatch up this year. 4-17-2006. Elk, wolf researchers probe wildlife battlefield. By Evelyn Boswell, Montana State University News Service. The key point of this article is about how bears and wolves influence elk. This article is even more evidence that it is bears, not wolves that kill and eat the elk calves; but wolves might reduce the reproductive success of cow elk because the elk spend their time watching for wolves rather than eating. Are Yellowstone elk undernourished in part because they spend their time wolf watching? One more hypothesis to be investigated. 4-17-2006. Gallatin County buys over 1000 acres of open space conservation easement. Bozeman Chronicle. By Walt Williams. I drove by the other day, took a photo and labeled it "last open space west of Bozeman." I didn't know it was going to be protected.

4-16-2006. Bucktoothed rodent joins region's invasive species. By Lisa Stiffler. Seattle Post-Intelligencer.4-15-2006. Rolf Peterson Never Tires of Watching Wolves. Retires from teaching and will continue research. CBS News. 4-15-2006. Warming Arctic Is Taking a Toll Peril to Walrus Young Seen as Result of melting Ice Shelf. By Marc Kaufman Washington Post Staff Writer.

4-14-2006. As the Rich Ride In[to the West], Many Are Priced Out of Homes on the Range. By Blaine Harden Washington Post Staff Writer. There isn't any one kind of rich person moving to the Rockies. Some contribute greatly to the cause of conservation, serving to protect and enhance the landscape with their monies and personal contacts. Others are selfish Earth tramplers in mould of Dick Cheney (who actually is from the West after a fashion).

4-13-2006. Voter initiative calls for removal of all wolves from Idaho. Group gathering signatures to get measure on ballot. The Idaho Statesman. By Rocky Barker. Gillet sounds a little . . ., you decide, but people who engage in civil disobediance break the law openly in hope of gaining sympathy for their plight. Those who just break the laws they don't want are called criminals. If this initiative should happen to get enough signatures, Idaho voters will reject it.

4-13-2006. Reports: Valuable rural lands vanishing. By Pam Zubeck. The Colorado Springs Gazette. Ranchers need to change their ways if they are going to stay in business, but the larger matter of rampant development of open space is only going to end when the price of oil skyrockets. The American housing industry has spent the last 50 years building an energy inefficient highly decentralized living patten. It is only gotten worse as more and more people have moved to rural and mountain non-farm homes. They have acted as if the supply of oil is inexhaustable.
With a President who seems to do something everyday to threaten America's vulnerable oil supply from other countries, $10/gal for gasoline in the near future is possible, even likely. Then, all but the high end mountain homes, are going to become ghost towns, as people flee to the cities where they won't have to spend $1000 a month for gasoline. They will choose buying food over buying gasoline for their SUVs at their rural retirement homes.

4-11-2006. Don't Buy into Bush's public land sale scheme warns leading Idaho newspaper to Idaho governor, who is new Secretary of Interior to be. Idaho State Journal editorial.

4-10-2006. Killing wolves is not the best way to protect livestock. By Dawn Walton. The Globe and Mail. I'm very pleased that this paper presented at our (co-sponsored) North American Wolf Conference last week has made its way into the news all around the world.
There is an element of revenge in many wolf "controls." This factor (which is a bit of political psychology) will be hard to give up even if it doesn't work.

4-9-2006. Challis, Idaho man says he was stalked by wolves. By The Associated Press. This story came out while I was away, but it sounds like the man was "escourted" from the den by the wolves. This has happened several times in Yellowstone and other areas. Wolves will sometimes run away at their den sites, but not at others. Wildlife happenings sound pretty exciting in central Idaho, so I hope to head up there as soon as school gets out for the summer.
If you are ever confronted by a bear, wolf, cougar, or even a coyote, don't run.
Oh, by the way, in Central Idaho backcountry it is always smart to carry pepper spray -- bears, wolves, cougar, moose, and cattle can all be a threat. The only times I ever thought I was going to release the pepper spray was on a cow bull and a moose cow.

4-9-2006. Univ of Montana economist: Wolves a big moneymaker Yellowstone Park survey finds animals have $70M effect. By Mike Stake. Billings Gazette. "Those are million dollar wolves in Yellowstone Park." The value of the wolves in Yellowstone is so great is more than offsets any unreimbursed costs to livestock producers (it is likely that 50% or more of their losses are reimbursed). It offsets far more than the decline in the Northern Range late season elk hunt (assuming that the unlikely is true, namely that the decrease in elk numbers is all due to wolves, not also bears, cougars, drought, and extra large previous MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks' hunt allowances).

4-9-2006. Wyoming's wolf litigation costs rise. By Jared Miller. Casper Star Tribune. Well stupid people keep litigating, and it is costly. Of course, they are not really so stupid as they are politically determined to keep the issue alive and get Governor Freudenthal reelected.

4-8-2006. Court upholds dismissal of charges against Mike Jimenez lodged by Park County, Wyoming. By Bob Moen. AP. I'm amazed Park County, WY actually appealed to the 10th Circuit one of the moss stupid complaints ever filed—trespass and "wolf littering." Of course, they lost.
4-8-2006. Federal Appeals Court Tosses Wyoming's Wolf Lawsuit Setback to state effort to force its anti-wolf views. Earth Justice. How many times does Wyoming have to be told their wolf plan stinks? Courts can punish for bringing frivolous lawsuits and Wyoming should be in jeapordy.

4-2-2006. Western opposition to coal plants could land them in Wyoming. By Dustin Bleizeffer. Casper Star-Tribune energy reporter. The trouble with this article is that the rejected coal plant in Idaho by Sempra was not a plant providing power to Idaho. It was power to keep all the wasteful lights going in Las Vegas, and the Idaho Legislature knew it. If it was a proposal by Idaho Power Co, it would have had more support.


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