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 Jan. through May 2005-

5-18-2005. Crowd pans Utah wolf plan proposal in Beaver, Utah. Salt Lake Tribune. Beaver, Utah is a mighty rural place, nevertheless, 200 folks turned out mostly to yell against wolves.
If Utah doesn't adopt a wolf plan, the species will remain legally "endangered" in the state and can't be legally killed. I have received credible reports of at least two wolf packs in the state. Obviously I don't tell anyone, including the government.
I grew up in Utah. It's a weird place. It's intensely urban and yet somehow rural interests run things . . . .  cultural inertia I guess. I'm not sure why these meetings are being held in these little rural places -- next stop Green River, Utah.
5-16-2005. Utah wolf group seeks to find balance on hostile issue. The panel will pitch its plan statewide starting this week. By Joe Baird. Salt Lake Tribune.
More. . .  statement by Dr. Kirk Robinson on the meetings (a must read to understand the stuff above).

5-16-2005. New map shows how livestock imprison wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone area. Pdf file from Forest Guardians.

5-15-2005. Global warming or not, Idaho's climate is changing. Less snow, warmer water affects Idahoans. Farmers, foresters and Idaho's water boss have ideas. By Rocky Barker. The Idaho Statesman. As well all know President Bush is a man of faith, and one article of his faith is that there is no global warming. Nevertheless, as Barker (above) writes the future climate of Idaho will be different and it has already changed.

5-15-2005. Pups, believed to the wolf-dogs are euthanized in We don't want hybrid wolf-dogs out there. Genetic analysis of their parentage is underway, and it is important because some think the creation of the pack of wolf-dogs might have been the work of anti-wolf folks.

5-14-2005. Mt. St. Helens Anniversary Spotlights Surprising Rebound. Stefan Lovgren
for National Geographic News.
On May 18, 1980, Mt. St. Helens had a tremendous eruption. What has happened since?

5-13-2005. Red wolf restoration going well and could generate tourist money. PR Newswire. The red wolf program has slowly become more and more successful with the number of red wolves increasing, and the number of red wolf/coyote hybrids decreasing and the number of coyotes in red wolf territory plummeting. Apparently the big threat of a new military base in the North Carolina habitat is fading.

5-13-2005. Spring packs a punch: More flooding possible in Wyoming. Associated Press. The long drought isn't over, but recent heavy rains have put a dent in the drought in Wyoming, Montana, and especially southern Idaho. The hydrological part of the drought (lack of water in the aquifer) remains.

5-13-2005. Idaho activist led the way for conservation. Rocky Barker. The Idaho Statesman. Nelle Tobias is dead at 99. It was my privilege to know this great woman.

5-13-2005. False claims for energy bill. GreenWatch. Administration energy plan may actually increase energy imports. It will give billions of taxpayer aid to the "starving" energy companies.

More 5-11-2005. Hunters need to learn to work around wolves. Editorial by the Idaho Statesman. More on the complaining hound hunter who lost some of his bear chasing hounds to wolves.
Earlier 5-5-2005. Wolves kill three bear hounds in northern Idaho. By John Miller. Casper Star Tribune.
This has happened about each year in Idaho. The hounds are chasing the bear and invade a pack's territory. Wolves see groups of dogs as rival wolf packs and the wolves do what they normally do with invading wolves. Hound hunters should check out areas with wolves for fresh wolf sign before they turn their hounds lose. Otherwise, it's like driving your shiny new truck down a dirt road before you see if the road bed is too soft.
Haven't seen much support for this hunter on the web. The consensus is that hunting is not supposed to be a picnic.

5-11-2005. Colorado congressman John Salazar asks BLM to postpone oil and gas lease auction. BLM says "no." By Mike McKibbin. The Daily Sentinel. The BLM doesn't even have a web site up to give people information, and we are talking about folk's property rights. Shows how much power oil and gas have in this Administration. Of course it didn't help when the congressman's brother, Senator Ken Salazar called Colorado-based TV minister and Uber-Republican, James Dobson,"the Anti-Christ."

5-11-2005. Wolves: Groupies Gone Wild. Newsweek. About Yellowstone Park wolf watchers.

5-10-2005. Will awful British Columbia government go down to defeat May 17? "In B.C., ruling party's 'gold' looks a lot like poop." By Joel Connelly. Seattle Post-Intelligencer Columnist." A lot is riding on British Columbia's upcoming provincial election. Back in 2000, an electoral fluke allowed the Liberal Party (which is not liberal in the way Americans understand the word) to win 71 out of 79 seats in Parliament. Since then they have waged a scorched Earth policy toward some of the most scenic land and water in the world.
We spent a month in B. C. in 2003. It was pitiful to see wonderful, huge natural parks like Strathcona on Vancouver Island cut to zero staff, just a part time volunteer. In the interior, hospitals, schools, parks, ferries -- everything was being sacrificed on the alter of big business ideology. Since then, the government of Gordon Campbell has spit in eye of Montana by promoting large coal development adjacent to Glacier National Park. He has also thrown open protected areas and waged a war against B.C.'s wildlife, especially grizzly bears, but also including the promotion of massive salmon farms, which are a blight to wild salmon, and a great promoter of disease and fish parasites. The government has promoted a gigantic ski area, deep in the Purcell Mountains in Jumbo Creek against the wishes of local residents, who we observed were being pushed out by gated communities built for foreigners.  Your can find out much more at BC

5-9-2005. Court Awards Victory To Western Watersheds Project in Decorative Stone Quarry. Western Watersheds Project news release. When I first saw major work begin at this quarry years back, I thought little of it, but lately it has grown at a tremendous rate, and with no environmental analysis, and in violation of its approved operating plan. Moreover, it is in the middle of a very scenic place in central Idaho -- at the confluence of the East Fork of the Salmon and the main Salmon River. It operations also degrade adjoining private property.

The Three Rivers Quarry on the Salmon River. Central Idaho.

More 5-10-2005. Judge: BLM broke environmental law. Stone quarry could be transferred in Simpson's wilderness bill. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer.
My view is that this is a property rights case, and the owners of the quarry ought to have to reimburse nearby landowners for damaging their property.

5-8-2005. Climate fear for African elephant. By Richard Black. BBC News environment correspondent. "Climate change could push elephants over the edge. Climate change is a bigger threat to elephants, tigers and the rhinoceroses than poaching, a wildlife expert says."

5-8-2005. Nevada, feds fight over burning sage grouse habitat. By Scott Sonner. AP. The sage grouse should probably be on the threatened species list, but was kept off after pressure from the cattle and oil and gas industries. The "Healthy Forests" act has served to reduce fire danger around some western towns and cities, but this is a ridiculous proposal by the Forest Service -- 40 miles NE of Winnemucca, NV is about as far from a populated area is things get in the United States. Furthermore, the Forest Service's assumption that sagebrush stands burned on the average of every 15 years in the past is based on discredited studies. Sagebrush burned on the average of every 30 to 50 years. A 15 year fire cycle is too short.

5-7-2005. Yellowstone Park's East Entrance opens for the season. By Allison Batdorff. Billings Gazette.

5-6-2005. Colorado Wildlife Commission approves final wolf plan for Colorado. Denver Post by Theo Stein. It seems like a reasonable and balanced plan, but it can't be implemented because of DOI's February federal court loss on the way Gale Norton gerrymandered the nationwide wolf population areas (the DPSs). So wolves in Colorado are back on the endangered species list. Of course, it is not known if there are any wolves in Colorado. I don't know, but I believe there are no wolf packs yet.

5-4-2005. Mystery of the missing salmon. Dramatic drop in annual run in Northwest. MSNBC. By K.C. Johnston. A friend from Idaho Fish and Game wrote of this, "The salmon season on the Lower Snake River in Idaho will be closed as of this evening (5/4/05). This is very bad news but will hopefully galvanize people to tackle the real problem for Idaho?s salmon. If the four lower snake river dams were removed then it would still be a bad year but not catastrophic. Note that returns to rivers, like the Willamette River near Portland, OR, that are downstream from Bonneville Dam are getting returns near expected levels.
The Yakima River chinook, which has poorer habitat but similar life history as Idaho chinook, mirror Idaho runs in that they have good and bad years alike but Idaho, which has pristine wilderness habitat routinely has 1/5th of the smolt to adult return ratio. What is the difference you might ask. The Idaho juvenile fish have to migrate through four Lower Snake Dams and the four Lower Columbia dams whereas the Yakima juveniles only have to migrate through the four Lower Columbia dams.
The record returns of 2001 boosted the economies of rural communities like Riggins and Cascade, ID. Some of the businesses have come to rely on the income that salmon fishermen bring. One study said that people spent $46million for salmon fishing in Idaho during 2001 alone. That is far above the predictions the Army Corps of Engineers used in its economic analysis of [the effects of the removal of] the 4 Lower Snake dams. "

5-4-2005. Oil projects may get less scrutiny under House Energy bill. By Tom Kenworthy, USA today. It's not just about the Arctic Refuge. The bill is an open invitation of the oil and gas industry to plunder and loot almost all our public lands with little analysis or regulation.

5-3-2005. USGS report stresses danger of park volcano. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette Staff. I wouldn't make too much of the bison being asphyxiated at Norris Geyser Basin the winter before last except that winter visits to the Park on a snowmobile or otherwise have an inherently higher  danger from hydrothermal gases than the summer due to the poor atmospheric dispersion in the winter.

5-3-2005. Wolf Song of the South. The woods of North Carolina echo with an ancient call as red wolves come howling back. By By Bill Updike. Defenders Magazine.

4-29-2005. Global warming 'proof' detected. By Richard Black. BBC News environment correspondent. Global warming "smoking gun" found in data that the oceans are warming
Related. Check out the Real Climate blog.
Related 4-19. Scientists Confirm Earth's Energy Is Out Of Balance. Science Daily.

4-29-2005. Spring storms blows thousands of birds into Yellowstone Park, but kills many of them. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette.

4-28-2005. Woodpecker with 3 foot wing span not extinct after all. By James Gorman. New York Times.
"Rediscovering the Ivory-billed Woodpecker." Cornell Lab of Ornithology

4-28-2005. Without Top Predators, Ecosystems Turn Topsy-Turvy. Stefan Lovgren. National Geographic News

4-27-2005. Western governors discuss potential of catastrophic wildfire season. Associated Press. It's not all Western governors; it's those from the Northwest. The Southwest has lots of winter precipitation.

4-27-2005. Kane County [Utah], BLM land dispute heats up 2-year quarrel: The county has 2 weeks to remove signs designating roads through federal lands, or the feds are prepared to initiate . . . legal action. By Robert Gehrke and Joe Baird. The Salt Lake Tribune. To stop these southern Utah counties from continually abusing our national, natural heritage, they should be jailed.

4-26-2005. BLM will appraise impact of grazing Northern Utah lands: The study settles an environmental group's lawsuit; the agency must also prepare a land-use plan. By Andrew Weeks
The Salt Lake Tribune. T
he success of the Western Watersheds Projects against abusive grazing practices continues to be phenomenal, and suggests that the accommodationist posture of many conservation groups may not be the best way, or at a minimum, the only way to bring change on the range.

4-26-2005. Editorial: Shame on the House: This energy bill is no good. The Albuquerque Tribune. Given the huge profits the oil companies are making from the high price of oil, do you think they need billions of dollars of new tracks breaks on top of that? Of course you don't, but Congress figures no one is paying much attention.

4-26-2005. Gas drillers don't want to directionally drill in Wyoming's vast Jonah gas field. Billings Gazette. You always see it on TV and in magazine ads from the oil and gas companies . . . nowadays "we can drill many wells from just one drilling pad, helping protect our environment." The key is, they can do it, but, not surprisingly, they don't want to, as this article clearly shows.

4-26-2005. Conservationists win a few, lose a few in the Montana State Legislature. By Jennifer McKee. Billings Gazette State Bureau.

4-25-2005. Where Eagles Die. A poaching ring slaughters the protected birds in Canada
By Deborah Jones. Vancouver. Time Magazine.

4-25-2005. Suit seeks to halt grazing. By Michelle Dunlop. Twin Falls Times-News writer.

4-25-2005. Evidence backs Yellowstone plume theory. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette Staff. With the recent science-based fiction film on the Yellowstone supervolcano, there is growing interest in what under lies Yellowstone. This article indicates that the origin of the supervolcano is indeed a deep pipe directly into the magma below, not a complicated near surface feature.

4-17-2005. Wyoming sportsmen's groups sever ties over elk slaughter program. By Whitney Royster. Casper Star Tribune.  The Dubois Wildlife Association has voted to end its 20 year affiliation with the Wyoming Wildlife Federation because of the latter's support of the controversial elk brucellosis testing and slaughter program being initiated in Sublette County, WY (Pinedale area).
Although the plan to test and slaughter Wyoming elk migrating onto winter feedgrounds southeast of Jackson Hole is billed as an "experimental test" to see if the endemic brucellosis can be eliminated, you don't have to be much of an epidemiologist to understand that testing and slaughter is a slow and high cost method, given the inaccuracy of testing. A true experiment would compare this slaughter method to closing elk feedgrounds, with the easiest test being closing state feedgrounds in the Gros Ventre River area.
It's part of Wyoming's strange wildlife management policy that they would choose such an inept method of disease control when not just brucellosis, but mad elk (CWD) disease is closing in on the area. I'm glad the Dubois Wildlife Association is one sportsmen group talking sense.

4-17-2005. EPA Likely to Miss Deadline for Issuing Rule on Views, Air Quality in National Parks. ENN. By John Heilprin, Associated Press.

4-17-2005. Nature Conservancy secures two easements along Montana's Rocky Mountain Front. By Sonja Lee. Great Falls Tribune Tribune Staff Writer.

4-16-2005. Wolverine photographed in Michigan. Huron Daily Tribune. A least one wolverine has returned to Michigan. Along with the rest of us, fans of UMich will be happy.

4-16-2004. Montana wolf bill loses free radio receiver requirement. By Walt Williams. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer. Thank you all for your help making this bill less harmful. The Montana House/Senate conference committee took out the part about giving any landowner who wanted one, a $900 radio receiver to track wolves. Hopefully the governor will still veto it, but the betting is he will not.

4-14-2005. Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife walk out of final Utah wolf meeting. KSL News. This group, which now has affiliates in Idaho and Wyoming, seem to think all wildlife problems are caused by predators or lack of feeding big game in the winter like livestock. Given their rapid raise, I suspect status quo politicians love them and probably helped them organize because they make a point of not attacking the powerful interests that degrade wildlife habitat or worrying about wildlife disease. In Wyoming some folks call them "Sportsmen for Feeding and Whining." In Utah, "Sportsmen a few kinds of wildlife."
Sad truth is that if you want to conserve wildlife you have to sometimes offend energy companies, the livestock industry, and bought off politicians. Groups like this just splinter the fight.

4-13-2005. Poachers slaughter deer in 'killing spree' in Diamond Fork. The deaths of pregnant does will affect herds for years.  Officials offer a reward. By Brett Prettyman. Salt Lake Tribune. Problem of young men killing deer illegally in mass has been common in Utah and Idaho in recent years. At least 13 deer were killed and left. Probably more are dead or wounded.

4-13-2005. Idaho faces the most dismal year of the 6-year drought. Idaho Mountain Express. By Greg Stahl.

4-13-2005. Our View (Idaho Statesman): Otter-Simpson bill won't beef up federal payments to counties for public lands. My view is this. Idaho's 2 Representatives have every right to be very angry at the Administration's failure to adequately support the PILT program (payment in lieu of taxes for untaxable federal public lands in the states). So should all westerners. However, the solution to get an additional $200 or $300-million (small change in the federal budget) should not be to sell off the national forests and BLM lands, but to do what politicians have down for ages -- make Bush or the Party pay for their votes on other issues. Does Tom DeLay want support in his ethical woes? Don't prop him up for free. Does President Bush want support for his badly misnamed energy bill? Make him pay to open the Arctic Refuge. Does the President want support in his social security "reform?" Tell him the price is a billion dollars. You get the idea. Why don't they? Why doesn't your western Republican congressman?

4-12-2005. Montana's Wolves Are in Jeopardy. Alert and action response form from Defenders of Wildlife. I was the first one to put out an alert on the bill. It passed, and now it is up to governor to veto it. See my April 6 alert below. Update 4-13. The acting Director of USFWS has faxed a letter to the Montana legislature opposing the bill as an unacceptable diversion of money contrary to what Montana promised in its state wolf plan. It's enactment into law might require the federal government to take back some of the wolf management authority recently given to Montana.

4-12-2005. Drilling where antelope play. Even as natural-gas wellheads proliferate, new strategies aim to lessen environmental impact. By Todd Wilkinson. Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor. If they won't do it right beneath the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming in the full view of everyone, who is so stupid to think they will do it right in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

4-12-2005. End of the Wild. The extinction crisis is over. We lost. by Stephen M. Meyer. Boston Review. Global warming is lost too. It's underway and the only question is how bad it will get before we take effective steps, and/or our population drops to where humans are no longer producing much greenhouse gas.

Grazin' Hell. Bush put former industry lobbyists in charge of public lands. Now a deal with a Wyoming rancher has the stewards running for cover. By Alan Prendergast. I assume everyone is aware US Senate Republicans are talking about the "nuclear option" in the US Senate to abolish the filibuster so that Bush nominees like William Myers, a key player in the article above, can be put on the Court of Appeals.

4-11-2005. Westerners see poetic justice in saving snakehead. By Valerie Richardson. The Washington Times. This article should read "Some parochial, ignorant and hostile western county commissions lash out at imaginary enemies." The endangered species act does not provide for protection of foreign invasive  ("injurious") species. This is more of a commentary on the caliber of some county commissioners than about any law. The snakehead fish is from Asia. The sage grouse is a native of the sagebrush lands of the West, including Nevada where sagebrush is the state flower. It predates the population of county commissions and their inbred relatives ;-)

4-8-2005. In The Northwest: Alaska's politicians more predatory than any wolf. By Joel Connelly. Seattle Post-Intelligencer Columnist.
Good column about a truly ugly crew.

4-8-2005. Hunting by remote control draws fire from all quarters. By Kris Axtman. Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor.

4-8-2004. Disaster docudrama brings unlikely Yellowstone Park eruption to life. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette.

4-7-2005. Anti-conservation chairman of House Resources Committee gets special treatment from Dept. of Interior on killing eagles in family energy project. LA Times. Pombo has been a one man natural heritage wrecking crew, but folks didn't know that included golden eagles.

4-7-2005. Park winter study this year shows big wolf switch to bull elk. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette. The prey composition this winter was fewer calves and cows and more bulls, and a lower rate of kill.

4-6-2005. Montana wolf collaring plan could bust wolf management budget. By Walt Williams. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer. This could be just a flat out attempt to destroy the wolf population of Montana. If every wolf pack has a collar and every landowner a radio receiver, they will just go out and illegally pick them off one at time. Montana residents should contact their Montana House members immediately. Here is some web info.
Update: It came up quickly and passed. Hardly any conservation organizations had time to do anything, but now it goes to conference committee. Please contact Montana's governor and ask him to veto it, if it isn't changed to take out the part about giving away  wolf tracking radio receivers to landowners who want them.

4-6-2005. Continued subdivision development of Colorado Mountains threatens elk. Aspen Times. By Scott Condon.

4-5-2005. No Lion: Marsupials had the Fiercest Bite, Study Says. James Owen. National Geographic News.

4-4-2005. Alaska's Well Studied Wolf Pack Threatened. State Officials Resist Calls to Expand Protected Territory. By Blaine Harden. Washington Post Staff Writer. This is the second article on the demise of the Toklat Pack.

4-4-2005. Drilling for oil, gas sought in Wyoming wildlife area. Associated Press.

4-4-2005. Explosive western wildlife season predicted. AP.

4-2-2005. No wolves found in Michigan's lower peninsula after systematic search. By Sheri McWhirter. Traverse City Record-Eagle staff writer. Despite some reports that wolves had crossed from Michigan's UP to the lower part of the state, a 2-week survey found none.

4-1-2005. National Elk Refuge at Jackson to stop elk feeding April 1. Jackson Hole Zone. Good. The less feeding time, the better, as it means less spread of disease.

3-31-2005. Study Shows Introduced Foxes Transformed Vegetation On Aleutian Islands From Lush Grassland To Tundra. Science Daily.

3-30-2005. Study highlights global decline. By Jonathan Amos. BBC News science reporter. "the way society obtains its resources has caused irreversible changes that are degrading the natural processes that support life on Earth."

3-30-2005. Church fights Alaska drilling. Episcopal bishop tells of threat to way of life of native ethnic group. By Kevin Eckstrom. Religion News Service. While media attention in recent years his been religious groups who believe The End is near, so we don't have to worry about the condition of the Earth (dovetails nicely with the views of secular exploiters), a number of religions groups, including some quite conservative, believe it is a sin to destroy God's creation just so powerful secular interests won't be inconvenienced.

3-30-2005. Wyoming Wolf lawsuit appeal draws mixed reviews. State keeps up court fight over predator vs. trophy classification. By Rebecca Huntington. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

3-24-2005. Feds earmark funds for wolf, grizzly and rancher conflicts in Montana.

3-24-2005. Utah issues a 96 page draft management plan for wolves. By Paul Foy. AP.

3-23-2005. [Idaho] elk farms look to expand. Ranchers hoping for passage of bill allowing deer and moose on farms. By Ben Botkin and Corey Taule. Post Register.
This is a horrible bill that could make Idaho a big source of wildlife disease like Wyoming. It's too bad Idahoans didn't ban elk ranching like Montana did. "[Rep] Shirley [who is carrying the bill] said, 'agriculture department officials told him there has never been a case of chronic wasting disease found in penned animals.'" This page has linked to dozens of stories about chronic wasting disease on game farms from Colorado to Alberta.

3-23-2005. Judge tosses WY wolf lawsuit. By Tom Morton. Casper Star-Tribune staff writer.
3-23-2005. Feds didn't violate Wyo sovereignty, judge writes in rejection of WY wolf lawsuit. By Tom Morton. Casper Star-Tribune staff writer.

3-21-2005. FWS expert: [Wyoming's] elk proposal may not work. AP. "May not work?" Not a chance in hell!

3-20-2005. Changing industry: Snowmobile sales plummet, but enthusiasts say the sport still thriving. By Nick Gevock. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer
3-20-2005. Ex-official says snowmobilers illegally entering Yellowstone backcountry. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer.
Like any kind of trespass; it won't end unless substantial penalties are attached and a fairly high degree of apprehension. The incentive to violate will increase as the winters continue to become more and more snowless and the roads lack enough snow to snowmobile on.

3-19-2005. An Open Letter to Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska by Terry Tempest Williams. Orion Magazine. This is regarding to vote on the budget resolution of open the Arctic Wildlife Refuge for drilling. Author Williams' reference to Senator Stevens' depression may be explained by this story: "ANWR struggle leaves Stevens 'depressed' FUTURE: Senator says he may retire in 2008 if budget measure fails.By Richard Mauer. Anchorage Daily News

3-19-2005. Scientists say global warming is now inevitable, but continuing down the same path will make it even worse. Scientific American.

3-18-2005. By restoring balance of nature, Yellowstone wolves may be helping other species deal with climate change. By Bryn Nelson. Newsday.
Here is the scientific article the above is based on . . . "Gray Wolves as Climate Change Buffers in Yellowstone." Christopher C. Wilmers, Wayne M. Getz. PLoS Biology. April 2005.

3-18-2005. Obnoxious proposed ski area on the edge of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness may be disallowed by the Forest Service. Missoulian. By Sherry Devlin and Colin McDonald. There is scant need for new ski resorts on public land. They are primarily real estate developments anyway. Hopefully this one will die now.

3-17-2005. Wyoming Governor raps Great Divide plan. By Jeff Gearino. Casper Star Tribune Southwest Wyoming bureau. Even governor Freudenthal thinks the plan is a sellout to the oil industry. Taking all the recent political events into consideration, it seems to me like American democracy has been replaced by some sort of energy industry dominated political system. We need to event a name for our new kind of regime. "Coalocracy," or "Enronacy" just doesn't have the right ring to it. Maybe we should reinstitute the draft, young people could be called up to serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Halliburton.
For what it's worth, your comments on the Great Divide Plan are due March 18.  Please support the Western Heritage Alternative.

3-17-2005. Less than 1% of wolves' diet is livestock. Wolves may be best defense against chronic wasting disease. By Shelly Ridenour. Casper Star Tribune. I culled some different news nuggets from the Star Tribune study than did their headline writer.

3-17-2005. Hybridized fish prompt Yellowstone's proposed fishing rule changes. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer

3-16-2005. Senate Votes to Open Alaska Wildlife Refuge to Drilling as Crude Prices Reach All-Time Highs. Washington Post. By William Branigin and Fred Barbash. The fight may not be over yet because this provision was put in the budget resolution and it is by no means certain there will even be an official US budget next fiscal year due to fraudulent budget Pres. Bush sent to Congress.

3-16-2005. Idaho water reserves feared 'worst' in 100 years. By Gregory Foley. Idaho Mountain Express.

3-16-2005. Idaho wolf manager explains ways to determine wolf killed livestock to Wyoming audience. By Shelly Ridenour. Casper Star-Tribune correspondent.

3-15-2005. New Mexico national forest plans road closures. Santa Fe New Mexican. "Santa Fe National Forest is teaming up with an environmental group to close hundreds of the 1,860 miles of roads in its cash-strapped Coyote District."

3-15-2005. BC spits in the face of Montana. Work on destructive coal mine in upper Flathead already underway. By Jim Robbins. New York Times.

3-15-2005. WY Game and Fish updates Wyoming wildlife atlas. AP. Link to atlas.

3-11-2005. Wyoming elk feedgrounds would not be automatically closed if chronic wasting disease ever appears on them!! By Brodie Farhquhar. Casper Star Tribune. This is one of the most astonishingly backward wildlife policies I have ever encountered. It shows the Wyoming political establishment is perfectly willing to witness the utter destruction of Greater Yellowstone wildlife rather than close their sacred feedgrounds. If anyone ever thought Wyoming politicians cared about wildlife, this should put that idea to rest. When mad elk disease reaches the feedgrounds, it will go through them like fire in a field of dry grass.  One has to wonder if Governor Freudenthal cares (see Todd Wilkinson's latest column above). If the elk and deer should disappear from the Greater  Yellowstone, so would most of the rest of the wildlife, and then the energy companies would be free to trample on American's treasure in the NW corner of the state, so what is Freuenthal's real agenda?
3-14-2005. Montana Wasting disease plan calls for incineration. By Jennifer McKee. Billings Gazette.
So while Wyoming pursues a lethal "wait-and-see" attitude Montana treats "mad elk" with the seriousness it deserves.

3-13-2005. Wyoming protesters go to Cheyenne to highlight oil industry's designs on the Red Desert. By Bill Luckett. Casper Star Tribune. Your comments on this horrible land grab are due March 18. Please support the Western Heritage Alternative. If you gave help, thank you! RM 3-19.

Red desert elk. Photo ? Ralph Maughan.

Tell the BLM "no" to massive gas drilling

3-13-2005. Bush gets burned in Senate on emissions. MSNBC. AP. A key senate committee has failed to pass Bush's "clear skies" bill, which in fact would require less industrial pollution cleanup than current law. Angered committee chairman Inhofe has taken to calling his clean air opponents extremists. When the committee is split 9-9, how do you tell who are the extremists?

3-12-2005. Freeing up federal lands. Opinion by Rep. Chris Cannon (Utah). Washington Times. Although most people in the West are like the readers of this page -- they love and cherish the freedom and majesty of their public lands, there are always those who would sell them off to the highest bidder. US Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah is the chair of the "Western Caucus" in Congress. He makes his views clear in the Washington Times. Cannon, and his kind, like to phrase their arguments in terms of "lost revenue" because the public lands are not taxed, but in the same breath, Cannon talks how federal "surplus and under-utilized land" should be given to states or sold. But what does he mean by "surplus and under-utilized?" Surely such lands would generate little tax revenue in private hands, unless, of course, he is really talking about selling the finest of America's heritage, and I think he is.
The program PILT (where the states get from the federal government Payment In Lieu of Taxes) is indeed as he says, chronically underfunded. That is no accident. If Cannon and the Western Caucus told the President they would not vote for one of his pet projects unless he pledged more money for PILT, the money would flow like water. The reason PILT is underfunded is precisely because congressman like Cannon want it that way or can't bring themselves to buck their party in favor of their constituents.

3-11-2005. Farm Bureau looks like a relic from Idaho's past. By Dan Popkey .The Idaho Statesman. This opinion by a popular Idaho editorial writer is about the Farm Bureau being out of step with the rest of Idaho, including most agriculture on a giant bill settling water rights claims of the Nez Perce Tribe. The article also suggests Farm Bureau is "out of sync with rural Idaho." If the Farm Bureau loses support, most people I know think that will be great news for wildlife.

3-9-2005. Senate Gearing Up for Fight Over Oil Drilling in Alaska. By Sheryl Gay Stolberg. New York Times.

3-8-2005. Brief, Beautiful Rebirth. Desert Is Teeming With Wildflowers After Record Rainfall. By Louis Sahagun, LA Times Staff Writer.

3-7-2005. Oil and gas wells add to air pollution in northwest Wyoming. By Whitney Royster. Casper Star Tribune.
Folks shouldn't kid themselves. Natural gas wells by the thousands produce widespread pollution. When these fields are fully developed Yellowstone will permanently be like it is during a summer with lots of forest fires.

3-6-2005. Wily coyotes enjoying buffet across country. Poisoning, hunting fail to dent canine's numbers, appetite. By Gary Gerhardt, Rocky Mountain News. Human activity has caused coyotes to thrive despite massive efforts to kill them. Instead coyotes have spread across North America.

3-6-2005. Mild Wyoming winter inflicts few losses. By Jeff Gearino. Casper Star Southwest Wyoming bureau. Well so much for their "vital" feedgrounds. It's getting to be the drought summer that's the game mortality factor.

3-5-2005. Idaho too is severely stressed by the drought, and major legal/legislative developments are underway that could dramatically change agricultural water use in the state. I haven't covered them on this page due to their complexity, but they certainly will effect fish and wildlife in Idaho.

3-5-2005. Montana's governor wants national guard back from Iraq because of "powder keg" forest fire conditions. AP.

3-5-2005. Drought haunts Washington State too. Seattle Post Intelligencer. By Charles Pope and Tom Paulson.
3-5-2005. Oregon too dries up. Oregonian.
Whatever happened to rainy Oregon? Gone to southern California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona for winter vacation.
3-5-2005. Melting away: SW Montana snowpack quickly withers. By Nick Gevock. Chronicle Staff Writer. "The drought just keeps getting worse."

3-4-2005. Wolf kill stirs old debate. DENALI: Buffer zones should be increased around protected areas, some say. By Doug O'Hara. Anchorage Daily News. The biological significance of the destruction of the Toklat wolf pack is nil even though the pack may have been around since 1939, but the symbolic and human impact is great, and angry Americans are sending many message to Alaskan authorities. I would hope no wolf supporters would send hate mail. That should remain the province of the anti-wolf folks.

3-4-2005. Snowmobile season at end. Spring plowing begins in Yellowstone. YNP News Release

3-3-2005. Experts see no end Northwestern United States' drought. Bozeman Chronicle. By Scott McMillion. Montana's drought is now as bad as the "dust bowl" days of the 1930s.

3-3-2005.Yellowstone Park wolf program loses appropriated funds, runs on donations. Billings Gazette. By Mike Stark.

3-1-2005. Another wolf disperses from Wisconsin to Illinois. Chicago Sun-Times.

3-1-2005. Yellowstone Park might have lynx! By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette.
More on 3-2. On the trail of the elusive lynx. On Togwotee Pass, researchers follow shy, rare cat. By Rebecca Huntington. Jackson Hole News and Guide

2-28-2005. Idaho Fish and Game takes important step with elk/wolf predation study. Editorial. Idaho Statesman. This is very important because far too much of elk and wolf studies, and resulting political commentary, have been on Yellowstone's northern range where many other predators compete to eat elk.
Idaho's big study must, however, compare wolf-filled versus wolfless areas. It should also address perennial hot spots of controversy like "hunting unit 28" (west of Salmon, ID) and the upper Clearwater River area where elk numbers have fallen greatly over the last 15 years.

2-28-2005. Montana's US Senator Baucus gets a mixed reception in B.C. as he speaks against  coal mining in the upper reaches of the Flathead. Missoulian. There are big issues between the two countries. Canada keeps finding mad cows in its herds and US won't accept its cows, and the US puts tariffs (import taxes) on Canadian timber. Hopefully, Canada won't trash the Flathead as reprisal.

2-28-2005. New effort to open Arctic Wildlife Refuge to drilling despite declining interest by oil companies. Seattle Post Register. Opening the refuge, which I understand federal employees have now been instructed to called ANWR, is a Bush priority regardless of fading oil company interest. Is it ideology, or another case of doing what his father couldn't (as in Saddam Hussein)?

2-25-2005. The world's smog continues to creep into the air over Yellowstone National Park. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette. Related article. 2-24-2005. Coal companies get big court victory against efforts to protect air quality in national parks and wilderness areas. By Patty Henetz. The Salt Lake Tribune.

2-24-2005. Seventeen cited for illegal snowmobiles in Yellowstone's backcountry. Yellowstone Park News Release. This has been happening every year. Only severe punishment is going to end it. Related story on 2-25. Rangers ticket snowmobilers who didn't know they were in the park or just couldn't resist. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer.

2-24-2005. Montana Senate OKs bill calling for more radio-collared wolves. By Scott McMillion, Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer. $25,000 won't collar very many wolves, especially if the pack lacks a collar from which to start looking for wolves.

2-24-2005. New Mexico House takes up bill to remove cougars from big games list and return them to varmints. By Deborah Baker. Associated Press Writer. Talk about some aggressive backwardness. Probably won't become law, but it certainly shows the mentality of these people.

2-24-2005. British Columbia's coal plans near Glacier NP concern commission. By John Stromnes. Missoulian. Unfortunately, the State Dept. under President Bush doesn't have much credibility with which to complain about Canada polluting pristine rivers running into the U.S.

2-23-2005. Wyoming and Montana governors discuss water quality and wolves. By Jennifer McKee. Billings Gazette.

2-21-2005. Researcher studies wolf genetics. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette as reported in the Casper Star Tribune. The detailed tracking of individual Yellowstone wolves and packs is likely to yield a lot of scientific information about wolf genetics.

2-21-2005. Gov. Schweitzer wants study of [the North Fork of the] Flathead. By Chris Peterson. Hungry Horse News. More on the threats to Montana from the B.C. government's coal bed methane and coal mining schemes.

2-21-2005. Elk hunters cry wolf: Predators might not be the only reason [northern range Yellowstone] elk have declined. By Becky Bohrer. Associated Press. This is a pretty good article. Following Yellowstone's northern range elk and wolves from the time many thought the elk population was too many to now when some think there are too few tells us a lot. The likelihood we are at the incipient decline (see Doug Smith's comment) of wolves in the Park tells about natural cycles of predator and prey. Having said all this, too many people rely on the northern range of the Park for their view of wolves and elk. The northern range situation is complicated by having many other predators of elk, and it has far different conditions than NW Montana, north central Idaho, or the Cascades of Washington and Oregon. There are also other very important factors in play like the drought (no it hasn't ended in Yellowstone), and the generous elk harvest Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks allowed by human hunters at the same time the wolf population was rapidly expanding.

2-21-2005. Bulgaria levels guns at ever-growing wolf population. Science News.

2-21-2005. Wolves nearing the border of Vermont. By John Harrigan. Union Leader. Here's another good reason why the federal judge's decision to restore wolves outside of Idaho, Southern Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan to endangered species status was a good one.

2-18-2005. Canadian company wants to push electricity across Montana [and other states]. By Robert C. Gibson. Bozeman Chronicle Managing Editor. This is an ungodly huge power line, and if we had politicians who really wanted to protect America, they would call out the Army put this company where it belongs when they try to defile our land. Instead our politicians will likely sell America out.

2-18-2005. Opinion of the Idaho State Journal (Pocatello). Single-minded pursuit of gas and oil takes heavy toll on other natural resources. Someone at the Pocatello paper knows their stuff. It's not many editorial writers who are not taken in by the bull __  about oil shale.

2-18-2005. Tule Elk back from near extinction. The Daily Democrat. Great news!

2-17-2005. Norton shows up in Yellowstone and endorses snowmobiles just as citizens are starting to vote with their pocketbooks for snowcoaches. By Felicity Barringer. New York Times. She says she didn't see any problem with them (of course since they are guided now, quieter, and fewer in number). Maybe she should have gotten drunk and chased some elk so she could have enjoyed the full snowmobile experience.
2-18-2005. Markets trump Bush's snowmobile politics. Editorial. Idaho Falls Post Register. Just what I was saying above.

2-18-2005. Forest Service should embrace century of restoration. By Jake Kreilick
National Forest Protection Alliance. Opinion in Headwaters News.
The Forest Service is 100 years old in 2005. The venerable agency has had its ups and downs. Of course, it is down under the current Administration, but we will probably survive the next 4 years and need to think about the future.

2-18-2005. 2-18-2005. Park County (MT) ag group sets up wolf-watch Web site. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer. Let's hope their info is accurate. I have spent many days trying to find a wolf to see in the area.

2-18-2005. Montana State Senate kills stream setback requirement. By Walt Williams. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer. Build the house right on the stream bank, and to hell with the public; but, of course, public aide will be sought and probably given after every small flood.

2-17-2005. Bush nominee for 9th Circuit was in on Wyoming grazing deal that is now slammed by Dept. of Interior. By Brodie Farquhar. Casper Star Tribune. I hope the Democrats filibuster the 9th Circuit Count nomination of William Myers until Hell freezes over and melts again.
2-17-2005. Idaho Statesman doesn't like nomination of Myers.
Editorial. Myers nomination is not just bad in itself, it could set off a fight over the filibuster than could leave the U.S. Senate in ruins.

2-17-2005. Critical public comment phase of Gallatin Plan is underway. Bozeman Chronicle. Please comment, especially if you know the specifics. Don't let the motorized crowd take the outdoors away from you. This is your chance to irritate Gale Nortion (see story above). Electronic comments should be e-mailed to: .
2-15-2005. Gallatin National Forest releases proposed travel plan. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer.
A new travel plan on a national forest has become a big event, especially one on a forest prized for its wildlife, scenery, and wild country. Your comments will be accepted for the next 45 days. Note: Alternative 7 is the preferred alternative (for the time being, anyway).

2-15-2005. Species and Sprawl: Yellow Starthistle. Science Bulletins. Got invasive, non-native weeds on your property? They were probably spread there by a vehicle.

2-15-2005. Little public support for wolf hunt for Norway's wolf hunt. Aftenposten English Web Desk. It's hard to figure why they "cull" the wolves when Norway has but a handful of wolves.

2-15-2005. Welcoming the wolves: Strategy reflects hard-won compromises. A Register-Guard Editorial (Eugene, OR).

2-15-2005- U.S. Forest Service acquires 5,760 acres east of Darby, MT. By Daryl Gadbow of the Missoulian. Good news! This will reduce the potential for even more sprawl in the Bitterroot Valley.

2-13-2005. Number of snowmobiles heads down in YNP. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette as reporter in Casper Star Tribune.

2-12-2005. Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopts a state wolf plan. By Michael Milstein. Oregonian. Oregon did this on its own. It was not mandated by any federal law or rule. It seems to me like a wise decision, given the recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones restoring the wolf in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, California, etc. to endangered rather than threatened species status. Nevertheless, the relationship of the Oregon plan to the court ruling will have to be clarified.

2-11-2005.  Bringing some balance back with the wolf. Opinion in the Oregonian. By Amaroq Weiss. This is an analysis of the recent court decision restoring "endangered species" status to wolves outside of Minnesota, and the the experimental wolf population of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and its  relationship to the Oregon State wolf plan that will probably be approved today.

2-10-2005. US Fish and Wildlife Service scientists say they are under pressure to make political rather than scientific decisions. By Theo Stein. Denver Post. It's pretty clear the Bush  Administration has underfunded the agency and politicized what should be science.
Related 2-11-2005. Survey: Science, politics at odds. By Dan Vergano, USA Today.

2-10-2005. Moose join the ranks of newcomers looking to settle down in Oregon: After sightings in the northeast region of as many as six of the animals, both male and female, moose calves may be in the future. By Michael Milstein. Oregonian.

2-9-2005. YNP visits drop 5% in 2004. Casper Star Tribune.

2-9-2005. SW Wyoming speakers call for fewer wells, more wildlife protection in Great Divide Basin Plan. By Jeff Gearino. None of this will matter to President Bush of course. If you haven't seen this area twice as large as Yellowstone, June would be a good time. In a couple years it will all be gone.
2-7-2005. BLM's Great Divide Basin Plan goes public. Comments on the 4-million acre plan? By Jeff Gearino. Casper Star-Tribune.
The Great Divide Basin is Wyoming's smallish version of the Great Basin. Watercourses do not flow to either ocean. The Continental Divide disappears. Now mostly open space, almost 9000 oil and gas wells are slated to be drilled in the next 20 years.  Hunting rare desert elk and antelope, backcountry scenic driving, recreation, ranching and open space will disappear to the drilling rig.

2-9-2005. Study looks at moose decline south of Yellowstone. By Jeff Gearino. Casper Star Tribune. An earlier study indicated the moose were declining mostly because they were starving too death. There was also predation, mostly grizzly bears, and a small bit of wolf predation. Vehicles killed 4 times as many moose as wolves.

2-9-2005. Economist says restoring fishing seasons for salmon would pay off. Idaho economist says, 'The bottom line is fish are worth money.' By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman. Added

2-8-2005. Free New Mexican. Editorial Enviros girding loins for battle over drilling [Otero Mesa]. "Like many parts of the American West, our state is under assault from the national petro-lobby and its highest-profile advocate, the newly re-installed president of the country. Environmental activists, to their everlasting credit, are organizing to blunt the attack."

2-8-2005. Bush proposed budget gives more money to Yellowstone Park. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette. The National Park Service overall is suggested for a 3% cut.

2-7-2005. Bush seeks 6 percent cut for environment. Most would come from sewerage system improvements. Reuters. MSNBC.

2-7-2005. BLM announces grazing fee increase on public lands. AP. This is a rare occurrence. Grazing fees are set by the Public Rangelands Improvement Act (PRIA) of 1978 by a formula that pretty much protects public land ranch fees from the marketplace, although if cattle or sheep prices get high enough the fee will go up, as it has.

2-3-2005. Bush tries to grab conservation money from land sales in Nevada. Angers Nevada Democrats and Republicans. Las Vegas Sun. Bush's proposal sends a message that he might auction off our public lands to put a tiny dent in his massive deficit.
2-7-2005. Northern Nevada officials criticize Bush plan to siphon off monies from selling public lands. Las Vegas Sun.

2-6-2005. WY Game and Fish targets 'species of concern' By Jeff Gearino. Casper Star-Tribune staff writer

2-5-2005. Release of Claude Dallas infuriates wildlife agents in Idaho. By John Miller. AP. Casper Star Tribune.

2-5-2005. Recreation-Outdoors. Montana Legislation: The good, the bad and the ugly. By Michael Babcock. Great Falls Tribune.

2-4-2005. State, feds debate Wyoming's rejected wolf plan in court. By Curtis B. Wackerle. AP. Billings Gazette. I doubt Wyoming's shoot-them-as-they-leave Yellowstone wolf plan will win in court, but it will be bad news for wolves if they do win. Added on 3-22. Wyoming lost!!!

2-4-2005. Keep Out of the Otero Mesa. Editorial by the New York Times. The coalition against drilling this rare semi-arid grassland, spanned the political spectrum, but no coalition seems to be able to beat Bush and his oil company friends.
Earlier. 1-27-2005. Bush drilling plan draws objections from New Mexico. By Julie Cart. LA Times.
"Overriding objections by New Mexico's governor, the Department of Interior announced a final plan for expanding oil and gas drilling on Otero Mesa, a rare desert grassland and one of a handful of places in the western United States where opposition to drilling has united ranchers, property rights advocates, hunters and conservationists."

2-4-2005. Glacier Park still under siege. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian. Energy development and recreational sub-divisions keep getting worse around the national park.

2-3-2005. B.C. official claims to be surprised over negative response to coal mine. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian.
1-27-2005. British Columbia government sneaks in coal mine in the headwaters of the Flathead River, north of Glacier NP. Billings Gazette.
There were several articles about this last year, and a big protest from Montana (and B.C. citizens too).  It finally looked like right wing Liberal Party government in Victoria was going to abide by the international joint treaty. Meanwhile they were plotting.

2-2-2005. Court Says Claims Against Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Have "No Basis" Defenders of Wildlife news release. Two big decisions for the wolf in one day!

2-2-2005. Gallatin National Forest Travel plan to be Released Soon. By Scott McMillion.  Bozeman Chronicle. With the increasing conflicts with ATVs, dirt bikes, and snowmobiles, the national forest travel plan revisions have been major public decisions.

The big court decision restoring wolves in much of the U.S. to endangered status under the ESA-
2-2-2005. Decision will give more legal protection to any wolves migrating to Colorado. AP
2-2-2005. Bangs says court decision won't affect Idaho wolves. Times-News
2-1-2005. Court Says "No" to Attempt to Prematurely Remove Federal Protection for Gray Wolves. Defenders of Wildlife.
2-1-2005. Judge: government wrong to downgrade wolf from endangered to threatened. By Jeff Bernard, Associated Press Writer. San Francisco Chronicle.
2-2-2005. Key points of judge's wolf decision. By Whitney Royster. Casper Star Tribune.
2-1-2005. Big victory for wolves nationwide in lawsuit. News Release. Here is a link to the actual text of the decision. (pdf file).

1-31-2005. Opinion of the Denver Post. Common sense on wolf management. Public and private groups cooperate to ensure that ranchers won't bear the burden as the predators begin returning to their natural haunts.

1-31-2005. Wolf management has taken turn for the worst in Idaho. By Zach Uhlmann. Special to The Arbiter.

1-31-2005. Supervolcanoes 'Erupt Much Quicker' than thought. By John von Radowitz, Science Correspondent.

1-31-2005. Keeping East Entrance open in winter is a waste of money, says group. By Rebecca Huntington. Jackson Hole Zone. The avalanche control costs almost $200 per snowmobile. Since this money taken away from vital Yellowstone Park programs, the entrance fee for using the East Entrance should be at least $200 per snowmobile.
1-27-2005. Dangerous and expensive artillery avalanche control program keeps YNP East Entrance open to average of 12 snowmobiles day. News Release from PEER. Does this make your blood boil. Three times the budget of the Park's wolf program is spent keeping the East Entrance open to an average of a dozen snowmobiles a day. Meanwhile the Park landscape is littered with unexploded ordinance, a menace to people and wildlife.

1-31-2005. Wolf biologists look ahead. Billings Gazette. AP. Bangs said, his one regret so far "is having not seen the wolves through to final removal from the Endangered Species List yet." He did, however, see the project through to where the wolf population naturally stopped growing in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, contrary to the critics who predicted the population would grow until all the elk and deer in the states were dead.

1-30-2005. It's Not All Blue Skies for Drilling Project. Expansion of gas wells in Rocky Mountain states will degrade the air at several national parks. By Miguel Bustillo, LA Times Staff Writer. Natural gas wells have already substantially degraded the air in the "4 corners" region, especially New Mexico.

1-29-2005. Herzog takes 'Grizzly' [film] look at wild nature. Tucker Malarkey. Special to The San Francisco Chronicle. In a related matter, sometimes I get email from wolf lovers who don't want photos of wolves with blood in their faces. When it comes to a wolf-elk chase, I don't cheer for the wolves. I don't cheer for the elk. I like to watch nature take its course.

1-29-2005. Let's fulfill our part of the wolf-reintroduction bargain. By Michael Scott, Guest Columnist. Bozeman Chronicle. Scott is the executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

1-28-2005- Some Idaho Legislators thinking about revising state's wolf management plan. AP. I didn't know what to make of this so a held off posting the story several days. Idaho has a wolf management plan that has been approved by USFWS allowing the state to assume much of the wolf management responsibility on Feb. 7. Ed Bangs told me that if Idaho changes the management plan by amending the law, as paleoconservative Idaho legislators JoAnn Wood and Lenore Barrett might be suggesting, it would trigger an immediate review by USFWS and the result might be to revoke Idaho's management authority.
Editorial from the Idaho State Journal on this.

1-28-2005. Montana snow pack approaching record low. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer. Yesterday there was a similar story about the Wyoming snow pack. The same is true for Northern Idaho, and Washington state. The current El Nino has brought amply precipitation to the southwest and ended the drought, but has only aggravated it in the Pacific northwest.

1-27-2005. Snow pack dismal again in Wyoming. Billings Gazette. Warm temperatures have ruined the snow pack in Wyoming and Montana. It looked like the drought was finally ending, and it has to the south in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona (and maybe southern Idaho), but not in the Northern Rockies.

1-26-2005. New visitor center planned at Old Faithful. Bozeman Chronicle. By Scott McMillion. It's big!

1-25-2005. Forest Service finally gets tough on snowmobile outlaws in NW Montana. AP

1-25-2005. New Mexican wolf-program director optimistic. AP. New Mexican.

1-24-2005. Wyoming elk herd that is not fed both thrives and is free of brucellosis. Casper Star Tribune. By Brodie Fahrquhar. Here is just what critics of the disease-ridden feedgrounds predicted. No feed, little disease. The reason is Wyoming bought winter range here. Now with Wyoming rolling in excess money from the massive gas development they have plenty of resources to buy land, will they? Don't bet more than a dime that they will.

1-24-2005. Wyoming to kill some feedground elk and test them definitively for brucellosis. Casper Star Tribune. Of course the brucellosis came from the nearby elk, or in Jackson Hole maybe the bison. Hopefully with this thorough test they will be able to use the brucellosis DNA to find out exactly which area it came from.

1-24-2005. Wildlife populations grow on Wind River Reservation. AP. Billings Gazette. There are probably wolves on the reservation too. The former Owl Creek Pack ranged over part of the reservation.

1-21-2005. Editorial: Let's expand range for Mexican gray wolf. Albuquerque Tribune. The program to restore the Mexican wolf to New Mexico and Arizona is lagging badly, and the main reason is that the wolves are limited by the reintroduction rules to a relatively small area of artificial boundaries. The whole of the states need to be opened up to Mexican wolf re-colonization, just as Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming were for the gray wolf.  The gray wolf restoration would have failed too if it operated under the kind of rules for the Mexican wolf.  Opening the entire state up for colonization does mean wolves will be everywhere. Look at Idaho, the state with the most wolves. Just a few have crossed out of central Idaho, and those that did, did not persist for long.

1-21-2005. Eastern deer population at 25-million putting forests at risk. MSNBC. This happened despite hunting, and a vast growing population of the large eastern coyotes, It also explains why cougar are infiltrating into the East -- incredible amounts of prey.

1-21-2005. Medicine Bow National Forest cracks down on off-road violations. By W. Dale Nelson. Casper Star Tribune.

1-20-2005. Bridger-Teton forest supervisor pulls back heli-skiing approval in Palisades Wilderness Study Area. Decision pleases conservationists, who hope for dialogue with Forest Service. By Rebecca Huntington. Jackson Hole News and Guide. The Palisades is the large roadless area between Teton Pass and the Snake River Canyon. Heli-skiing threatens wolverine (which are likely in the area), and might be the cause of the decline in mountain goats.
~My Palisades roadless area web page. Also see Todd Wilkinson's column this week. It's on the heliskiing in the Palisades.

1-20-2005. Lynx making tracks for home? Colorado animal appears headed back to British Columbia. By Gary Gerhardt, Rocky Mountain News. If you want more news about the successful  Colorado lynx reintroduction, and haven't noticed, I have maintained a long-standing archive of lynx stories at the bottom right of this web page.

1-19-2005. Montana ranchers, anglers spar over fence bill. By Walt Williams. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer.

1-18-2005. Distribution and Abundance of Wolves in Minnesota 2003-4. (pdf file). By John Erb and Steve Benson. State of Minnesota. It should be noted that the density of wolves in Minnesota is many times greater than in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming and yet the deer population thrives. Much of this is due to the fact the Minnesota is more productive country than the remoter parts of these Northern Rockies states, but it does show that high game and wolf populations are compatible.

1-18-2005. Oregon elk thrive while black-tailed deer population plunges due to an alien lice infestation. Corvallis Gazette.

1-18-2005. Wolf Critics Don't Get It. Once viewed as an ecological nuisance, wolves are successfully blending into the West. By Ben Long. Writers on the range.

1-17-2005. Two WY men fined and given short jail sentence for killing a dispersing wolf in SW Wyoming. Casper Star Tribune. This wolf could have been a colonizer to Utah or Colorado.

1-17-2005. Symbolism shapes wolf views. By Whitney Royster. By Casper Star-Tribune environmental reporter. To rephrase it baldly, wolves, especially in Wyoming are symbols of unwanted change, and economic arguments against them are based on socially induced fear or are merely arguments of opportunity. Some people suffer losses, but the numbers are few and generally compensated. If I lived in rural Wyoming, I'd worry far more about my horse or myself getting a West Nile infection.
This is part of the larger cultural conflict in the United States, and generally I would predict I find myself on the other side of my the wolf-haters values in realms far beyond wildlife.

1-17-2005. Federal court case on rejection of Wyoming's state wolf plan will be Feb. 4. By Bill Luckett. Casper Star Tribune.

1-16-2005. Wolves expected to grow in numbers. By Scott McMillion Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer. This headline is misleading, but then reporters (unfortunately) usually don't get to write the headlines to their stories. The wolf population is expected to grow in the West, but the article doesn't say grow in Montana. McMillion writes  mostly about the relationship between environmental groups, the new Montana wolf management, ranchers, etc.
The article makes an important point that many environmental groups have, and do differ, on wolves from Defenders of Wildlife, but then Defenders has done most of the on-the-ground work and these other groups have multiple agendas they want to advance or defend.

1-15-2005. The Minnesota wolf experience. By Scott McMillion, Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer. McMillion compares the wolves of Minnesota to those of Yellowstone. In both places the wolf population has stopped growing.

1-14-2005. Fit or unfit? On governor Schweitzer?s pick to head up Montana's Division of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. By Carolotta Grandstaff. Missoula Independent.

1-13-2004. Are livestock losses to wolves greater than expected or less? By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. There are several ways to look at it.

1-13-2005. 1995 wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone retraced. By Mike Stark Billings Gazette.

1-13-2005. Wyoming task force's brucellosis recommendations released. By Brodie Fahrquar. Casper Star Tribune. Most of the members of the committee are patting themselves on the back, but the burden is going to placed on wildlife interests, not ranchers. Elk feedgrounds, which are source of the continuing infection probably won't be closed. Instead testing and slaughtering elk will be started on an experimental basis. Why not do an experimental closure of a couple feedgrounds? It's doubtful the amount of brucellosis in Wyoming elk will be reduced, certainly not enough to exceed the cost. Of course those who pay and those who benefit are not the same people. That's politics.

1-12-2005. 10 years later, Yellowstone wolf packs flourishing. Population numbers far exceed those predicted a decade ago. By Rebecca Huntington. Jackson Hole News and Guide. This is a really good, detailed article about the Yellowstone area wolves after 10 years, Huntington took the time to get the figures correct and make valid comparisons.

1-12-2005. 10 years running: Wolf experiment faces the effects of own success. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette Staff. The fact that most of the good wolf habitat in Idaho and Montana is now occupied does not mean problems will increase. They might or might not. An escalation in wolf problems has been predicted for about 5 years now, and there is not a clear trend, probably because livestock producers do a better job. The most likely effect of well occupied wolf habitat is the wolf population will stop growing, in fact it already has in Montana and Wyoming.

1-12-2005. Ecological changes linked to wolves. By Warren Cornwall. Seattle Times staff reporter. This is another story on the ecological effects of restoring wolves in Yellowstone, again citing the work of Bill Ripple. This article, however, is the first I've seen to add the important caution of ecologist Duncan Patten, who in fact lives in the area of study (right next to the Park in the upper Gallatin). Other hypotheses for the reinvigoration of aspen and willows have not been ruled out. Moreover, several things are probably affect willow and cottonwood growth at the same time.

1-12-2005. Elk numbers bump upwards in Yellowstone. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer. Government news release. "Count of northern range elk."

1-9-2005. Wolves at the door in Colorado? By Alan Best. Vail Daily News.

1-9-2005. Return of the wolf. Conservation success story should be emulated. Herald Tribune (Florida). The tenth anniversary of the wolves is being noted all over the country.

1-9-2005. Wolves thrived after reintroduction. By Becky Bohrer. Associated Press. Casper Star Tribune. This is one of the many retrospectives that is being done on the 10th anniversary of the wolf reintroduction to Idaho and Yellowstone.

1-8-2005. Oregon State plan pits opposing sides. Advocates, ranchers have differing views on wolf expansion. AP. By Henry Miller. Members of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission heard from 40 people Thursday on opposing sides of a state Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.

1-6-2005. Western Watersheds Projects expands its efforts in Federal Court. News Release. The Watersheds Project is going after juniper chaining in Idaho and a big grazing allotment in Nevada.

1-6-2004. Wolf attacks Saskatchewan man. CBC News. It appears that as in the usual case of a wolf attack, the wolf was sick or injured. If the wolf was healthy, looking for human prey, this fellow would likely not have survived. Of course, we need to gather more information before a firm conclusion can be made.

1-5-2005. Energy companies get access to Bush administration at Arizona resort. Casper Star Tribune. GOP leaders will wine and dine with energy companies and have lots of fun as they decide how they will gouge your pocketbook and pollute the environment.

1-5-2004. Idaho gains more control over wolves. Congressional delegation, governor delighted. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer. The initial statements by Idaho public officials about the state getting more wolf management control are not reassuring, and US Senators Craig's statement about the growth of the wolf population shows he isn't current.

1-4-2005. Wolf poaching in Michigan UP may cause USFWS to keep wolves on the threatened species list. Mining Journal. By Steve Brownlee.

1-4-2005. Important wildlife biologists killed on U.S. 287 between Fort Collins and Laramie. Denver Post.

1-3-2005. Effects of climate change on wildlife seen throughout Montana. By Sonja Lee. Great Falls Tribune. This is a major article from the Great Falls paper.

1-3-2005. Idaho and Montana get more wolf management authority from federal government. Because the wolf has surpassed with recovery goals in Idaho and Montana and the states have "acceptable" wolf management plans, they are getting more authority and ranchers will now have to have permission to shoot wolves said to be attacking livestock. Wyoming, on the other hand, gets no authority because they have chosen not to produce an acceptable plan to manage the small number of wolves in the state outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
Related 1-4-2005. Montana gains control of its wolves. Missoulian. By Sherry Devlin
Related 1-4-2005. Montana, Idaho to have more say in management of wolves. By Scott McMillion Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer.
Related 1-4-2005. Wolf rules give ranchers more control. State will be able to kill wolves that threaten elk, deer herds. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.
The role of the Nez Perce Tribe which did the most to make Idaho's wolf restoration the most successful was left in limbo.

1-2-2005. Wildlife Group: Habitat funding suffers in Wyoming. By Brodie Farquhar. Casper Star-Tribune correspondent. If any state needs to spend money buying up and improving wildlife habitat, it's Wyoming. Wyoming is being hit with massive oil and gas industrialization of its open space, recreational sub-divisions and wildlife disease spread by state's sorry decision years ago to feed elk in crowded winter feedlots.

1-1-2005. Crossing puma's path. Chance encounter gives one reason to shudder, think. By Gary Gerhardt, Rocky Mountain News. This is a fairly long, and good article about cougars (a.k.a. puma and mountain lion). The article centers on Colorado, but provides info applicable beyond the state. Cougar are a very minor threat to people, although much more of a threat than wolves.

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