Monday, January 29, 2007


As Goes Yellowstone So Goes The NPS
.. Get right over to National Parks Traveler. Read the post. Read, also: 17 year silence spoke volumes, and Snow Job.
.. The health of the National Parks is at stake. Then, with an open and honest mind, review the noise at places like the Grand Canyon, and other "summer" parks that attract motorcycle riders.
.. The rationalization of cyclists are just the same as sledheads. Perhaps it's time to remove all recreational transportation from our parks. Public transportation should expand in "Winter's Yellowstone." Also in the summer. And too, at the Grand Canyon. And, for that matter, all national parks.
.. Remember, the health of the parks and their employees is at stake!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Of Wolves And Railroads

What's Going On At The Grand Canyon?
Are They Red Or Are They Not?
Yellowstone's "Buddy Boulders"

.. Thanks to Stephen Bodio's Querencia, we were directed to an L.A. Times article about wolves in Saxony and their behaviors, that are similar to those in Yellowstone. The behaviors and attitudes of their human neighbors are also similar.
.. Wolves are excellent at making a living, as are dogs, and cats and coyotes and cougars.
If it's smaller &/or weaker it is potentially food. And if it's available to a pack, it's just plain food.
.. In the more densely populated German countryside the wolves are both hunter and scavenger. They enter the villages, they roam the pastures, and they make a living on the bounty of the land. They have become habituated to humans. Germany also has a social & economic system that recompenses farmers and ranchers for lost livestock similar to the one in the United States.
.. This year because of climatic and other environmental circumstances the wolves are taking a lot of elk calves in Yellowstone. The early winter elk survey shows that there are fewer bulls and more calves, and with the lack of snow cover it's just easier to make a living off of tender meat.
.. We all know about Little Red Riding Hood. We all know about the 3 little pigs. These ancient stories have meaning and truth to them, as do most parables. We all know how the wolves have been vilified in ancient tales and nursery rhymes. But what we seldom hear about are the contemporary tales of wolves attacking people. The attacks are rare and usually due to special circumstances, but they do occur.
.. Last September King's Outdoor World Blog posted a note about an unusual wolf attack. The attack was by a lone wolf, that proved to be in poor health. It was just trying to make a living in a Canadian provincial park. The wolf was just trying to make a living off of tender meat in the easiest way possible.
.. Six people were injured, from ages 3 to 14. The attack was in daylight and among a small crowd of people enjoying a holiday outing at the beach.
.. Are these "foreign" wolves like American wolves? They are. And, as the area around Yellowstone National Park becomes more densely populated, we can expect to have incidents and encounters with wolves. As time passes wolves will discover the easy meals; the tender meat. And, as the American Gentry move to the country there will be more encounters.
.. The discussion forum at King's Outdoor World Blog has a string of factual and other tales that help illustrate an overriding concern of ours. Will we lose all of our Poodles, Dachshunds and Jack Russel Terriers to wolves in the coming years?

.. It Must be coincidental. The book store at the Grand Canyon is attacked by PEER, the bloggers have a field day, truth turns out to be stranger than fiction, then Xanterra buys the Grand Canyon Railway, and Joe Alston decides to quit rather than accept a position in Washington D.C.
.. We really like these sorts of coincidental timings. They breed speculation. They fire the imagination. They provide words for blogs.
.. We suspect, however, that there is probably not too much to these events piling up on one another, (or is there?).

.. Joe just can't stay in one place too long. He never has, and he has stayed at the Grand Canyon, in the SES, longer than most would have stayed. PEER always needs Headlines, and bloggers always need words. And, as we all know Xanterra is busy monopolizing and privatizing the parks as fast as they can, (along with Delaware North.)
.. Xanterra even believes it already owns some of the parks:

.. In-holdings are always a sore spot, but whole parks? This subtle tyranny of words is either intentional, or ignorant - either way it should rankle conscientious citizens.
.. The monopolistic concessionaires really enjoy the opportunity to gang up on the park service as they have done in Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. They are constantly talking about the 'economies of scale' and the efficiency of size. Should this sound just a bit thin, we direct you to an excellent post by Scott Silver at Wild Wilderness. The unholy alliances are all around us, and are going to continue.
.. For a pile of money as deep as the Grand Canyon, "Xanterra Parks & Resorts will take over the assets of the railroad company, including the trains, rail route from Williams to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, an RV park, restaurant and several real estate parcels in Williams." This is beginning to sound like the Disney Corporation.
.. The deal is final ----- pending National Park Service approval ----- HA. Wan'na' bet? How 'bout a ride on the rails? Want to see how the other half enjoys the Grand Canyon? CLICK HERE. And we bet that nobody complains that Xanterra is lying to children about going to the North Pole on their new "Polar Express."
.. The not so wild elk that recently escaped from an Idaho game-hunting farm have been declared "Genetically Pure" by the members of the Idaho Elk Breeders Association.
.. This announcement comes as the Idaho State Legislature is considering eliminating the tame-elk hunting ranches. An escaped cow elk was killed and genetic tests showed probable Red Deer genes, based on a Canadian laboratory report. For the members list of the Idaho Elk Breeders Association visit their members page.

.. A nifty bit of natural history has been reported by The San Francisco Chronicle. The phenomenon of buddy boulders is explored in a news essay "Like A Rock" wherein trees and their buddy boulders form a life-long symbiotic relationship. Examples of this are visible across Yellowstone.
.. Boulders can shade seedlings from harsh elements and the result is "buddy rocks", as seen especially in the flat known as "Little America" above the east bank of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park. <<Photo by Mollie Rights.>>

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Commercialism Creeps
old faithful steams

<<-- Kim Allen Scott will read from his book on Doane, “Yellowstone Denied,” at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 at the Pioneer Museum in Bozeman. As previously noted, Gustavus Cheyney Doane was a soldier, inventor, author and explorer who felt he should be famous for "discovering" Yellowstone National Park and wealthy from one of his inventions.
.. Montana State University has finally issued a news release about this fascinating saga of the man and his obscurity - aided, interestingly, by a selfish, (or preoccupied historian.) The book is an interesting compilation, the story is even better.
.. The book is getting the good play that it deserves, including another note in the Helena Independent Record. If you're in Bozeman this Saturday stop at the museum and give a listen.

.. Montana State University has a couple of employees who will be evaluating the "Windows Into Wonderland" series about Yellowstone National Park. The award winning series of electronic field trips has attracted millions of visitors and details a wide range of Yellowstone's various features and attractions.

.. We noticed an interesting essay about commercialization, American values, and our national parks in Jim's Eclectic World. One point in the essay is very apparent in Yellowstone National Park -- CREEPING COMMERCIALISM.
.. As we've noted before, (here & here & here,) there are major corporations spending a lot of money to get their name associated with Yellowstone. The "Windows Into Wonderland" series mentioned is just one of them.
.. Via The Yellowstone Newspaper we were directed to a not so playful spoof of the future of Yellowstone in A Step Apart.
.. A pair of notes serve to illustrate the way this is working. WebWire has a note about how Canon is persistently pushing itself into Yellowstone. And the CSRWire has a note about how Toyota is doing the same thing.
.. This should not be too surprising in that the very origin of Yellowstone was fostered by the commercial interests of the Northern Pacific Railroad. An excellent review of Berringer's book "Selling Of Yellowstone: Capitalism & The Construction Of Nature" can be found HERE.

.. There are two articles addressing the declining attendance at our national parks. The site Inside Bay lets us know that Yosemite is busy competing with Play Station & X Box. And over at Hotel Online, a similar note suggests that the decline is not all bad.

.. The Voice Of America reports that one of the alternative energy sources we should be utilizing is geothermal power. So to does ARS Technica. No mention was made of the Iceland fiasco that destroyed much of the beauty of their geyser fields for steam heat.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Winter Is Popular in Yellowstone

.. According to the National Park Service Public Use Statistic Office, December 2006 snowmobile visitors totaled 6,049 as compared to 5,507 in December 2005 for a 9.8 percent increase. In the same report snowcoach vistorship dropped from 4,266 in December 2005 to 4,106 in 2006 for a decrease of 3.8 percent.
.. SnoWest notes that: ". . . the major increase in snowmobile visitors was at the South Gate which had a 22.3 percent increase. The West Gate, which historically is the most active, had snowmobile vistorship increase of 7.8 percent in December."
.. For an excellent summary of the legal history of the winter use plan see the review in OMB WATCH. And for those with a bent for visual reporting FocusWest has an excellent copileation of T.V. spots from various perspectives.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hear All About It

a treaty kept

borrowed from yellowstoner.. As Jeff Brady says: "At Yellowstone National Park, managers will soon decide whether to continue to allow snowmobiles. Meanwhile, a ride through the snowy expanses of the park remains a decadent thrill."
.. In keeping with an 1855 treaty the Nez Perce may take 50 to 70 bison in a hunt this year. The AP Story notes: "Only six bison were taken last year during a limited "youth hunt." The hunt now is being opened to all Nez Perce members. This year's hunt began last weekend and four bison have been taken so far. The Nez Perce Tribe Fish and Wildlife Commission has also issued five permits for elk. Nez Perce Chairman Rebecca Miles sent a letter to Montana officials earlier this month, saying moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats and antelope might also be taken.But commission member Joseph Oatman says the harvest of those species is on hold until the tribe can talk with Montana wildlife officials about how many of those animals can be killed without impacting the species' populations. He said it is possible none will be taken this year."
borrowed from yellowstoner
Bison At Nez Perce Creek


Our thoughts and prayers are with Becky. We worked with you, we played with you, we laughed with you, we cried with you. Thirteen years was not enough. Good bye John.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Return Of Yellowstock

yellowstock screen shot

Infrequent though the posts are, they continue to inform us of things we should have seen here first. Welcome back Yellowstock.
-- We're a bit late on this, but it deserves mention: Dirk Kempthorne has been doing a competent, (albiet low profile job,) in his post as Secretary of Interior. We were skeptical, however he has again surprised us by requesting the listing of Polar Bears as a threatened species.
-- It is even more surprising because of this quote from the USFWS page:

-- The press release can be viewed HERE.
-- The Helena Independent lets us know that a group of 41 bison was hazed into Yellowstone National Park from nearby Church Universal and Triumphant lands

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Rave Reviews From Complimentary Trips

There's No Joy At Pahaska Tepee
there's less joy at the epa
Librarian Write Book About Discovery

.. It's an annual occurance. In this town it's called "Manipulate The Press."
.. Now that the press is getting it's free tours in Yellowstone the praise is flowing like heated maple syrup. As snowcoach operators load their antique vehicles with rich tourists and the fifth estate there is a flood of "positive" articles overwhelming the media.
.. Watch for even more to come. The Bozeman Chronicle is getting their free tour as you read this. There will be waxing poetic and joy will abound. Praise will gush and all will be right with the world.
Here are things to watch for as you read between the lines:
-- The windows fogged up so bad that the park couldn't be seen.
-- The heater was so bad that we had to wrap ourselves in blankets.
-- The bus was so noisy that I needed Excedrin.
-- The guides were sweet and nice (because they work for tips.)
-- They said it was too cold to get out of the bus.
-- We saw many other people at the same places we stopped.
-- The experience was wonderful, (after all it was free.)
-- We bounced around so much my bladder burst.
-- The guides are so smart; they took us to the exact places they wanted to go.

.. Some glowing reports have already started to emerge:
NBC News, Idaho: "You got to see wildlife, and you were inside, so you were warm. It was a little noisy, but other than that, cool!"
NBC News, Idaho: "Park activities like ice skating and cross country skiing were cancelled for some of the day because of a severe cold weather advisory."
Crosswalk: "Yes, just as I stood and waited in awe for Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, I will wait in anticipation for God to show Himself faithful in my life."
.. National Public Radio has tried to play the story straight, and done a pretty good job of it. But, then again, they went to the park for free in a bus. And they might have gotten their facts a bit mixed up because they were whispering all the time.
.. The EPA has suggested that the National Park Service is ignoring their own guidelines with their current thinking. The EPA only reviewed the current draft - the one that refused to consider the unsafe modes of transportation. Read about it in the Billings Gazette.
.. Kim Allen Scott, special collections librarian at Montana State University’s Renne Library, has written a book about Gustavus Doane who was a soldier, inventor, author and explorer & felt he should be famous for “discovering” Yellowstone National Park. Perhaps his time has come. Read the story HERE. Read the NPS version HERE.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Yellowstone's Snowflakes

Just A Note About A Great Yellowstone Posting

Other resources:
Wilson A. Bentley, The Snowflake Man (great pictures they won't let us show you)

-45 is no joke!

Stages Of Hypothermia In Humans

Stage 1 -- The body temperature drops by 2 to 4 degrees and mild to strong shivering occurs. You will be unable to perform complex tasks with the hands; the hands become numb. Blood vessels in the outer extremities contract, lessening heat loss to the outside air. Breathing becomes quick and shallow. Goose bumps form, raising body hair on end in an attempt to create a insulating layer of air around the body.
Stage 2 -- The body temperature drops by 4 to 7 degrees. Shivering becomes more violent. Muscle miscoordination becomes apparent. Movements are slow and labored, accompanied by a stumbling pace and mild confusion, although the victim may appear alert. Surface blood vessels contract further as the body focuses its remaining resources on keeping the vital organs warm. Victims becomes pale and lips, ears, fingers and toes may become blue.
Stage 3 -- The body temperature drops 90 degrees; normal is 98.6 degrees. Shivering usually stops and the victim will have difficulty speaking, sluggish thinking, and signs of amnesia. There is an obvious inability to use hands and stumbling is present. Cellular metabolic processes shut down. The exposed skin becomes blue and puffy, muscle coordination is very poor, walking is nearly impossible, and the victim exhibits incoherent or irrational behavior. Pulse and respiration rates decrease significantly but fast heart rates can occur. Major organs fail and clinical death occurs. Because of decreased cellular activity in stage 3 hypothermia, the body will actually take longer to undergo brain death.

First Aid
-- If any symptoms of hypothermia are present, especially confusion or changes in mental status, the local emergency service should be immediately contacted.
-- If the person is unconscious, check their airway, breathing, and circulation. If necessary, begin rescue breathing or CPR. If the victim is breathing less than 6 breaths per minute, begin rescue breathing.
-- Take the person inside to room temperature and cover him or her with warm blankets. If going indoors is not possible, get the person out of the wind and use a blanket to provide insulation from the cold ground. Cover the person's head and neck to help retain body heat.
-- Once inside, remove any wet or constricting clothes and replace them with dry clothing. Warm the person. If necessary, use your own body heat to aid the warming.
-- Apply warm compresses to the neck, chest wall, and groin. If the person is alert and can easily swallow, give warm, sweetened, nonalcoholic fluids to aid the warming.
-- Stay with the person until medical help arrives.
-- Assume that you should obtain a doctor if the victim has been exposed for 24 hours or more.
-- DO NOT assume that someone found lying motionless in the cold is already dead.
-- DO NOT use direct heat (such as hot water, a heating pad, or a heat lamp) to warm the person.
-- DO NOT give the person alcohol.

Hospital Treatment
In a hospital, warming is accomplished by external techniques (blankets, warming devices) for mild hypothermia and by more invasive techniques such as warm intravenous fluids or even lavage of the bladder, stomach, chest and abdominal cavities with warmed fluids for severely hypothermic patients.

These patients are at high risk for arrhythmias and care must be taken to minimize jostling and other disturbances until they have been sufficiently warmed, as these arrhythmias are very difficult to treat while the victim is still cold.

An important tenet of treatment is that a person is not dead until they are warm and dead. Remarkable accounts of recovery after prolonged cardiac arrest have been reported in patients with hypothermia.

In air, most heat is lost through the head; hypothermia can thus be most effectively prevented by covering the head. Having appropriate clothing for the environment is another important prevention.

Fluid-retaining materials like cotton can be a hypothermia risk; if the wearer gets sweaty on a cold day, then cools down, they will have sweat-soaked clothing in the cold air.

For outdoor exercise on a cold day, it is advisable to wear fabrics which can "wick" away sweat moisture. These include wool or synthetic fabrics designed specifically for rapid drying.

Heat is lost much more quickly in water. Children can die of hypothermia in as little as two hours in water as warm 61 degrees, typical of sea surface temperatures in temperate countries such as Great Britain.

Many seaside safety information sources fail to quote survival times in water, as well as the consequent importance of diving suits. This is possibly because the original research into hypothermia mortality in water was carried out in wartime Germany on unwilling subjects.

There is an ongoing debate as to the ethical basis of using the data thus acquired. There is considerable evidence, however, that children who suffer near-drowning accidents in water near 32 degrees can be revived up to two hours after losing consciousness.

The cold water considerably lowers metabolism, allowing the brain to withstand a much longer period of hypoxia.
(From: The

Friday, January 12, 2007

Bits & Pieces


.. GREAT PHOTO of a wolf doing its thing at the Outdoor Life Photo Gallery.
.. THE FEDS & WYOMING may be close to reaching an agreement on wolf management. The dispute revolves around what to call the animals, and where they can be called that. Check the AP article by Ben Neary for the latest complete details.
.. THE WORRY over the NPS view about book selling has spawned an interesting commentary in the form of a magnificent altered book by the Four Eyed Bat.
.. NEW WEST has published an unseemly first person advertisement under the guise of news. The guest writer is busy exploiting the new trend toward giant snow buses in Yellowstone. This is the first time they have stooped so low. Read the feature called "Critical Outfitter Now Embraces Yellowstone’s New Winter Tourism." My, my, my how the mighty have come to grovel.
.. AVALANCHE & TRAIL NEWS for snowshoe, ski, and snowmobiles in and around West Yellowstone and Yellowstone National Park is available at Yellowstone Snow and Trail Report. It is updated on Tuesdays and Fridays.
.. BUSY IS THE LOBBY, as The Blue Ribbon Coalition is rounding up pro-use citizens for its many endeavours. The Sno-Tracks page is getting lots of use lately. SnoWest Magazine is also getting in on the act with blurbs about the winter use planning process. Their last trip to Yellowstone was compliments of Yellowstone Arctic-Yahama. We're not a bit surprised: If New West can do it; so too the sledheads.
.. BIODIESEL is being strutted around by reference to the NPS use of it in Yellowstone National Park. The bedroom is getting crowded with Conoco-Phillips, TMCnet, Trucks World, The Yellowstone Park Foundation, Visa, Toyota, Unileaver, Coca Cola, Canon, and the NPS.
.. MURDER - SUICIDE is the verdict for the father & son deaths in Yellowstone National Park in September, 2005. Read the details in the Star Tribune coverage.
.. YELLOWSTONE IS RECRUITING for YCC. This is your chance to sign up for 8 weeks of residential work in Yellowstone National Park. Learn about it. Sign up for it.
.. ENOUGH SAID: Amadeus Selected by Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts to Provide Fully Integrated Revenue Management Solution: Solution will enable Delaware North properties to better forecast demand and optimize revenue generating opportunities across all revenue streams.
.. TOYOTA RECALLS 9.3 million vehicles. These are critically important safety issues. Check your VIN!
.. MARY BOWMAR SAYS: "The National Park Service will increasingly look to outside sources in an effort to help maintain parks . . . we're much more business savvy than we used to be . . . it would be inappropriate to discuss the issue of snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park . . . There is no decision made on the snowmobile issue."
She said even more -- Read It Here.
.. ELK ARE IN THE NEWS - AGAIN, as the Idaho State Legislature has been prompted to action by the genetic contamination of the Yellowstone elk herd by Red Deer genes in a game farm outbreak. The issues are shooting elk in fenced enclosures, and regulating the 6,000 elk kept for "HUNTING?"
.. A WORKER'S POINT OF VIEW: this is what Yellowstone is really all about.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Blind Cougars

Bison vs. Elk
new bureaucrats

.. Last year we posted a note about Yellowstone Cougars with bubonic plague. Now we note that just a few hundred miles to the east of Yellowstone National Park blind cougars have been found. The cause of the malady may be the STD CHLAMYDIA.
.. Researchers in South Dakota are examining two blind cougars to verify the suspicion that sex causes blindness.
.. Dear Old Dad warned us of a similar human condition.
.. Bison are competing with elk in a serious way on the National Elk Refuge south of Yellowstone National Park. Biologists are concerned that the range is being hammered beyond repair.
.. There are ". . . way too many bison," according to Doug Brimeyer, wildlife biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in Jackson.
.. An EIS is currently being prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service to examine the situation and hunting as a means of control. An article in the Casper Star Tribune details the current situation.
Yellowstone National Park has found the resources for two Deputy Superintendents.
<<-- Christine Lehnertz will be D.S. for resource management and business practices.
Colin Campbell will be D.S. for ranger operations and facilities management. -->>
The NPS Press Release details some of their qualifications and backgrounds.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


stolen from yellowstoner

.. This Quote from MidCurrent says it all:
stolen from yellowstoner"After the U.S. Congress loosened controls on oil and gas drilling on public lands in 2005, the price of oil encouraged the Forest Service to open more national forests to exploration -- meaning more roads and test wells in areas previously considered unsuitable for drilling. "The U.S. Forest Service is drafting a plan to lease areas of the Caribou National Forest and Curlew National Grassland along Idaho's southeastern border for oil and gas exploration." Jesse Harlan Alderman of the Associated Press."
.. The Daily Herald article gives us the details. The energy crush is bringing exploration closer to Yellowstone National Park all the time.