Sunday, April 29, 2007

Of Bears, Wolves, Elk, & Plastic Bison

Wolves Causing Stir
bison in fiberglass

.. Tomorrow, (Monday, April 30, 2007,) is the last day for Grizzly Bears on the endangered species list in the Yellowstone region. Already a lawsuit is being drafted. LINK.
.. Montana Officials say that they will stop monitoring grizzly bear activity in NW Montana unless federal agencies pay for the program. LINK.
.. Visit Yellowstone To Yukon to see where grizzlies can live in the proposed corridor of this conservation effort.
.. Wolves too, are now a different class of animals and, parallel to the grizzlies are much maligned and hated. The situation becomes one of human adaptation as well as animal adaptation. See the story in CDA for an interesting Idaho perspective.
.. Elk & Bison both carry brucellosis into Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. This is becoming a real point of contention between Yellowstone National Park and the states and other federal agencies. The rift in approach to controlling and eradicating the disease is detailed in a story by BRODIE FARQUHAR in the Casper Star Tribune.
.. West Yellowstone has a different perspective on bison, and is painting a herd of plastic buffalo to attract visitors. It seems that real bison are just not enough for the merchants of snowmobile central. This is just one more illustration of the mentality of this tiny tourist trap.

.. Plan now - do it now! For just $2,600 - or more, (no air fare,) you too can enjoy Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Link. Link.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Spring Snow For Opening Day

A New Tour Guide In Town

.. The sky opened and dropped between 2" and 8" of wet snow last night; just in time to provide visitors to Yellowstone National Park with a fresh white blanket for opening day. Today promises to be bright and sunny with temps as high as the 40's on the western side of the park.
.. Spring weather being what it is, be prepared for anything. The weekend looks unsettled. Bring mittens and a camera, the herds of bison are scattered along the river bottoms, the elk are still in small groups, the bears are very active as are the wolves. A bobcat is still prowling along the Madison River, and American Robins have been seen in West Yellowstone, MT. No Blue Birds or Cranes yet.
.. Suppose you could tour Yellowstone with a group of 'experts,' and they would anticipate your questions. Suppose you had at your command biologists, geologists, glaciologists, meteorologists, historians, archaeologists, photographers, etc. Suppose you could stop where you wanted to and spend your time as you wanted to without a schedule to keep. And suppose the cost was about the same as a nice dinner in West Yellowstone. Would you take advantage of such an opportunity?
.. Soon you can. Think about the current GPS technology, a playback device, and a video game. Combine them. What do you get? Instant Yellowstone - coming soon to West Yellowstone, MT.
.. More about this in an upcoming post.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Requiem For Winter

Get Out Your Mobile Condominium
grab your cell phone & put on your rainbow gear
(Photo by Tom Murphy - link, link)

.. A few years ago William Kittredge wrote an essay that was published in Owning It All and was reprinted in The Montanan. In it he does well by those of us that have chosen to live here. He also reminds us just why winter is so special.
". . . Winter protects Yellowstone from the hordes of recreational automobilists and bicyclists and tromping backpackers with their multicolored gear, all the cartoon tourists of summertime. You and me and the kids, and Uncle Ted in his Winnebago, and sister Sue whose eyes are blue, everybody in pursuit of a few sweet moments spent checking out a sacred remnant of what we persist in calling wilderness, even after the highways are built. Maybe two million visitors between mid-May and Labor Day.
And then the crowd goes home, leaving Indian summer for those who live in the northern Rockies year-round. Along about the middle of September the leaves go seriously into the business of turning brilliant color along the Firehole River and the other fishing waters. And the trouts, the wonderful slick-bodied trouts, rainbow and brown and cut-throat and brook, hungry again in the cooling streams and given to lifting ravenously to suck down an ephemeral bit of feather tied handsomely to a barbless hook."
.. Well, the fish are about to be shared with the world and the park will entertain whoever can afford to get here and pay the fees. The roads will be crowded, the construction delays will be frightful, the Old Faithful Visitor Center will be gone, and the concessionaires will be happy.
.. The few sunny days we had this week, and the thermometer approaching 40 F let us all know that winter is gone. Summer never really arrives in Yellowstone -- but it's nice to have the longest and most beautiful Spring in America. To the rest of the world we say: "Bring It On," winter's never that far away.
Yellowstone Openings & Closings: roads, facilities, ice cream shops, etc.
--------------------Did You Know?
There are more people hurt by bison than by bears each year in Yellowstone. Park regulations state that visitors must stay at least 25 yards away from bison or elk and 100 yards away from bears.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

New Web Rangers Site

Get Your Own Desk & Ranger Station
sign up now

.. There is a new WEB RANGER site for kids of all ages. The National Park Service has rolled out the new Web Rangers site, and it is worth a visit. You can read the announcement here. The old site will be available for a limited time and you can find it here. You can find out about the program here.
.. There are some differences in the two sites, most notably personalization. This requires the users to register & The National Park Service to set 'cookies' on your computer to track the session and progress of the child through activities and puzzles and awards. You can read about the cookies and the NPS Privacy Policy for this site here.
.. There is an English version, and a Spanish version of the new site. The NPS seems to have created their own version of "MY SPACE" for the kids. As stated:
"The most exciting addition is that kids from around the world will be able to post their own pictures and stories about their parks experiences in a moderated setting. This peer-to-peer sharing holds tremendous promise for civic engagement on a global scale. The new site will build a community of kids excited about their national park legacy and get them up and out to see these places for themselves."

.. This is probably a good thing and it's a product of Best Buy Retail Stores in partnership with the National Park Foundation.
.. Nowhere on the site did we find games or activities that referred to 'back-stabbing in-fighting,' 'stonewalling the public,' 'planning for snowmobiles,' delisting threatened or endangered species,' 'political appointees,' or 'verbal misdirection.' Perhaps the NPS should take a peek at this virtual world and learn.


Send A Wave Home
this year's cam-guide
HI MOMnps photo
.. Use this guide to identify the major geysers that are erupting.
nps photo