Do It All Yellowstone

ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE

Well, I’m still tired and work is consuming most of my energy, but I find it interesting that wd-kil.jpgthe NPS has not figured out that Yellowstone can’t be all things to all people. The concept of compromise reigns supreme in the minds of politicians, bloggers, cheerleaders, and NPS planners.

Take invasive species in Yellowstone for an example. The National Park Service spends tens of thousands of dollars trying to eradicate botanical species, (but not in Mammoth where they save them to feed the pet elk,) and hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to remove Lake Trout. Yet they encourage and even protect invasive and non-indigenous trout to placate the fly fishing industry in parts of the park that were fish-free. This is “compromise,” and it is successful only in encouraging the spread of additional invasive species, (like the mud snails and whirling disease,) on the one hand, and increasing resident invaders, (Lake Trout,) on the other.

bis-360-x-270.jpgThe NPS just released the Summer bison population estimate. The herd is within 200 individuals of the historic high of 4,900. Unlike Wind Cave National Park, Yellowstone continues to “compromise” its bison management plan to make sure that neither ranchers, tourists, bison advocates, nor news hounds are too badly offended. Keep it up and soon the park will be so deep in poo that someone will be offended – they will eventually eat themselves out of forage.

And, of course, we have finally heard from the New York Times on the “compromise” winter use plan. Again, by reducing snowmobiles, the park increases pollution by increasing diesel buses. The planners of Yellowstone seem not to have heard of the concept of constraint. Given the demand for winter visitation in Yellowstone, transportation must accommodate it. Certainly we shouldn’t limit visitation.

Given a totality: reduction of one part must necessarily result in the increase of another part. Given the totality of the ever increasing numbers of fishermen, there is a reduction in the opportunities for a solitary yus.JPGfishing experience. Given the totality of available bison habitat, the increase of bison results in the reduction of available forage. Given the totality of numbers of winter visitors, the reduction of clean snowmobiles results in the increase of dirty diesel buses, and the retention of obsolete and dirty Bombardier snowcoaches.

Since the planners in Yellowstone refuse to set limits on fishing, bison, and pollutants; all will increase as they play a numbers game. It’s not the number of snowmobiles that count – it’s the pollution that’s important. Bless the capitalists that are now propagating fleets of diesel buses to invade Yellowstone in winter, (just like Yosemite in Summer.)

fis-375-x-244.jpgBless the feather merchants that continue to encourage fishing for non-native species and the spread of mud snails and whirling disease. Bless the bison advocates that encourage the herd to proliferate and eat so much ground cover that the rivers are muddied.

Soon there will be confrontations between the fishing industry and the bison advocates. Soon there will be confrontations between diesel buses and bison. Soon there will be a park that is all things to all people and then – finally, there may be planning that is sensible and acknowledges the concept of constraint. Well probably not in my lifetime.

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As a pertinent aside, check out the note about Lions For Lambs on You Tube.

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The Sacred Cows Of Yellowstone

THOU SHALT NOT SPEAK EVIL OF THESE

sacredcow.gifI have a bit of pity & some sympathy for the poor journalists in this part of the country. I just plain pity the journalists in the rest of the country.

When it comes to reporting about Yellowstone National Park they have a long list of topics that they cannot report about. They have, after all, advertising and public sentiment to deal with. The scribes, either through fear or ignorance refuse to address the problems caused by the Sacred Cows of Yellowstone.

Reporting about Yellowstone is also fraught with pitfalls propagated by the NPS. The NPS has fostered a picture of perfection to be projected about the park – after all, it’s their job as chief cheerleader. But a few honest remarks about the problems in Yellowstone would go a long way toward correcting them. Horror of horrors – tell the truth.

yellowstone-hack.gifCurrently it’s the Sacred Bison that these sages of the press are skating around. They have not addressed the bison policy, overpopulation, or the destruction that the bison do to the Yellowstone prairies or the environment in general.

Worry not about the poor little babies. Worry about Yellowstone National Park. Reduce the herd to a size that is in keeping with honest preservation of the environment and the ecology of Yellowstone.

However, you can bet that many local reporters will continue to use unprofessional inflammatory language when protecting this sacred cow – it generates readership and advertising. After all, Shakespeare played to the crowd, [For some sane and non-inflammatory reporting read Glenn Hockett.]

The SACRED ELK is another scourge of the Yellowstone incubation mentality. They are raised on invasive grasses in Mammoth. They are so habituated that they lounge on the lawns and the old parade grounds. The park administration does not ticket visitors, (see Sacred Rules and Sacred Rangers below,) nor do they consider the plight of these critters that are rapidly losing their wild nature. (See 2004 video of elk charging and goring visitor.)

Another is the SACRED DIESEL TOUR BUS; a conveyance that does nothing to enhance the visitor experience that the NPS is always talking about. It slows traffic, crowds roads, blocks vistas, and spews carcinogens and other pollution into the atmosphere of the park. It is far worse for Yellowstone and its visitors than a few snowmobiles. This sacred cow should never be attacked because it generates enormous amounts of revenue and concurrently herds humans into manageable groups.

Too, the SACRED MOTOR HOME; with four wealthy humans taking up the space that 40 less affluent humans use in the tour bus. These $200,000 – or much more behemoths, are usually pulling a $50,000 Hummer [or some such.] This travesty of the roadway has double immunity because it is also the preferred mode of transportation for the seasonal help that Xanterra & Delaware North hire. These monsters are also allowed preferred parking in the park campgrounds, denying visitors space. Mention it not!

Then, the SACRED EMPLOYEE PUB, is verboten. This is akin to the military providing slot machines to the troops and fostering gambling addictions. Could this be happening with alcohol in Yellowstone? Heaven forbid. Don’t let the public know about this.

And mention not the SACRED GEYSER GAZERS that are allowed special access to off-trail areas and thermal features. Sign up and you too can leave your footprints and ball caps in the mud.

off-trail.jpgDon’t dare to explore the activities of the SACRED SKIERS. These bota-totin’, off-trail-shoutin’, skinny-dipping denizens that supposedly are much nicer to the park than the average winter visitor are the darlings of journalists and bloggers alike. Gimme a break. illegal.jpgThe SACRED BICYCLISTS are also saints and never go off trail or stress the fauna by getting too close. Both of these groups of saints are protected by the Sacred Rules and Sacred Rangers, (see below.) Fear the wrath of ‘greenies’ if you tell the truth about either of these two cows.

By no means investigate the SACRED RULES that allow visitors to move closer to bison and elk than to bears; despite the fact that more visitors [in their stupidity] are harmed by bison and elk than bears. And certainly don’t mention the SACRED RANGERS that refuse, (by order,) to issue tickets for these infractions against the bison and the elk. This is law enforcement tempered by the almighty tourist dollar.

nono.jpgThe SACRED BOMBARDIER is a genuine offense to reason, environmental sanity, fiscal responsibility, and public safety. Don’t honestly report on these cows of the winter landscape – you’ll incur the wrath of moneyed visitor interests and motorized recreationists across the country.

The most egregious sin of the Yellowstone Hacks is their failure to recognize the travesty of the SACRED FLY FISHERMAN. These ‘sportsmen’ are backed by both park personnel and the giant fly fishing industry. The park has rules to enable the destruction of streams in order to placate this cow. The ‘incubator mentality’ is best viewed in the realm of fishing and the stocking history of the NPS. It’s time to fix this!

Without the SACRED FLY FISHERMAN, and his commercial lobby, the New Zealand Mud Snail would not be in Yellowstone. Without the SACRED FLY FISHERMAN the previously pristine Firehole River would be allowed to produce its native mayflies, stone flies, midges, and caddis flies in a natural fashion; without the depredation of non-native species. But these creatures have no cheerleaders, (nor does Yellowstone’s ecology.) So, the fly fisherman is allowed to keep his invasive trout, introduced from afar. Enhance the visitor experience at the expense of the native species.

brad-baby.jpgThe Yellowstone fishing regulations encourage; nay, facilitate destruction of park resources by mandating “torture and release” of invasive species. This is blatant disregard for the intent of preservation of the park resources. But, without the SACRED FLY FISHERMAN many dollars would be lost by the preservation and restoration of a once beautiful stream. Hacks don’t dare address this – they fish. And so does Brad Pitt – bring on the rationalizations for avoiding this topic.

There are many others of course. But there is far too little jaundice in the eyes of the regional hacks. They too have bought into the Picture-Perfect-Yellowstone myth. Conventional wisdom always wins – no matter how wrong – just look at the political and environmental mess our parks are in.

Other Sacred Cows that are running rampant in Yellowstone include: the SACRED TOUR GUIDE, the SACRED PARKING VIOLATOR, the SACRED SEASONAL RANGER, the SACRED WOMAN SUPERINTENDENT, the SACRED BUILDING CLUTTER, the SACRED SLUMS OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, the SACRED BUILDING BOOM AND THE ATTENDANT WASTE DISPOSAL PROBLEMS INCLUDING SEWAGE, and many, many, more.

Just what has happened to investigative journalism in our National Parks? Or do the American Public not want to know? This is worse than Fantasy Land.

The Yellowstone Incubator

BREED PROTECTED ANIMALS & DAMN THE CONSEQUENCES

I knew it would come to this. I just didn’t want to say it for fear that I would be accused of being an alarmist – which I’m not.

ridum.jpgThe breeding factory that is Yellowstone has finally produced results that are making the cheerleaders and whiners very happy. Now that the park has produced too many bison for the forage, it is trucking them back into the park to destroy what little grass is left. These bison no more belong in Yellowstone than they do in your back yard – or do they? Bless the whiners and bless the cheerleaders.

feed-elk.jpgSoon the migratory Bison of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho will join the Welfare Elk of Jackson in a perfect charade of stupidity.

The cheerleaders have taken giant steps toward diluting wild genes in the Bison Herd – three cheers for them!

feedum.jpgSoon, too, I fear, the “managers” of Yellowstone will return to the mentality that established the Buffalo Ranch – feed ’em and herd ’em.

If the “managers” want ‘wild’ bison they should look to Wind Cave National Park for a sane model. The park was established to protect a cave, (Yellowstone for the geological curiosities,) then it was expanded to preserve and restore prairie, (Yellowstone devoted its prairies to the incubator,) then the ecosystem was evaluated and a few bison, (disease-free from Yellowstone,) were added.

Wind Cave National Park looks to the ecological intricacies required to manage a system. It culls Bison. It culls Prairie Dogs. It is conscious of the fact that visitors don’t always get to see the bison – so what? It is managing an ecosystem to the best of it’s ability – can Yellowstone and it’s incubator mentality say the same?

wolfpack.jpgThe USFWS recognized just how good an incubator Yellowstone was when they introduced wolves. They had an end game in mind and it is being played out now as surrounding human populations are beginning to take responsibility for these migratory animals.

Yellowstone has allowed the incubator to pump out elk, (laden with brucellosis,) and the surrounding humans love it – hunting dollars are big in Montana and Wyoming and Idaho – the cattlemen aren’t screaming about the elk; now are they? [But perhaps they should be!]

Grizzly bears have taken a bit longer, but the Craighead’s predictions of the 60’s and 70’s (Review,) have come true. They are finding habitat in Grand Teton Park, (and becoming habituated to vehicles and humans in the process.)

The Greater Yellowstone Coalition suggests a sensible plan to deal with migratory bison — don’t just pretend the bison are wild and keep pumping them out and trucking them back to eat the rapidly disappearing forage. Treat them like the critter we would like them to be. In their own words:

 

In Montana, big game species such as elk, moose, big horn sheep, mountain goats, mountain lions, and bears thrive because their habitat and conservation is supported by hunting. We can enjoy similar success with bison.

Boy oh boy, watch the whiners and cheerleaders scream about this.

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And, while we’re at it, let’s remind the “managers” in Yellowstone that they are encouraging the destruction of streams by invasive and introduced fish such as brn.jpgThe German Brown Trout, The Loch Leven Brown Trout, The McCloud River Rainbow Trout, and other fish that the commercial interests want to remain in the rivers.

There is a catastrophe brewing in streams such as The Firehole, The Gibbon, The Madison, The Lamar, Soda Butte, and Slough Creek.

The Yellowstone River and Yellowstone Lake are already badly, if not fatally, degraded. There is not a fly shop within 500 miles of Yellowstone National Park that cares one whit about preservation and restoration of native species. They care about $$$$ and the fish incubator that the American Public maintains.

Did you know that Yellowstone National Park protects destructive, introduced, invasive species with it’s catch and release regulations on the Firehole River. How does that protect our natural heritage? It just protects and subsidizes the private fishing industry and a group of snobs that would rather catch foreign fish than American fish.

Do You Really think that it’s the fish or the fishing that the fishermen care about? Let’s see a meaningful alliance between Fly Fishermen, Suzanne Lewis, Mary Bomar and Dirk Kempthorne to; as Kempthorne said:

“By the Park Service’s 100th birthday, the President’s Centennial Initiative will have provided significant resources to restore and better protect the parks’ natural, cultural and historic resources.”

Let’s restore the Firehole River and it’s tributaries, above Firehole Falls, to the way they were before there was a National Park. We have the technology, it would cost less than a new visitor center, it would be “natural.”

Now there is a meaningful bit of work for the National Park Service. Far better than trucking bison back to a rapidly changing and degraded forage base. But the fly fishing cheerleaders and whiners are just as blind as the others.

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pet-fish.jpgSisters, if the American public wants Tame Bison, Denuded Prairies, Sick Elk, Habituated Wolves and Grizzles, along with Artificial Streams and Foreign Pet Fish – so be it. Just don’t run to me when your children ask you what Yellowstone used to be like before global warming.

After all these are National Parks, and the cheerleaders and whiners are always talking about public opinion as if it were right.

It’s O.K. To Kill My Bison

JUST WHO “OWNS” MIGRATORY ANIMALS, ANYWAY?

bnc-02.jpgI just love the insidious tyranny of words used by the whiners and cheerleaders when it comes to the migratory animals that periodically reside in Yellowstone National Park.

When I read that Yellowstone’s bison are being slaughtered I wonder where this is taking place. When I read that one of Yellowstone’s grizzly bears was killed in Rigby, Idaho, I wonder when the park grew to such a large size. tractor.jpgWhen I read that Yellowstone’s wolves killed a domestic dog in Cameron, Montana, I wonder if I will have to pay an entrance fee to drive to Ennis.

Such balderdash is shameful. It’s understandable when whiners like bison advocates use the phrases – their job is inflammatory language. It’s unforgivable when scientists and journalists use the same phrasing. The wolves are not Yellowstone’s. The bison are not Yellowstone’s.

Our National Parks do not own the migratory animals that periodically visit them. Ducks, Geese, Trout, Elk, Wolves, Bison, etc. visit the parks and some are afforded sanctuary, protection, and solace. Some remain – some leave – some are caught and eaten.

head-on.jpgThe crux of the current situational argument about wildlife is “MANAGEMENT.” I enjoy seeing bison in Yellowstone. I enjoy seeing them on the road to Big Sky, Montana. I enjoy the elk and deer and cougars and ducks and geese on the same stretch of road. I would not enjoy bison in a head-on confrontation at 50 mph.

Wherever wildlife and people coexist, management of both must be considered. The current rants in the blogs and advocacy press are missing a significant and salient point. Bison management, in the recent past, has failed. Yellowstone National Park has failed to manage it’s elk and it’s bison, with a view to the very sustaining elements of these creatures, – the forage base

Of course the bison want out of the park! There is neither enough, nor the quality of forage to sustain the population that is artificially inflated by protection. The wolves have figured this out and are radiating outward from their original introduction sites. The elk have done it for years – much to the delight of hunters. Yellowstone should be pleased to see them leave.

In fact there are so many elk produced in the protected incubator of Yellowstone that some are on welfare in the Jackson, Wyoming area. Management by feeding is one way to insure piles of elk for the tourist industry. I doubt that it is good for the elk. This artificial crowding encourages the spread of disease and dependence on humans.

The bison need to be managed! Hazing the bison back into Yellowstone is a sham. If the bison want to leave, let them. AND, LET THEM BE MANAGED BY THE POPULATIONS THAT THEY VISIT. They do not belong to Yellowstone, nor do they belong to the whiners or the cheerleaders. The current interagency solution is a failure.

If Yellowstone National Park refuses to manage the byproducts of it’s incubation policy, the surrounding populations should accept the responsibility – after all, the federal bureaucracy is notorious for failure in most management endeavors.

What is the solution? It’s too simple to contemplate. Treat them in exactly the same way that other game animals are treated. Manage the population for sustainability and minimal destruction of private property.

Brucellosis could be a problem, but does not appear to be at the present. Elk have it and they are managed by areas surrounding Yellowstone. Bison management by Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming could be easily accomplished. Treat the bison as a threat to domestic livestock in the same way that wolves are treated. Remove them and the potential threat. Compensate ranchers just as is done with wolf kills. The wolves seem to be doing just fine with this solution. Some are killed – some are not. Let the bison cheerleaders put their money where there mouth is. Perhaps they could morph into the “Rocky Mountain Bison Foundation.”

The bison in this area are far from wild. A game animal approach would allow the poor critters to recapture their human avoidance behaviors. It would be better for them than their current wallflower status. Let them be wild and run from humans rather than pose for pictures. The pathetic bison that currently exist around here need a bit of pep.

cover.jpgFor those of you that truly believe that there is something unique about the bison of this region I suggest that you read NPS Scientific Monograph No. 1. This was a great start to a management strategy that was abandoned – sad, but true. Pay particular attention to chapter 3 and the history of the mingling of sub species and the current makeup of the herd. Also look at chapter 9 that began to deal with management. It might also be useful to visit chapter 5 and see the population characteristics. Remember that this monograph was written in 1973 – just as the population explosion was being anticipated. It’s a shame that whiners and cheerleaders and park managers refuse to read.

A series of bison reductions from 1961 through 1965 consistently removed a large number of breeding-age females. Records indicate that the reductions by field shooting of the mid-1950s also did this, as did some of the earlier removals at the Buffalo Ranch in Lamar (Table 9). Some population characteristics may change after a period without reductions. Data for all categories were not obtainable each year; hence, selected figures are used in some instances to suggest population conditions.

Yellowstone National Park has again failed to follow it’s own lead. Had the park administration finished what they started there would be fewer bison today, they would not have eaten the park to death, they would not be leaving the park in search of forage, and the “Brucellosis Scare” would be less. Of course the whiners and cheerleaders would then be screaming for more bison – pictures for the folks back home!

Yes, it’s O.K. to kill my bison. It should be O.K. to kill yours too. But the sad thing about it all, is that Yellowstone National Park has no friends. The native forage has no friends. The sustainable dynamic that is ecology has no friends. Only the bison and the bears and the trout and the other critters have friends. Well, ignorance is bliss.

A Few Quick Takes

I’M OVERWHELMED BY NEWS

dry-fly.jpgAs an anxiety killer, dry fly fishing ranks near the top. It’s fishing that requires Zen-like concentration tightly focussed upon threading a nearly invisible pin hole atop a hook deftly dressed as a fly, with a nearly transparent line and tying a minute but secure knot in it. The other portion of your time is spent a) getting into your ridiculous-looking gear b) casting as far and gently as possible to land your lure gently upon the water and then c) watching the river for an encouraging ripple signifying the presence of trout that are within your view but seemingly always out of reach.MAMACITA

polar.jpg‘I don’t want to live in permafrost no more.’Gristmill

Changes to agricultural practice and forestry management could cut greenhouse gas emissions, buying time to develop alternative technologies.Scientific American

Eye candy that’s melting fast.Gristmill

grizzly-muddler.jpg— There are a number of ungulate hairs suited to spun and clipped patterns but the best spinning hairs are coarse, spongy and soft. – Philip Rowley

Non-indigenous fish, introduced in the 18th century are taking over South African rivers and streams.Get Outdoors

palomarknot.gifThe Palomar Knot is a general-purpose fishing knot . . .Women Fishing

— By the End of the Century Half of All Species Will Be Gone. Who Will Survive? – RedOrbit

But a good barbera is the epitome of an elemental, honest red wine. It offers you fruit — lots of spicy cherry and raspberry flavors — and it doesn’t hurl w-vs-beer.jpgthem at you in some formless mass. Barbera is shaped by a bracing acidity. It’s got a bite, a burr, that makes the fruit incisive and refreshing.Eric Asimov / New York Times

. . . a Gallup poll revealed that, for the first time ever, Americans preferred wine to beer. This was an astonishing development, akin to Americans jilting baseball for bocce.Slate

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The Brucellocis/Bison/Cattle Industry/Yellowstone/Montana PROBLEM continues to make news on many fronts, (go to Yellowstone Newspaper for the stories – both the lewd and the lucid.) One element that has not been addressed is the fact that as the planet warms and Yellowstone becomes a bit more bison-friendly environment; the population of these habituated beasties will grow to the point of destruction. whine.gifIf all the bison that have been killed in the last five years had been allowed to mature and reproduce there would be no grass left in the park.

The whiners have tamed Yellowstone and provided us with wolves that peer into car windows, bears that approach humans, coyotes that beg for food, and bison that proliferate without predation. The bison situation is far larger that the slaughter of a few poor babies. It is the problem of a sentiment gone rampant. Don’t dare ask the cheerleaders what would happen to the park if bison were left to their own protected devices.

Where are the whiners at Wind Cave National Park? Did you know that bison management has worked there and that roundups and culling continue? Did you know that there are some sane managers in the NPS?

 

“The park holds a roundup annually to monitor the health of the herd and to manage herd size for available forage,” said Superintendent Linda L. Stoll.

The wolves have done wonders with some of the elk herd – where’s the “TRADITIONAL” bison predators? Where is the sane management? Ahhh, I get it: publicity, not a care for the park.

water-buffalo.jpg

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