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Conservation News Story Archive March - April 2000

4-30-2000 Public remarks urge less grazing in Grand Teton. Billings Gazette. To all of your who responded to my alert on this issue, thanks for helping this happen.
5-1-2000. Senator Thomas says development could cost Porter family its GTNP  grazing rights. Billings Gazette.  I guess I owe Senator Thomas an apology.  I thought his open space act that extended the grazing leases of the Porter/Gill and Hansen/Mead families in GTNP was just a bit of extra gravy, but perhaps the law will be enforced.  If they  subdivide they won't be allowed to continue to threaten wildlife with their Park cattle.
4-29-2000 Idaho employer gets largest-ever sentence for an environmental crime. CNN
4-28-2000 Ban on Snowmobiles Doesn't Include Yellowstone. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. 2 strokes and you’re out Feds announce a near-ban on snowmobile use in parks By JOE KOLMAN Gazette Bozeman Bureau. In truth, it's the snowmobile industry that's the selfish party. West Yellowstone is the only town around Yellowstone that depends on snowmobiling, and that is overrated. Recently 3 businesspeople from West went to D.C. to lobby against snowmobiles.
4-26-2000 Park service to move to limit park snowmobiles in many national parks. Billings Gazette. This is wonderful news.  Of course, there will be a big political battle now, with snowmobile manufacturers out in force.
4-25-2000 Hurless has change of heart on lost calf compensation; wants compensation to buy wolf collars. Billings Gazette. Idaho ranchers Curt Hurless and John Aldous attended the recent North American Interagency Wolf Conference in Chico, Montana.  It is to their credit that they attended, and in the case of Hurless events must have changed his views a bit. 
4-23-2000 "Amber Waves of Gain"  Defenders Releases White Paper on the Farm Bureau.
4-7-2000 FEDERAL CHARGES: Still more illegal snowmobiling -- 4 Cody snowmobilers must appear in Missoula court. By Michael Milstein. Gazette Wyoming Bureau.  This is the third such arrest this winter, and many more have gone undetected.  It is probably time for a prison sentence. This time the scofflaws were in the Beartooth Wilderness north of Cooke City, Montana.

4-22-2000 Beartooth Wilderness snowmobilers plead innocent. Billings Gazette.

4-21-2000 Yellowstone's West Entrance road opens for summer season today.
4-21-2000 Wolf story in Spain is much like this area’s` by Michael Milstein. Billings Gazette.
4-21-2000 Judge says "no" to massive Duck Creek Development. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Hopefully this will spell the end to one of the most destructive projects ever proposed adjacent to Yellowstone.
4-19-2000 Opinion By John Baden  "Roadless land, the capital of the New West" Bozeman Daily Chronicle. By "capital" Baden means resources of economic value, in this case leaving them in their undeveloped state of nature.  The essay by Ed Marston, to which Baden refers is "Beyond the Revolution," in High Country News.  I wouldn't be so sure about this declaration of victory.  A George W. administration with Secretary of Interior Larry Craig, Secretary of Agriculture Marc Racicot, and Forest Service Chief Helen Chenoweth could do much to destroy the livelihood of economy and environment of the New West before they are tossed.  In all of Bush's statements about Western environmental issues so far, it is obvious his thinking is that of Larry Craig, etc. -- straight out of the 1950s.
4-18-2000 Yellowstone Park: formal study reveals extent of bison danger to humans By MICHAEL MILSTEIN Gazette Wyoming Bureau. Bison have injured more than twice as many as grizzly bears.
4-18-2000 Elko County, Nevada,  imposes hiring, wage freeze due to shortfall. Las Vegas Sun.  I have said in the past that the shovel brigade and the battle over the dirt road were diversionary tactics to take folks' mind off the real problem -- the boom and bust nature of mining.  Unfortunately, the great dirt road battle aggravated the county's tax problems. 
4-17-2000

4-19-2000

Will President Clinton Establish a Great Rift National Monument in Idaho? Post Register.
My commentary on this (brief article and update 4-18).
Yet another national monument possibility. National Monument Status Favored: Poll backs Missouri Breaks protection By Jim Gransberry of the Billings Gazette Staff
4-16-2000 Central Idaho residents debate return of the wolf to Idaho: pro and con. Idaho Mountain Express.
4-16-2000 Protesters stay away from Libby rally in droves By MICHAEL JAMISON Of The Missoulian. Despite the rally's cancellation a few protestors showed up for the great anti-government rally. See links to earlier stories below at April 2. Libby Demonstrations Turn into Roadside Griping. Spokane Spokesman Review.
4-16-2000 Backcountry ski yurt torched by arson north of Ketchum, Idaho. Here are several stories  from the Idaho Mountain Express (Ketchum).
4-16-2000 Big Sky Resort says it won't ever dump directly into Gallatin River. Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Scott McMillion.
4-15-2000 Clinton setting aside 327,000-acre sequoia tract in California. CNN. Clinton Creates Monument To Protect Giant Sequoias. Washington Post. President Clinton continues to be the best conservation President since Theodore Roosevelt.  He has created a large new national monument to protect the giant sequoia country of California's Sierras.  Now if some of his action would only rub off on erstwhile environmentalist Al Gore, not to mention the "suit" from Texas.
4-15-2000 Westslope cutthroat trout doesn't merit endangered species listing by Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
4-14-2000

Wolf-dog hybrids killed at Sun Valley, Idaho area ranches: By Greg Moore. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer. Because this sheep depredation took place at the mouth of the Big Wood River Valley where a dispersing wolf recently killed an elk, it had been feared this was a wolf depredation. 

4-10-2000 Madison River is recovering from whirling disease, experts say. Billings Gazette.
4-10-2000 Committee at impasse over ending Grand Teton National Park grazing. Billings Gazette.  The failure to end livestock grazing in GTNP is one of the most dangerous to and frustrating features of Yellowstone ecosystem grizzly bear and wolf recovery. This is an issue folks should really pay attention to. There will probably be wolves and bears killed this summer so that this cowboy theme park near Moran Junction can continue. I plan to be writing a lot more about this issue this year. Let's hope the Teton Pack female, no. 24F doesn't den again near Elk Ranch Res. near Moran Jct.
4-9-2000 Proposed Montana/Dakotas ATV ban taken off 'fast track...December new target for EIS completion. This proposal would have eliminated the cross country use of ATVs, but would have grandfathered all the destructive and damaging hill climbs these drivers have made, many in some of the most scenic country in America.  Now they will have one more summer for uncontrolled ripping and roaring. 
 4-6-2000 Parks in peril: Yellowstone heads the list. ENN News.
4-5-2000 Another group of illegal wilderness-riding snowmobilers gets into trouble (and get arrested). Billings Gazette. This time the scofflaws were in the Gros Ventre Wilderness east of Jackson, WY. 
4-2-2000 Anti-government April 15 Rally in Libby, Montana is Canceled. Spokane Spokesman Review. This protest was so absurd and unlikely that I hadn't covered its announcement last month; and not surprisingly, it's now cancelled.  My guess is the organizes of the rally understood that if anyone showed up, it would be more counter-protesters than UN flag burners.  The High Country News did a story on it too: Montana taxpayers revolt is just another Western whine. Writers on the Range by Steve Thompson.
3-29-2000 Pence: Probe of worker harassment sad but not surprising Sandra Chereb. AP.Las Vegas Sun.  Pence was a U.S. Forest Service district ranger in Nevada. Someone tried to twice to bomb him.  One time they almost got his family. 
3-29-2000 The last wild river: The Yellowstone River survived the era of dams, but can it survive riprap? by Alan S. Kesselheim. Published in High Country News 3-17.  Actually, the Salmon River in Idaho is also a completely undammed river, but the importance of Kesselheim's article is not affected by that small error.
3-29-2000 DOT Pushes for lower speed in Gallatin Canyon by John Miller. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. US 191 through the winding, narrow Gallatin Canyon has been an incredible death trap for people and wild animals including about a half dozen wolves.
3-28-2000 Politicos Show Shameful Disrespect for the Law over Yellowstone snowmobiles.  by Todd Wilkinson. Bozeman Daily Chronicle
3-27-2000 EPA stands firm in opposition to Yellowstone snowmobiles. Billings Gazette.
3-25-2000 Debate over winter park use turns political. Billings Gazette. Apparently some of these local politicians think they can win nationally make making "Keep Yellowstone winter's full of snowmobiles" a national issue. March 26 Other snowmobile news: Snowmobiler investigated following accident in Bob Marshall Wilderness. Billings Gazette. 
3-24-2000 From both sides: Should grizzly bears return to Idaho's Bitterroot Mountains? Spokane Spokesman-Review
Don't limit bears to critter ghettos
Grizzlies make lethal neighbors
3-24-2000 Scant Support for "Great Western Trail" through Idaho and Montana. by Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.  This is good news.  This is one of the those "multiple use trails" which means "ATV trail" where other uses are allowed as long as they don't get in the way of the machines.  This pork barrel trail would open up new territory to these increasing destructive and lawless riders.  Send an e-message against the Great Western ATV Trail. It seems to be dying, now lets make sure it's dead.
3-22-2000 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Canada Lynx Listed as Threatened. by Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.. This ESA listing has been a long time coming, and very controversial. Most of impact both in helping the lynx and also the restrictions will come in Rocky Mountains of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming; and  Washington State's Cascade Mountains.  USFWS website on the listing of the lynx.
3-21-2000 Printed 3-19-2000. Where I Stand -- Mike O'Callaghan: A letter that tells all.  Mike O'Callaghan is the Las Vegas Sun's executive editor. The editor speaks out against the Elko extremism..  Here is the original story on the Elko County District Attorney's Letter. Las Vegas Review-Journal  3-9-2000
3-21-2000 Yellowstone area grizzly sightings rise as Spring arrives. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
3-20-2000 Why do we need the rural West? by Hal Rothman. Writers on the Range. High Country News. Given the fact that entire wolf packs are wiped out for single ranchers, while we urban Westerners get no attention at all from the western politicians, I like this article.  I should note that there is a group of conservationists who are willing to do about anything to please the ranchers in order to preserve open space.  Is it worth it? Isn't there a better way? And why can't we have a better myth than that of the cowboy?
3-19-2000 Old Habits Die Hard: Ranchers' Use of Poison Worries [Utah] Officials by Brian Maffly,  Salt Lake Tribune.   This incident took place in what will probably be wolf country in three or four years. The indiscriminate poisoning by ranchers was ended by Richard Nixon in 1972.  It has persisted in some places, however. Utah has been especially problematic.
3-18-2000 World Snowmobile Expo in West Yellowstone this weekend. Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Scott McMillion.  I have been skeptical about the commitment the snowmobile industry has to the "green" machine, which might be acceptable for use in Yellowstone.  This snowmobile expo confirms my suspicions.
3-17-2000 Idaho Watersheds Project files ESA petition for listing of the mountain quail. 
3-17-2000 Montana ballot measure seeks an end to game farming.  Commercial big-game shooting preserves would also be banned. By Daryl Gadbow of the Missoulian. This citizen initiative is very important to the future of wildlife in Montana and the West. I hope some folks reading this lend some financial support to the measure; or if in Montana, help carry petitions.
3-17-2000 Team of scientists at Yellowstone studies effects of wolves on elk By MICHAEL MILSTEIN Gazette Wyoming Bureau
3-16-2000 National Forest Logging Bad Business, study shows. ENN
3-15-2000 A Monument to Failure. Editorial by the  Post Register.  This is an incredible editorial to read in an Idaho newspaper.  It is actually suggested that a monument to failure be erected inscribed with the names of the Idaho politicians who drove the salmon to extinction.
3-14-2000 Yellowstone may move from winter plowing proposal to snowmobile phase out. by Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.  Park leans toward rejecting snowmobiles, official says By MICHAEL MILSTEIN Gazette Wyoming Bureau. This is great news!!
3-12-2000 Salmon vs. dam: the Snake debate rushes on. ENN News. Here is a much more detailed article about the support for salmon at the Twin Falls, Idaho hearing.
3-12-2000 An end of a legacy - Idaho's last active gold mine set to shut down. By Candace Burns. Post Register.
3-11-2000 Idaho to get new grizzly population: Reintroduction plan opposed by Gov. Kempthorne. By Dan Gallagher. The Associated Press
3-10-2000 Environmental groups study noise levels in park. by Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Conservationists: Snowmobile noise drowns out natural sounds in park By Jennifer Langston. Post-Register. Yellowstone study bolsters snowmobile noise concerns By Jim Hughes Denver Post Staff Writer
3-9-2000 Yellowstone's Visitors Unable to Escape Snowmobile Noise. Sound Survey Monitors 13 Sites Old Faithful Tops Noise List with Snowmobiles Audible 100 Percent of the Time. News release from Greater Yellowstone Coalition. .
3-8-2000 Idaho Falls weighs in on saving salmon - Dam breaching, irrigation flows biggest topics at public meeting. by Jennifer Langston. Post Register.  The strong public support for breaching the four salmon-killing dams on the lower Snake River in Washington state continued in Idaho Falls, Idaho last night, March 7.  The finally tally for testimony was 67 for breaching and 17 against.  This last folks testified at 12:30 a.m.  I gave my testimony at about 11:15 p.m.  Almost all of the testimony in favor of the dams was from Eastern Idaho irrigators who weren't really so much in favor of these Washington state dams, but afraid that their breaching would somehow result in a federal call for water from Eastern Idaho reservoirs -- water that would no longer be available for irrigation.  Most salmon advocates argued just the opposite -- failure to breach would be what would prompt the call for upstream, huge quantities of water to stir up a small current in the four stagnant pools behind the 4 salmon-killing dams.
3-6-2000 Forest Service Announces New Roads Policy. Environmental News Network. After 14 months the U.S. Forest Service has announced its policy to greatly reduce the construction of new roads and take care of the important roads it has.  This policy is open to public comment until May. 2.
3-5-2000 Park's Candor Admired. Opinion Billings Gazette.
3-2-2000 Park must obey EPA, Yellowstone Superintendent says.  Billings Gazette.  It should have been obvious from the start that having a controllable source of emission that made our first national park as dirty as polluted cities in the winter was no going to pass legal muster.  Yellowstone is finally heading the right direction, and hopefully the snowmobile in the Park will become a bad story from the past.
3-1-2000 Snowmobiles vs. Skiers. Editorial by the Idaho Mountain Express. The link to the editorial is the opinion of the Mountain Express, but my advice to the skiers is no compromise. The leaders of the snowmobiles can't be trusted.  I've worked out deals and compromises with them and off road vehicle groups in the past. The leaders don't keep their word, and an agreement with them is not worth the paper it's written on. 

Yellowstone to end snowmobile season in early March.

3-1-2000 Elk feeding finally gets under way at National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole. Billings Gazette.  It has been a mild winter, and this is a late start. Moreover, the number of elk on the Refuge is comparatively low.

Conservation News Stories in Western Wolf Country
Archive 

March - April  2000


Please be aware that not all articles and links will be working as some of the sources do not keep archives.  

The comments about each story are mine -- RM

Ralph Maughan's Wildlife Reports


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