Nap Time For Yellowstone Bears, But Others Still Awake

Brodie Farquhar muses about hibernation and and two recent stories about it.

Nap Time For Yellowstone Bears, But Others Still Awake. New West

He wishes he could talk to Yellowstone grizzly biologists to see if warming is causing the bears to hibernate for shorter periods. I don’t know, but I do know that the availability of wolf kills of winter weakened bison in the Pelican has resulted in the bears coming out early to share and often take the kills from Mollies Pack.

We helped fund the Pelican late winter study for a couple years.

If the availability of food wakes them up, then I would think that warming will have, and probably has had, the same effect.

Posted in Bears, Yellowstone wolves. Comments Off on Nap Time For Yellowstone Bears, But Others Still Awake

USDA accepts Idaho’s roadless area plan

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Secretary has accepted Gov. Jim Risch’s plan for the 9.3 milion acres of national forest roadless area in Idaho. It is now slated to be become part of the Code of Federal Regulations.

While such a regulation is not as hard to change as a law passed by Congress (as designated Wilderness areas must be), it is very difficult to alter such a rule. My guess is that Risch’s plan will put a strongly direct the general management of this huge swatch of roadless areas, the most national forest roadless area of any state.

On the surface Risch’s plan doesn’t look that bad, especially compared to states like Utah. Only 500,000 acres would be open for permanent road building and logging. Of course, you have to consider why Idaho has 9.3-million acres of roadless area — the land is generally steep, rocky, too cold, too arid, and/or too inferile to manage for timber production. Even in the past, most of the national forest timber sales south of the Salmon River (which flows east to west across the middle of Idaho) lost money, i.e., were taxpayer-subdized timber sales.

The plan essentially alows no development of 3.1 million acres. Temporary road-building could take place 5.5 million acres, under rules that would allow entry for “forest health.” It should not noted that “forest health” and activities that foster it or prevent unhealth have no objective standard. So those 5.5-million acres may or may not be protected. My guess is that future politics will determine that as well as appropriations to the Forest Service. Whenever there is a bad forest fire season, there tends to be a lot of talk about forest health.

Story in the Idaho Statesman. AP. Here is a link to Idaho’s plan http://gov.idaho.gov/roadless_petition.html

Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson to take new route on wilderness bill (CIEDRA)

Here is an analysis of what it may take to get the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Area bill through the new Democratic congress.

They are worrying that Custer County might jump ship, but I’d say for every bit given to Custer County (unless it is money) more needs to be given to conservationists. A designated Wilderness isn’t enough (unless maybe if it is huge).

There is also the misperception that Custer County means the county seat of Challis and the Custer County commissioners, but I think the opinion of folks in Stanley (which doesn’t take back seat to Challis anymore) counts too.

Story in the Idaho Falls Post Register.  Corey Taule