Central Idaho elk, pride of the state

A small part of a herd of 300 or so elk on Ayers Meadow in the Frank Church Wilderness in July, Central Idaho. This has always been great elk country, but several years ago cattle grazing in the drainage was bought out, so now these public lands have more elk than ever. Idaho –mule and white-tailed deer, moose, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, lynx, wolverine, pronghorn antetope, wolves, cougar , bobcats, black and grizzly bears, and a state where the public owns more than 60% of the land.

Don’t let the privatizers, the political dividers, or the industrial interests ever take it away from you. Elk on Ayers Meadow-Frank Church Wilderness

Posted in Elk. 6 Comments »

Column: Due West by Dan Whipple. The Wolf’s At the Door

This is a good column (published in New West). It doesn’t give any side of the issue a free pass, and is one of the first I have seen that looks carefully at Governor Freudenthal’s contradictory statements about wolves and big game.

Freudenthal’s fundamental view of wolves: “This raises the interesting question of whether any packs outside Yellowstone in Wyoming are even necessary.” In other words, “we don’t want ‘em.”  Here it is, the classic view of part of Wyoming that Yellowstone should be, as I interpret it, a “prison for wild country.”

The Wolf’s at the Door. New West. By Dan Whipple.

Feds move forward on delisting Idaho wolves (story from Wood River Valley newspaper)

This is from the Idaho Mountain Express. Hunting season specifics will not be nailed down for several months. By Steve Benson.

There is also a LTE by Lynne Stone in this issue of the Mountain Express. “Get Wolf Facts Straight.”

Idaho Legislators may tinker with elk ranching laws

Legislators may tinker with elk ranching laws. By Roger Phillips.

I was talking with a leader in a major sportsman organization the other night. He said the Idaho legislature was likely to do nothing of importance to restore fair chase hunting in Idaho, and he was talking ballot initiative to solve the problem the way sportsmen did in Montana about 6 years ago.

Posted in Elk, politics, privatization. Comments Off on Idaho Legislators may tinker with elk ranching laws

New York Times editorial: Mixed News for Wolves

The country’s most influential newspaper has weighed in on the mixed message of the wolf delisting.  Mixed News for Wolves

Scientists Criticize White House Stance on Climate Change Findings

The Democrats have held their first of undoubtedly many oversight hearings on how the Bush Administration is, well, administering the laws. This is a basic role of Congress that was suppressed during the last 6 years of Republican congressional rule (the minority party in Congress can’t call hearings). Story in New York Times (you can google for many more accounts of what went on)

Republicans on the committee appear to also be distancing themselves from this increasing unpopular presidency.

Note: this is so odd. It is almost like the presidency was a separate government, rather than a separate part of the U.S. government.

Posted in Climate change. Comments Off on Scientists Criticize White House Stance on Climate Change Findings

Utah wolves are in line to lose protection in the delisting

Technically there aren’t any wolves in Utah, although there really are probably a few in northern Utah. Nevertheless, Northern Utah was included in the Northern Rockies wolf delisting.

So was Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington. All these places would highly likely to see wolf in-migration.

I can see only one reason for this — it’s to prevent the recolonization of any adjacent Western States by wolves.

Article in the Salt Lake Tribune. Utah wolves are in line to lose protection. But technically there aren’t any. By Joe Baird

Wolves alter elk hunting in Wyoming

Story in the Caspter Star Tribune by Whitney Royster.

Note that “altering elk hunting” is not the same as reducing the number of elk. This article takes pains to stress that.

A lot of the complaint from some elk hunters is that they have to adapt to new conditions, and learning new techniques of hunting is hard and they don’t want to do that. In other words, they have no pride in being a hunter. Maybe it’s one more case of spreading mediocrity in American society.

Wyoming’g governor backs up these hard-to-change hunters, although at other times he seems to forget what he said last and again claims the elk have just about been wiped out.

Plan to delist wolves still faces obstacles

Plan to delist wolves still faces obstacles. Legal challenges could delay federal proposalto give control to Idaho and Montana by year’s end. By Rocky Barker – Idaho Statesman.

Here the story as told by Idaho’s largest newspaper

Wisconsin Ag Connection says rural groups react positively to removing wolf protections

Wisconsin Ag News Headlines. Rural Groups React Positively to Removing Wolf Protections

What an informative article. It says “rural groups” and then speaks of the Safari Club and the Bear Association. Only the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association seems rural to me. It tells us that the wolf herd in Wisconsin is 500 animals. Wolf “herd?”

It also says “2,700 head of cattle killed by predators like wolves and coyotes.” How about separating them out? How many by wolves, how many by coyote? How many by dog, etc.

Finally, how many of the “cattle” were really calves?

In the Rockies, [whitebark] Pines Die and Bears Feel It

Here is a good article on the dieoff of whitebark pine and grizzly bears.

In the Rockies, Pines Die and Bears Feel It. New York Times. By Charles Petit.

Posted in Bears. 2 Comments »

Ten year cougar study in Montana winds down

It is expected that lots of data has been collected that will allow management more by science and less by barroom and rumor from coffee at the diner.

Story in the Billings Gazette. AP

It seems that people can think more rationally about cougars than they can about wolves.

When it comes to wolves, the job is not done (from Sinapu)

Federal wolf plan turns a blind eye to the law and stewardship of the species

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE • January 29, 2007
For more information contact: Rob Edward | 303.447.8655 ext. 2#

Boulder, CO – Despite being protected by federal law for over 30 years, gray wolves in the lower forty-eight states presently occupy less than five percent of their historic range.

Read the rest at the Sinapu blog (they are in Colorado).

Interior Department Announces Delisting of Western Great Lakes Wolves and Proposed Delisting of Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves

As expected, today the Department of Interior announced the proposed delisting of wolves in Idaho and Montana, but not Wyoming because of their failure to come up with an adequate wolf conservation plan.

Flat-out delisting of wolves in the Great Lakes States was announced.

Here is the news release wolfnrs012907.pdf

Update 1-30-2007. Feds to delist wolves. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Gov. Schweitzer Hears From Montanans Opposed To Bison Policies

Gov. Schweitzer Hears From Montanans Opposed To Bison Policies. Residents, Hunters, and Bison Advocates Communicate Distaste with Current Bison Management.

Here is the latest news from the Buffalo Field Campaign.

HELENA, MONTANA. Montana residents from Yellowstone’s gateway communities in Gardiner and West Yellowstone, along with hunters and members of Buffalo Field Campaign, will meet with Governor Brian Schweitzer at 2:30 this afternoon to discuss their objections to Montana’s bison hunt and the current management of Yellowstone bison.

The meeting coincides with Montana’s unveiling of the state’s new quarter, featuring the skull of a bison. “The new quarter is appropriate for Montana under the Schweitzer administration,” said Mike Mease of the wild bison advocacy group Buffalo Field Campaign. “A bison skull is the perfect symbol for a state whose policies favor dead bison over live bison. We were hopeful that Schweitzer would uphold the promises on which he was elected,” Mease added, “but under his watch nearly every buffalo to enter Montana has been killed.” Read the rest of this entry »

Climate change likely to be worse than even forthcoming pessimistic report

WASHINGTON (AP) — Later this week in Paris, climate scientists will issue a dire forecast for the planet that warns of slowly rising sea levels and higher temperatures. But that may be the sugarcoated version. USA Today.

Now that even George Bush is conceding there is global warming, and a “conclusive” report to be out next week, many scientists think even that is not pessimistic enough because of the sudden increased melting of the Greenland ice cap and changes in Antarctica.

Serious people who are willing to read though some difficult material will find much more on climate change on the popular blog Real Climate, where climatetologists discuss the matter rather than radio talk show hosts.

Wisconsin anti-wolf resorting to fables

Some anti-wolf folks in Wisconsin are showing their contempt for the public’s intelligence by producing this TV commercial . . . Red Riding Hood

I suppose “The Three Pigs” are next.  There seems to be no level they won’t stoop to in trying to exploit primitive emotions.

Crying wolf

Crying wolf. By Tony Vagneur. The Aspen Times News (CO)

Tony Vagneur discusses how some “Idaho ranchers exemplify fear” and how others use fear to perform political manipulation.

Mexican Gray Wolf Numbers Are Dangerously Low. Only Six Breeding Pairs Cling To Life In The Wild

Although the recovery of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies has been pretty successful, recovery of the smaller, sub-species Mexican Gray Wolf in Arizona and New Mexico, has been poor.

Ten years after they began to be reintroduced, there are only 6 breeding pairs in the two states, and as the article below states, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may be counting breeding pairs in a way that exaggerates the numbers.

The Service announced that at the end of 2006 there were 59 Mexican wolves and 6 breeding pairs. The 59 is, however, an improvement over last year when they estimated only 35 to 49 wolves in the wild. Back in 1996, the Service estimated that by now (ten years) there would be 18 pairs, rather than just 6 pairs.

The reasons for the lack of success are obvious. The most important is that the wolves are restricted to an artificial box of rugged country on the Arizona/New Mexico border and are not allowed to spread out as the Northern Rockies wolves were. There is not enough room in the box for very many packs, and the Service keeps trapping those that leave to re-imprison them in this administrative box consisting of nothing but lines on a map. In the process of reboxing the wolves, this year 8 wolves were unintentionally killed in events related to their capture.

Article Mexican Gray Wolf Numbers Are Dangerously Low. E-wire.

Sportsmen Unite To Save Wyoming Range

The Wyoming Range is a beautiful and wildlife-rich mountain range in SW Wyoming. Some folks might think this storyline might be a reference to rangeland in the state of Wyoming. No it is the name of a mountain range 70 miles long and about 25 miles wide.

At the headwaters of Lunch Creek and the Roaring Fork near the top to the
Wyoming Range, looking east. Although they are hard to see, there are about
a hundred elk in the big meadow. Copyright Ralph Maughan

“Sportsmen” groups have formed a coalition to fend off the natural gas industry, trying now to move its rigs up off the floor of the Green River Basin into the scenic and landslide prone mountains to the West.

Brodie Farquhar has an article about the coalition in New West. Sportsmen Unite To Save Wyoming Range.

Notice that the group “Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife-Wyoming” is not inside the coalition. These are the guys who want to feed elk, shoot wolves, and don’t seem to care much for public lands. They have counterpart organizations in Idaho, Utah, and now New Mexico. They saddle up with the extractive industries.

That brings us to the wolf controversy. I think I am beginning to understand the furious push to suddenly demonize the wolf and so, stir the pot — this is a way for the extractive industries from petroleum to mining, and public land grazing to split the sudden formation of coalition between hunters, anglers, conservationists, labor unions, etc. They can remain in the background and let groups with Orwellian names, like “Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife,” divert attention and coalition building with an emotional issue that is actually of small consequence compared to the wholesale rape of the land that is taking place.

This tactic used to be called a “red herring,” although to younger and more urban folks it may be a lost referent.

Gray wolves to leave endangered list

Gray wolves to leave endangered list. By Matthew Brown. AP

The Department of Interior is announcing the delisting of the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies and will do so soon in the Great Lakes.

Normally the recovery of an endangered species is a cause for celebration, and that’s because normally the states don’t then quickly announce a “hunting season” to greatly reduce the numbers of the the species that was listed because its numbers were too low. The Bald Eagle is being removed from the list, and no one is proposing a hunting season on it.

Unfortunately, with the wolf, all those old ideas dragged out of Europe in the 15th century, and hanging over in parts of the West from the 1890s, are still present. These are the very same ideas that put the wolf close the extermination in the first place.

Probably the best think people can do around the country right now, is to contact their member of Congress and complain. It really is a new Congress, and people with a different attitude are in charge. They should also call, email or write to their state governors and letters to the newspapers. I think ballot initiatives may be in order. It is hard to get enough names, but if there is money behind an initiative in many states getting it on the ballot is almost guaranteed. I would not be surprised if some wealthy people step forward and offer to help.

New article on the delisting to be formally announced on Monday. Wolf Delisting Plan Due Next Week. By Bill Schneider. New West.

Idea for a Montana wolf compensation board praised.

Montana legislature is thinking of setting up a Montana wolf compensation board. All verified losses so far have been covered by Defenders of Wildlife privately.

They suggest allocating $200,000. That’s probably about twice what they will need a year (unless that includes administration).

Meanwhile, Defenders continues to compensate. My view is that they should stop in Idaho, given the attitude of Fish and Game Comission and the governor’s office. It buys no goodwill, and wolf opponents almost always neglect to mention Defenders’ compensation. . . . . Just my opinion, I am not even a member.

Story in the Billings Gazette. AP

Wolves, women’s sports not worth much says ID Fish & Game Commission Chief as wolf tag fee is set

Boise. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission met today amidst an audience dominated by wolf supporters, but no public comments were allowed.

They set a price of $26.50 for a wolf tag. In explaining the low fee for the tag the commission chair said that wolves may not ever generate money, “kinda like women’s sports.”

The commissioners were debating whether they could make money off of selling wolf tags, and the chair said that’s a hook that we could somehow. . because I don’t ever see this critter ever being like some of our big game where it pays its own way. It’s kinda like women’s sports you know. You need football to kinda pay the bill.”

Update. Thanks to Brian Ertz, here is a video of the sexist commissioner’s comment on You Tube. The person speaking is Jim Caswell, head of the governor’s Office of Species Conservation. The species office is, according to some displacing the Idaho Fish and Game Commission. It being yet another forum for the extractive industry. The voice in background is Cameron Wheeler, head of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.

There will be ten “commissioner’s tags” reserved. These will be special wolf tags for the commissioners.

Below is the news release from the Idaho Dept. and Fish and Game. The release does not mention that a special “governor’s tag” was also established.

Before any hunting can take place, the Idaho Legislature must change the law and the wolf must be delisted. The delisting rule will appear in the Federal Register on Monday, next week.

Here is the news release from Idaho Fish and Game.

News Release
Contact: Niels Nokkentved

For Immediate Release

Wolf Report: Planning for Wolf Hunts

If changes in state law, recommended by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission, are enacted by the state Legislature, it would cost $26.50 for a tag to hunt wolves in Idaho once they are removed from the endangered species list.

The Commission will ask the Legislature to change state statutes to allow the commission to authorize wolf hunts, so if wolves are removed from the endangered species list the department would be prepared to set hunts and sell tags. The federal government has said it plans to initiate the delisting process this month. An actual hunting season on wolves could be months or years away depending on the outcome of that process.

Commissioners Thursday, January 25, approved recommended changes to three statutes that would authorize the commission to issue tags and set fees. The commissioners also agreed to ask for up to 10 special commissioners’ wolf tags, and to set the price of a resident wolf tag at $26.50 and a nonresident tag at $256.

Hunters also must purchase an Idaho hunting license.

In addition, the commissioners proposed an increase in the price of black bear and mountain lion tags to make them the same amount as wolf tags, and the same amount as lion tags were until 2000 – $26.50 for resident tags and $256 for nonresident tags.

For the changes to be approved this year in time for the possibility of wolf delisting this fall, the proposed changes must be submitted as proposed legislation by early February.

Meanwhile, Fish and Game officials are working on a wolf hunting and species management plan under the guidelines of the Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan that would reduce wolf numbers in areas of conflict and try to stabilize numbers across the rest of the state.

Any hunting seasons must be approved by the commissioners.

Large carnivore coordinator Steve Nadeau has assembled a planning team that includes the Fish and Game wildlife staff members and wolf specialist. The public will be involved at various levels throughout the planning process.

Fish and Game officials expect to have a final plan for hunting delisted wolves in Idaho ready for Commission approval in November.

Idaho has never had a hunting season on wolves. They were killed off across most of their range in the lower 48 states by the early 1900s. By the time they were listed as an endangered species in 1974, they were reduced to a small population in the northeastern corner of Minnesota and Isle Royale, Michigan.

In 1995, a federal reintroduction program brought 35 wolves to Idaho. Today, officials estimate about 650 wolves in 71 packs, and 41 or more breeding pairs inhabit Idaho.


01-25-06 Read the rest of this entry »

Wildlife Advocates Seek Ban on 2 Poisons

This story is from the Sinapu blog.

Although the new effort to ban sodium cyanide and sodium monofluoroacetate is primarily motived by their dangers to non-target wildlife, pets, and people who get in the way, terrorists could hardly do better than get hold of the sodium cyanide capsules that are used in baited ejectors or sodium fluoroacetate (Compound 1080) used in sheep and goat collars.

There terrible tasteless and odorless poisons have long been controversial, and off and on since the terrorist attacks folks have tried to get them banned. A new petition to ban them has been filed with the EPA. They are distributed by the federal agency misnamed “Wildlife Services.”

In a true “war on terror” the demise of these chemicals would seem obvious, but except for maybe the first year, its been obvious to me that Bush’s “war on terror” is primarily an initiative to accomplish domestic Administration political objectives such as surveillance of the population, massive expenditures to political allies, intimidation, and hardly a defense against real terrorists at all.

Whitebark pine beetles continue to chew away on Yellowstone forests

Various pine beetles are attacking pines all over North America with an extraordinary vengeance. In Yellowstone the high valued whitebark pine, which grows, and grows but slowly, at high elevations continues under attack.

This pine is especially valuable to grizzly bears who eat its fat rich nuts in the fall to fatten up. In years when the nut crop is plentiful, there are usually far fewer grizzly incidents because the bears are at high altitude, generally on public lands and away from the large majority of people.

 Beetle unleashes voracious appetite. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette.

Posted in Bears, national parks, Trees Forests, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Whitebark pine beetles continue to chew away on Yellowstone forests

The [Idaho] hills are alive with elk. Monarchs of the mountains roam highlands because of easy winter.

This article appeared today in the Idaho Mountain Express. It’s just another example that the elk herds are doing fine. I also hear the elk at Stanley are both fat and thick in numbers as well as up and down the Salmon River Canyon
The hills are alive with elk. Monarchs of the mountains roam highlands because of easy winter. Idaho Mountain Express. By Jason Kauffman Express Staff Writer

Posted in Elk. 2 Comments »

Let Science Dictate Wolf Decisions.

Posted in Delisting, Wolves. Comments Off on Let Science Dictate Wolf Decisions.

Wyoming writes new wolf legislation, now it’s even worse than their orginal rejected plan.

Once the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicated they would negotiate with  Wyoming and maybe accept some version of the state’s wolf management plan, Wyoming politicians began to quibble, and now the Wyoming State Senate has written a wolf plan that wouldn’t even protect wolves in designated Wilderness areas next to Yellowstone. It’s Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, the prisons for nature that Wyoming’s backward politicians have always wanted.

Of course, I have generally thought Wyoming never wanted to really mange wolves. They want wolves to be a continuous contentious issue to stir folks up and blind them while somebody robs the store.

Here is the story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Bill stalks wolf packs. Legislation could lead to animal being considered a predator in wilderness. By Noah Brenne. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

136 wolves at year’s end in Yellowstone Park.

Wolf population figures are in for 2006 for Yellowstone Park. Ten breeding pairs, 136 wolves, and 13 packs were identified after intensive observations.

It is fascinating to compare this year’s figures with the past.

The wolf population in the Park peaked in 2003 with 174 wolves. At the end of 2004 the population was essentially the same, 171 wolves, but after very high wolf pup mortality in 2005, the Park wolf population dropped 30% to 118 wolves, the first real decrease in the history of the wolf recovery program in the Park.

In 2006, there was excellent pup survival. Seven-five pups were born and 60 survived until Jan. 1, 2007. The total wolf population grew by just 18 wolves to 136. About 45% of the Park’s wolf population is pups!

The reason for the slow regrowth of the wolf population is mostly out-migration.

Read the rest of this entry »

Public meeting set on issuing Idaho wolf hunt tags set Jan. 25 in Boise

This was announced today.


Pursuant to Idaho Code Section 67-2343, notice is hereby given of an open public meeting of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.

DATE OF NOTICE:    January 23, 2007
DATE OF MEETING:    January 25, 2007 at 1:30 p.m.
PLACE OF MEETING:    Idaho Department of Fish and Game
600 S. Walnut
Boise, Idaho 83707


PURPOSE OF MEETING/AGENDA:    Executive Session: Idaho Code 67-2345 (1) (b) Personnel.
Open Meeting: discussion on proposed tag fee structure related to hunting wolves.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting the Director’s office at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game directly at 208-334-5159 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-2529 (TDD).

Gore Sells Out Idaho’s 10,000 Seat Taco Bell Arena “Faster Than Elton John”…

This is from the Huffington Post on Al Gore’s talk in Boise.

This is perhaps a bit more balanced than the Idaho Statesman? Anyway that’s why blogs have grown. People want more news and all sides of the news. We were not getting it from the corporate media.

. . . and here is more Gore chants, Craig Rants. Boise Weekly.

Wyoming predicts the end of the world if East Entrance road not kept open during the winter.

Wyoming group argues to keep Sylvan Pass open. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette.

Once you get east of Jackson, Wyoming, they don’t just disagree with policies, they compete in hyperbole to describe how much they disagree.

“Closing Sylvan Pass in the winter, they said, would be a devastating blow and one they vowed to fight. It’s just one step closer to the cliff for us,” said state Rep. Colin Simpson of Cody.

In fact Cody is growing very rapidly, and it is a long way from the East Entrance, which only 13 people used last winter. Because avalanche control costs $200,000 a year and grooming the road adds thousands more, divide 13 into let’s say $250,000 to see how much each snowmobile over the Pass costs the National Park Service to which you pay larger and larger entrance fees every year.

Wyoming representatives said 3500 used the pass each winter 1990s. That is still over $70 per snowmobile. Yellowstone’s winter plan holds numbers far below that. That number will never be attained again under any conditions that are under contemplation.

These businesspeople seem completely unconcerned about the danger to people who keep the road open, groom the trails, ride the snowmobiles, or pay the bills. The common word for that is “greed.” A notice that is a common theme in movies, e.g., Jaws, Volcano. Businesses tell everyone there is no danger, but then . . . .

The local political rhetoric is similar for the wolf. The wolves are not just a problem for a few ranchers, but a menace that is laying waste to Agriculture in the area. Big game herds are being totally wiped out (except for the number that shows elk number are not down).

Posted in national parks, public lands. Comments Off on Wyoming predicts the end of the world if East Entrance road not kept open during the winter.

Do you want to work with wild Idaho wolves this summer?

Here is a chance to work with the Nez Perce Tribe’s Gray Wolf Project for the summer. It’s is very physical work, and if you have college work in wildlife biology and capturing and immobilizing animals, that will be a real plus for your application. And, no they don’t tell you need to be prepared to be eaten by wolves. Before I editorialize too much, here is the job annoucement.

Read the rest of this entry »

Warnings of global warming. Al Gore brings his take on climate change to Boise today

This article in the Idaho Statesman by Rocky Barker is about Al Gore speaking to huge crowd in Boise today juxtaposed with weather events in Idaho over the last ten years and the views of some Idaho politicians.

Al Gore brings his take on climate change to Boise today. By Rocky Barker.

Related. CEOs ask Bush to back climate protection. By H. Josef Hebert. Associated Press Writer. Support for trying to do something about climate change is reaching new highs with mainstream business starting to get alarmed. There are rumors President Bush will propose some real moves in that direction in his State of the Union address, if only to try to save his failing presidency.

Shoshone National Forest announces preliminary options for its new forest plan

CODY. Preliminary options for management of the Shoshone National Forest range from creating five new wilderness areas to none, and from no new road construction to some road building. Forest officials are outlining those scenarios in a series of meetings here and in Thermopolis, Dubois and Lander. Rest of the story in the Casper Star Tribune.

At the present, none of the options is the forest’s preferred alternative. Wyoming conservationists have been telling me that there has been a recent turn for the worse in the various elements of this national forest plan.The Shoshone National Forest was the very first national forest. In the 1880s, President Benjamin Harrison issued an executive order creating the Yellowstone Timber Reserve. Later it was renamed the Shoshone National Forest. The Shoshone has some of the wildest country in the Greater Yellowstone. There are a number of threats and folks who care about Yellowstone need to get involved.

The east-facing side of the Pinnacle Buttes in the DuNoir Special Management area which conservationists have long advocated adding to the Washakie Wilderness on the Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming

Photo by Ralph Maughan

Information on the Forest Plan and how you can get involved from the Shoshone National Forest.

Missoulian editorial. Montana’s plan for wolf management much more sensible than Idaho governor’s ideas

Montana’s plan for wolf management much more sensible than Idaho governor’s ideas By Steve Woodruff. The opinion page editor of the Missoulian.

Nevada gold pit mines

This is to think about, when you consider the impact of the proposed Cline Mine, in British Columbia few miles north of the border from Montana. You don’t have to go to Canada to find the Canadian mining companies polluting and damaging.

Mercury vapor evaporates from the 30-some odd big gold pit mines in northern Nevada. The mercury combines with other elements and enters the food chain as weather deposits it over southern Idaho and Utah. carlin-mine1.jpg

Part of Newmont’s Carlin Mine, about 15 miles north of Carlin, Nevada

Photo © by Ralph Maughan. May 2006


A small portion of the titanic Barrick Goldstrike Mine, about 20 miles north of Carlin, Nevada. Photo © Ralph Maughan. May 2006

Posted in mining. 5 Comments »

Idaho Elk Breeders on the Offense

Here is in interesting story, especially since Erin Miller posts to this forum.

Idaho Elk Breeders on the Offense. New West. By Bill Schneider

Previous story on Camo Day. Jan. 17.

Jan. 25, 2007 Update. Wild Bill has additional thoughts on this. Humane Society, Idaho Sportsmen, and Game Farmers: A Strange Affair. By Bill Schneider. New West.

Fire When Ready. Otter’s anti-wolf rhetoric grabs headlines, muddies debate

Here is yet another news article about Governor Otter’s comments.

It is from the latest Boise Weekly, and written by Shea Andersen. Fire When Ready. Otter’s anti-wolf rhetoric grabs headlines, muddies debate.

Did anyone see an editorial in any on-line newspaper favoring what the governor said? I don’t want to give a misleading impression of editorial comments, so please email me if you know of one.

Proposed British Columbia coal mine (the Cline Mine) of great concern to Montana

A giant open pit coal mine is proposed in British Columbia just north of Montana close to Glacier National Park. I have linked to articles about this proposal for years, but now the reality of the mine is much more solid. The coal would be shipped to China.

There are already similiar mines to the north in the Elk River Basin (a stream that does not drain directly into the United States).
State to seek federal intervention on Canadian coal mine. By Michael Jamison, Missoulian.

I discovered there is a blog, written by folks who live near the North Fork of the Flathead River, that gives a lot of information about the “Cline Mine.” See North Fork Preservation Association blog.

Here is a web site with maps and photos. Cline Mine in a Nutshell.

Update. Jan. 20. Here is a photo of what to expect. It is of Coal Mountain in the Flathead Range of the Rockies (British Columbia). This longstanding coal mine is 10-15 miles north of the proposed Cline Mine. It drains into a different river basin.

Buffalo Field Campaign. News from the Field. Jan. 18.

Montana is continuing with its phony bison hunt. That’s the hunting season for bison in a state that allows no bison. If some wander outside of Yellowstone Park, a hunter with a permit gets a chance. Otherwise, the state just collects money and provides no ground for the bison to live even though plenty of ground is available.

Here is the latest news from the field by the Buffalo Field campaign. They are opposing the hunt with the slogan. “no habitat, no hunt.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bison. 7 Comments »

House Committee on Natural Resources: week in review

A post at Daily Kos has happy news of the week from the new House Natural Resources Committee, from which Richard Pombo was sent packing last November.

House Committee on Natural Resources: week in review
By Naturegal
Thu Jan 18, 2007 at 06:07:00 PM PST

Posted in politics. Comments Off on House Committee on Natural Resources: week in review

The Truth from Above

Google Earth is revolutionizing the way people see change on the Earth’s surface. In this case is it the massive amount of oil and gas development in Wyoming.

On your own or watching the short video at www.skytruth.org, it can revolutionize your view of cumulative environmental impacts.

For those of you that have seen “An Inconvenient Truth,” and the ponds that formed before the breakup of the big ice shelf in Antarctica, move your cursor to Greenland. Scroll to the highest elevations on the great interior ice field there. Zoom in. What do you see?

Picturing Landscape Change. The Truth from Above. By Richard Martin. New West.

Ancient Idaho wolf B7M hit by vehicle north of Salmon, Idaho. Was he the last of the reintroduced wolves?

All of the wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone Park in 1995 and 1996 are now long dead.

Their counterparts who were released in Idaho, however, either by luck or the excellence of Idaho as wolf country have continued to show up. Wolf B7M, introduced from Alberta and released on the Middle Fork of Salmon River in January 1995, was recently found dead, hit by a vehicle, on a road about 15 miles north of Salmon, Idaho.

B7M was a 60 pound yearling when he came to Idaho. He soon joined with another reintroduced wolf, B11F, named “Blackfire” by Idaho school children, to form a bond that lasted ten years and established one of Idaho’s old wolf packs — the Big Hole Pack which inhabits the state border country of Idaho and Montana just to the south of Lolo Pass.

These wolves did get in a minor bit of livestock trouble early on and were briefly taken from the wild and penned in Yellowstone Park and later in an enclosure near the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Idaho at Running Creek. They were sometimes called the “Running Creek Pair.”

The pair were both visually sighted in the summer of 2005, apparently still leading the pack they created. It is possible that Blackfire lives on still.

If you use a search engine to search my old web site, you will find many articles about B7 and B11.

Update. Jan. 19. Ed Bangs has reported that B7M was at least 13 3/4 years old. He might have been 14 3/4 years. B7 might possibly have been the oldest wild wolf on record.

Camo Day– the more progressive sportsmen have their day at Idaho capitol

Last week was the day for organization “Sportmen for Fish and Wildlife-Idaho” to show up in Boise to rally against wolves, but today “representatives from about 31 sporting organizations, from bowhunters to bass anglers, gathered for the first “Camo Day” to make their unified presence known to lawmakers.”

While this was hardly a rally in favor of carnivores, it represents an important effort by sportsmen groups together advocating on behalf wildlife issues, especially against privatization, canned hunting, and for more protection of wildlife and fish habitat, and away from the divide and conquer tactics waged by the extractive industries in the past in Idaho.

Here is the story in the Idaho Statesman. 200 sportsmen from 31 groups tell lawmakers, ‘We’re watching’. Idaho Statesman By Roger Phillips

Here is the link to Idaho Sportsmen’s Caucus Advisory Council which organized the event.

Posted in politics. Comments Off on Camo Day– the more progressive sportsmen have their day at Idaho capitol

Idaho Fish and Game Commission names new Director

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has announced the hiring of a new department director, Cal Groen. He replaces Steve Huffaker who retired.

Here is the news release.

Date: Jan 17, 2007
Contact: Ed Mitchell 208-334-3700

Idaho Fish and Game Names New Director

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission today appointed Lewiston resident Cal Groen to lead Fish and Game.

Groen, 59, is a 17-year veteran of Fish and Game with 33-years of experience managing fish and wildlife. Groen held several prominent department positions over the years, the last nine as supervisor of the Clearwater Region.

“I am thrilled and honored to be named to this very important position,” Groen said. “Idaho is blessed with a variety of fish, wildlife, and land and l look forward to working with the Commission, employees, and other partners. The mystic and natural beauty of our state is something I treasure and we need wide-ranging partnerships to protect our fish and wildlife heritage and to keep providing good opportunities to Idaho’s hunters and anglers. It’s a challenge I take very seriously.”

The Commission chose Groen from a field of five well-qualified candidates that included two other Fish and Game employees

“We felt like Cal is the man for the hour at Fish and Game,” Commission Chairman Cameron Wheeler said. “He has a wealth of experience, his background, knowledge, and his sense of the Department’s history will be a great asset. Cal Groen fits what we need and expect from a leader.”

Groen replaces former Director Steve Huffaker who retired at the first of the year after leading the agency for nearly five years.

Before joining Fish and Game in 1990 Groen served as assistant director at wildlife agencies both in Washington, and Kansas.

Before becoming Region two supervisor, Groen served as chief of Fish and Game’s Natural Resources Policy Bureau. He also coordinated the Department’s Columbia River Policy.

Groen graduated in 1969 with B.S. degrees in political science and biology from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. He also holds an M.S. degree in biology and fishery science from the University of South Dakota.

Groen and his wife Rebecca, have two grown children.

Northern Yellowstone elk herd stable at relatively low numbers

The annual count of elk on Yellowstone’s northern range is in. It remains low compared to years past, but is about the same as a year ago — 6,738 elk compared to about 6600 in the last count, 9 months ago.

The Northern Range herd has always been controversial with its numbers called wildly excessive in the past. It reached at record high of 19,359 in late 1993. It was 17,290 in late 1994. Wolves were reintroduced 3 months later. Then, unfortunately were no elk counts until Dec. 1997 when the population was 13,400. It was known there was a great winter die-off in Jan-March 1997, but there no count made in 1996 or spring of 1997. Since then the population has had its ups and downs, but mostly downs, to the present.

By late 1997 critics had changed from saying the herd was excessively large to alarmed critics saying that wolves were killing off the herd. Some of the decline in the period 2000-2005 has been blamed on a multi-year drought. It is also pretty clear that predators are keeping the herd down in size

The herd has a greater variety of predators that any in the lower 48 states: grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, cougar, coyotes, humans (there is a hunt outside the Park), and the herd is not just a Park herd, despite the name. One elk was even killed by a wolverine. A 3-year study showed the major predator of elk calves in the herd was grizzly bears.

This is one herd probably limited by predation. The size of the human take was been reduced greatly in recent years by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Here is the story by Mike Stark from the Billings Gazette.

This northern range herd is one of 8 elk herds that use Yellowstone Park. Some people seem unaware of this.

Post to Demarcated Landscapes details new Forest Service chief an ideal Bush Adminstration clone

This was just posted to the blog Demarcated Landscapes. It tells us a lot more about new Forest Service chief Kimbell than the stories in the newspapers.

Conservation Group, Unions Joining Forces

I can’t overstate what an important political development this may be, not just for wildlife conservation, but for the future structure of American politics.

“In a first-of-its-kind alliance that could fundamentally reshape the environmental movement, 20 labor unions with nearly 5 million members are joining forces with a Republican-leaning umbrella group of conservationists — the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership — to put pressure on Congress and the Bush administration.”

Read the rest in the Washington Post by Blain Hardin.

Idaho’s Most Venerable Newspaper Spanks Otter for Anti-Wolf Rhetoric

Over at Sinapu they found a key editorial I missed this morning. The Idaho Statesman doesn’t think much of Governor Otter’s plan to kill over 5/6 of Idaho’s wolves once the wolf is delisted.

Posted in Delisting, Idaho wolves, Wolves. Comments Off on Idaho’s Most Venerable Newspaper Spanks Otter for Anti-Wolf Rhetoric

Time to Abandon the Forest Planning Process?

As many folks know the various national forests always seem to be working on a new forest plan. The forest plans have always required a lot of public input, plus a serious environmental impact statement. They have had to redo forest plans because of inaccurate or politically inspirated data in their EISs.

My experience is that forest plans make a big difference. If an area is judged suitable for grazing, for example, no matter how much greater its value may be in an alternative use such as nationally important fishery, you can’t get the damn cows out without an amended forest plan.

Now the Forest Service is arguing that no real decisions are made with Forest plans, so no environmental impact statement is needed. Of course, conservation groups are suing them.

There are some who agree with the Forest Service (I mean people who are not Bush Administration political appointments).

Here is a link to a blog established by a number of college professors interested in forest policy and Forest Service people (all are operating this blog as individuals, not in their capacity as a Forest Service employee or position at a university).

Time to Abandon the Forest Planning Process?

I should add the Forest Service can’t just end the process because the National Forest Management Act of 1976 says they will do forest plans, and that they will revise them. I don’t really see how they can get away with this “reform.”

Amenity Ranch Boom Spreads East

Purchase of “working” ranches by wealthy outsiders is spreading far beyond the scenic hotspots near the National Parks and Wilderness areas of the Rockies. It is spilling out onto the plains where there has been a great depopulation as the economics of traditional ranching has collapsed.

Many places in Eastern Montana and the Dakotas now have fewer people per square mile than in 1890 when the Census Bureau declared the frontier was closed.

Hal Herring at New West looks into the phenomenon. Amenity Ranch Boom Spreads East.

Saskatchewan and Alberta are seeing more chronic wasting disease

Officials in both provinces report that some of these cases are located in new areas – a finding that suggests that the disease may be spreading or that animals with CWD are on the move.

This story is from CP by John Cotter.

Deer in other provinces tested negative. Officials are afraid it might spread to caribou. It infects all species of North American deer, elk and moose. It kind of an ultimate nightmare which I why I keep pounding on Wyoming and the menace of its wildlife policies. The worst infections are the Eastern Wyoming and along the Front in Colorado.

Chronic wasting disease is caused by a malformed protein, called a prion, which causes other proteins to fold incorrectly too. The result is many holes the the brains of those infected. Scientifically this class of diseases is called spongiform encephalopathies.

Chronic wasting disease, unlike mad cow disease, is directly transmissible from animal to animal, one reason why crowding cervids on winter feedlots is thought by many to be especially dangerous.

Bridger-Teton National Forest has draft travel plan

With powerful off-road vehicles able to rip and tear almost anywhere, the establishment of a national forest’s travel plan has become a critical matter, especially when it is a forest like the Bridger-Teton, contained some of the best scenery and wildlife in America. The travel plan for the “Teton” portion of the Bridger-Teton is moving along with on-line public comments due Feb. 5, 2007.

Forest Service web page showing the plan.

The Casper Star Tribune has an article on it today. Bridger-Teton sets Travel Plan. By Whitney Royster, Tribune environmental reporter Monday

I did post a story on this a couple months ago, when the travel plan was in what Forest Service calls “the scoping stage”.

Posted in Motor vehicles wildlife, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Bridger-Teton National Forest has draft travel plan

Can Wyoming have it both ways with wolves?

The Wyoming Department of Tourism has been running frequent newspaper ads “Winter really is a Wonderland in Wyoming.” The top of the ad shows 2 howling wolves. Meanwhile, of course, Wyoming government is trying to get permission to kill as many wolves as possible with the intent of pretty much restricting them in a prison for nature at Yellowstone Park.

I couldn’t find wolf photos as a “come-on” at their official web site at www.wyomingtourism.org, but the ad has been running in my hometown newspaper (Pocatello, ID) for a couple weeks.

Those who want to see wolves in the winter don’t need to drop a dime in Wyoming. Stay at Gardiner, Montana or Cooke City, Montana, and drive into wintertime Yellowstone National Park each day. Sightings are almost guaranteed when you find the hardy band of wolf watchers near the road. In the summer (maybe in the winter), you can rent a powerful wildlife spotting scope for about $20 a day at Cooke City (and maybe elsewhere by now). We rented one at Cooke City last summer.

I should add that if you want to take a snowmobile or snowcoach to the Park, you don’t have to give Wyoming a dime either. You can rent a snowmobile and guide at West Yellowstone or a snowcoach (becoming more and more popular). Expert snowcoach and other tours can also be set up in Livingston or Bozeman, Montana.

Selenium contamination causes big decline in Yellowstone cutthroat trout in Idaho/Wyoming border streams

BOISE, Idaho — Two of the West’s largest remaining populations of Yellowstone cutthroat trout face sharp declines due to contamination from phosphate mines in southeast Idaho, Idaho State University professors say.

Read the rest of this AP story by Keith Ridler.

Note one correction in the story. . . it is the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, not the Greater Yellowstone Alliance

More . . . (GYC web site)

Greater Yellowstone Coalition says Let Jackson Hole bison spread out

There are too many bison in Jackson Hole, and the rate of infection with brucellosis is far higher than the much persecuted (by Montana) bison of Yellowstone Park. The problem is the winter feeding of the bison at the National Elk Refuge. The presence of the bison only complicates the already grave problem of feeding the elk. Now the Greater Yellowstone Coalition’s Jackson Representative is proposing change.

Let the Bison Spread out  By Whitney Royster. Casper Star Tribune.

Posted in Bison, national parks, public lands, wildlife disease, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Greater Yellowstone Coalition says Let Jackson Hole bison spread out

Tickets to Al Gore’s speech in Boise are seriously sold out-

In terms of turnout for a speech of this nature, this is incredible in Idaho.

Inconvenient in Boise. Ridenbaugh Press. Randy Stapilus.

Wild Bill says “Idaho doesn’t deserve delisting”

Bill Schneider at New West has been a proponent of careful delisting of the wolf in the northern rockies, but Idaho’s new Governor Otter’s recent actions and the continuing 19th century thinking of Wyoming’s political leaders have led him to write Idaho doesn’t deserve delisting.

Posted in Delisting, politics, Wolves. Comments Off on Wild Bill says “Idaho doesn’t deserve delisting”

Howls and prints indicate return of wolves to Washington State

“Although there’s no evidence a wolf pack is living in the state [the state of Washington], experts say it’s just a matter of time. To prepare for the return, the state has formed a panel of 18 hunters, ranchers, environmentalists and biologists to help write a wolf management plan.” Rest of the story in the Times-News.

Nevertheless, wolf prints are now being seen frequently in NE Washington, and howling is heard.

The Wolf Recovery Foundation is pleased to announce that Kim Holt, a member of our Board of Directors, was appointed to the new Washington state wolf panel.

Neutralovian: Language of the Idaho Legislature

This funny and involves wildlife.  Neutralovian: Language of the Idaho Legislature. By Jill Kuraitis. New West

Posted in politics. Comments Off on Neutralovian: Language of the Idaho Legislature

Chief forester resigns. First woman to head US Forest Service appointed.

Northern Region’s Kimbell to Replace Bosworth as Forest Service Chief. Headwaters News as republished in New West.

I’m not sure what this means. A new chief forester can mean a new direction, but not usually unless the Administration changes (as it did from the “Bush the Greater” to Clinton in 1993, and then again in 2001 from Clinton to “Bush the lesser).” There was a sea change at these periods.

Posted new story on this appointment Jan. 13. Missoulian to become 1st female forest chief. Kimbell replaces another Montanan as Forest Service head. By Noelle Straub. Billings Gazette Washington Bureau.

As one post indicated (backed up by this story), Kimbell is an advocate of access fees. In the story above Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana said,

“While I’m pleased a Montanan has been picked for this important job, I’m concerned about Gail’s willingness to charge additional fees to access public lands,” Baucus said in a statement. “That’s a wrong approach. I hope she backs away from plans that would limit Montanans’ access to public lands for hunting, fishing and recreation.”

Jan. 13. Randy Stapilus, an astute political observer of Pacific Northwest Politics has further comments on Kimbell. “Into the fire.

Jan. 15. Over at Demarcated Landscapes there is more news on Kimbell, More news emerging on new Forest Service Chief” (and it doesn’t look good)

Scientists: Wolves not decimating elk herds

Scientists: Wolves not decimating elk herds. Conservationists fear effects of wolf hunting season. By Steve Benson. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer.

This is a story about a news conference yesterday featuring two wildlife biologists, Suzanne Stone of Defenders and myself. We put it together to counter the anti-wolf rally slated for Boise. It was held just before the anti-wolf rally.

The Idaho Mountain Express also published this guest editorial. Wolves should not be scapegoat of the West. Wolves deserve protection, respect.

Otter hopes to be among first to hunt the predator as it is removed from endangered list

Idaho Wolves, Myths and Facts [please link to this]

I would urge everyone with a conservation related web page to link to this website which just went up. Idaho Wolves Myths and Facts. I think it pretty much destroys all of the mythology being propagated.

Posted in Idaho wolves, Wolves, Wolves and Livestock, Wolves and prey. Comments Off on Idaho Wolves, Myths and Facts [please link to this]

Idaho’s new governor wants 5/6 of the Idaho wolves killed!

It am posting the story as it appeared in the Central Florida News (not an Idaho news source) because it illustrates a point that he may not understand — you can’t thumb your nose at the country like you could 20 years ago. The Internet has made it different.

Idaho Governor Calls for Gray Wolf Kill. Channel 13, Central Florida News.

Note that governor Butch Otter is new. He just took office. As a congressman from Idaho’s first district he proposed selling off 15% of the public lands of the United States to pay for Hurricane Katrina damage. Hunters really need to think hard about that.

It is also important to note the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife-Idaho is just one interest group, and their views are those of an unknown number of Idaho hunters. That’s one reason why I posted the link from the extremist religious group in support of SFW anti-wolf rally today. It is an indication that their views attract a far out section of the population.

BLM Releases Draft Resource Management Plan for Southeast Idaho

Here the the news release from the BLM.

The public lands managed by the BLM in southeast Idaho are relatively scattered. The major problem is overgrazing by livestock (coupled with almost no enforcement of the grazing regulations). The BLM staff has been cowed into submission. A lot of them want to do a good job (I have had some in my classes and I know others), but ranchers are calling the shots. Added later. You can download the RMP (resource management plan) here. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in public lands, public lands management. Comments Off on BLM Releases Draft Resource Management Plan for Southeast Idaho

Officials review energy drilling in Caribou/Targhee National Forest — Idaho

Idaho is generally thought to be safe from the onslaught of the natural gas drillers, but in fact a portion of Eastern Idaho has the same geological structure as part of gas-rich Wyoming. The “Overthrust Belt” ranges of the Rocky Mountains run along the Idaho/Wyoming border. This intensely folded and even overturned area of thrust-faulting provides traps for hydrocarbons, mostly gas.

The Overthrust Belt is much more costly to drill than the Green River Basin to its east, which is seeing thousands of gas wells being drilled. The Overthrust Belt’s mountains ranges are also very scenic, have unstable soils and are tremendous wildlife habitat. Bad too is the fact that any gas found is likely to be “sour,” contaminated with rotten egg gas (hydrogen sulfide). Its use requires construction of huge sweetening facilities nearby to remove this poisonous gas before the natural gas can be used. In other words, development of the Overthrust Belt, is a nightmare; and it has proceeded slowly even in Wyoming.

Now smaller energy companies are applying for leases on the Caribou/Targhee National Forest in Idaho and that national forest is conducting an environmental analysis of the leasing proposal.

About 5 wells were drilled Idaho’s part of the Overthrust Belt back in the 1970s and early 80s. It is not known what they found. All were capped and abandoned. The drill pads were cleaned up, but some of the access roads remained open, including a road to the Black Mountain drill site on top of Black Mountain, just west of Alpine, Wyoming.

Geologists say that if there is gas in Idaho’s portion of the Overthrust, it is likely to be harder to find than in Wyoming, and even more poisonous because the natural gas would have been subjected to more intense pressure and heat in Idaho, these serving to alter its chemical composition.

Story from the Associated Press. Officials review energy drilling in Caribou National Forest.

Baldy Peak in the Snake River Range (Overthrust Belt). It’s just inside Idaho. The Snake River
Range was targeted by the gas industry in the 1970s and early 80s, although local conservationists
were able to keep them out of the most sensitive areas. Photo copyright Ralph Maughan

Posted in national parks, oil and gas, public lands management, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Officials review energy drilling in Caribou/Targhee National Forest — Idaho

NOAA Reports 2006 Warmest Year On Record For U.S.

I am writing this at the coldest time of winter at Pocatello in SE Idaho, with a chance that temperatures will even dip below zero this weekend, something that has become a rarity, although 20 years ago it was common in the winter. One winter it got down to -38 degrees F.

The Eastern U.S. has essentially had no winter at all, and now a report is out that 2006 was the warmest in the U.S. since they have been keeping records.

Story from ScienceDaily.  

Posted in Climate change. Comments Off on NOAA Reports 2006 Warmest Year On Record For U.S.

A convert to snowcoaches. A Critical Outfitter Now Embraces Yellowstone’s New Winter Tourism

For years noisy and dirty snowmobiles dominated winter tourism in Yellowstone, but now they are beginning to be displaced by a new generation of clean, quieter, and warm snowcoaches. The coaches also feature numerous options for stopping, and dropping off skier and snowshoers, stripping away one of the arguments in favor of snowmobiles — the freedom enjoyed by their users.

Over the years, the gradual decrease in snow too, which many attitribute to global warming, has given an advantage to snowcoaches which are better able to travel long expanses of bare pavement.
When changes like this come, there are some people who are more critical in the process than others. Apparently Randy Robertson of West Yellowstone is such a person.

Story from New West. By Randy Robertson. Guest Writer.

Posted in Motor vehicles wildlife, national parks, public lands. Comments Off on A convert to snowcoaches. A Critical Outfitter Now Embraces Yellowstone’s New Winter Tourism

Baker, Montana coyote killing contest prompt howls from foes

The coyote is probably the most successful predatory animal in North America. Contests like this have little effect on the coyote population, which over the last hundred years spread from the western United States to all of North America because of the elimination of the wolf and human induced ecological changes that increase coyote habitat. The capacity of coyotes to increase their numbers in face of substantial killing also promotes natural selection in favor of a more adaptable and durable coyote population.

The question about contests like this is ethics, and I think the controversy is basically a conflict between rural values in an area of human population decline and those of the larger society.

Coyote killing contest prompt howls from foes. Town offers cash prizes in calling competition. By Matthew Brown. Billings Gazette. AP

New, posted on 1/12, article by Todd Wilkinson. Controversial Contest Brings Coyotes Again Under The Gun. New West.

Ex-Interior Dept Deputy a Target in Abramoff Probe

In my old conservation news at http://www.forwolves.org/ralph/stories.html I repeatedly referred to J. Steven Griles Assistant Secretary of Interior as “ethically-challenged.” Griles was number two at the Dept. of Interior, behind Secretary of Interior Gale Norton.

It appears Griles is now in real trouble. He has been told by federal investigators that he is a target in the investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff’ (now behind bars) and the web of corruption he spun.

Now that the Democrats are the majority, congressional oversight (investigation of executive branch agencies) is now longer suppressed, and it is expected that numerous other Dept. of Interior activities and personnel will be investigated for their legality.

The Department of Interior houses the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and many more agencies and programs related to our public lands and conservation.

Story Ex-Interior Deputy a Target in Abramoff Probe. By Susan Schmidt. Washington Post Staff Writer

Sourcewatch on J. Steven Griles

National Rifle Assn Pressured To Resist Bush Energy Policies

This article and this change in NRA thinking is getting a lot of play and commentary around the country.

NRA Pressured To Resist Bush Energy Policies. Hunters Wary of Limited Land Access. By Blaine Harden. Washington Post Staff Writer

Wild Bill says Idaho Lawmakers Focus on Elk Farms

More on elk farms, shooter pens, etc. This is from Bill Schneider at New West.

Posted in Elk, politics. Comments Off on Wild Bill says Idaho Lawmakers Focus on Elk Farms

Wildlife plates help support nongame wildlife programs

The interest group, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife-ID was complaining about these plates. Later Nate Helm, their E. D. posted, saying SFW-ID just wanted to make clear the plates do not provide support for hunted wildlife — “game.”

Yes, and Idaho Fish and Game just put out a news release indicating so. I would urge Idahoans to buy the plates, and buy a hunting or fishing license too, even if you don’t hunt or fish because that helps wildlife too. Ralph M.

– – – – – –

Idaho Fish and Game Headquarters News Release
Boise, ID

Date: January 8, 2007
Contact: Ed Mitchell
(208) 334-3700

Wildlife [license] plates help support nongame wildlife programs

More than 80 percent of Idaho’s wild creatures-523 species including songbirds, waterbirds, raptors, small mammals,reptiles and amphibians, and threatened and endangered wildlife-are classified as “nongame wildlife.”

Nongame wildlife is not normally hunted, fished or trapped, but is found in every corner of Idaho. Robins in our backyards, the elusive wolverine of Idaho’s high mountain ranges, pygmy rabbits in the sagebrush deserts, and frogs in Idaho’s wetlands are just a few of our nongame animals.

Formal funding of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s nongame wildlife program began when the Legislature approved a state income tax check-off on the 1981 tax form, which still continues as an important source of program income today.

In 1992, the Idaho Legislature passed the wildlife license plate bill that allowed a portion of the wildlife license plate proceeds to benefit the nongame wildlife program.

The bluebird plate became available in 1993. The elk plate was added in 1998 and the cutthroat trout plate in 2003. Wildlife plates are available at the vehicle licensing offices of every county assessor. Of the $35 special plate fee, the nongame wildlife program gets $25 from the purchase of a new bluebird plate, and $15 from each annual plate renewal. The elk and trout plates bring in slightly less because they also support elk disease research and non-motorized boating access, respectively.

The nongame wildlife program receives no money from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and tags and no general tax funds from the State. The wildlife plates provide about 95% of state-based nongame wildlife program funding, helping to pay for projects like annual bald eagles counts and the new Idaho Birding Trail as well as the Project WILD and Wildlife Express conservation education programs for teachers and students.

Wildlife plate funds also provide critical matching dollars for federal grants and partnerships with federal natural resource agencies.

For information, or to buy a wildlife plate contact the local county assessor:http://itd.idaho.gov/dmv/vehicleservices/assessor.htm; or the Department of Transportation Special Plates-Registration Services Section on the Internet at http://www.itd.idaho.gov/dmv/Vehicleservices/registr.htm; or by phone at

– – – – – – – – – – – –

This is the plate I have on my truck

“Idaho Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife” picks up interesting support for their anti-wolf rally

Note, I edited this post for the sake of clarity, and deleted the comments. I think the way I posted it caused some confusion. RM

Idaho Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife is an interest group organized in Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho as separate chapters. They are having a wolf delisting rally at the state capitol on Thursday. We have discussed them before, and the E.D. for Idaho and the one for Wyoming both posted to this blog. That generated some discussion.

You can often judge a group by the company they keep, or by who supports them. Check out this URL (Idaho Values Alliance).


Video on natural gas development and the upper Green River Valley, WY

I wondered if anyone had made a video on the destruction of the Upper Green River Valley in Wyoming by natural gas exploation and development, and it came today as a comment to an earlier post.

See what is going on. Watch the video at www.skytruth.org

I wonder if Sportsmen for [some] Fish and [certain kinds of] Wildlife-Wyoming has seen this?

– – – – – – –

Added on Jan. 10. BLM says in environmental impact statement that “[New] Pinedale wells would hurt wildlife. Impact statement says big game, sage grouse, eagles would be harmed. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Note that the Bush Administration has been trying to eliminate the requirement that federal actions like oil and gas leasing and development be subject to environmental impact statements. I think the story above tells us why.

Scientists tracking Nevada mountain lion to find out impact on wild horses

This story is from the Reno Gazette Journal. By Jeff DeLong
The cougar may be preying largely on the foals of wild horses in the Virginia Mountain range of extreme Western Nevada. It has been fitted with a radio-collar to see if this seemingly rare kind of predation is taking place.

More on the contamination of bison DNA with cattle genes

This time the article is in the New York Times.

Although it isn’t the only uncontaminated herd of bison, this is another reason with conserving the Yellowstone Park bison is so important, and I think a reason to let them set up and live adjacent to, but outside Yellowstone Park on public land, which is cattle free (so no danger of passing brucellosis to cattle, assuming we even buy into that story).

Out West, With the Buffalo, Roam Some Strands of Undesirable DNA. By Jim Robbins. New York Times.

Posted in Bison. Comments Off on More on the contamination of bison DNA with cattle genes

Alberta haters shoot wild horses to lure in wolves to shoot too

A really disgusting story . . .Reward in wild horse shootings now $3,000. CBC News

Washington State wolf plan working group is selected

In anticipation that wolves from Idaho and/or British Columbia will disperse to Washington state, “Eighteen citizens have been selected as members of a working group to guide the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in developing a plan for conservation and management of gray wolves that are expected to make their way to” the state.

Here is the news release. I should note with pride that Kim Holt, the Wolf Recovery Foundation’s secretary/treasurer is one of the 18 folks selected.

Here is the entire news release.

The working group members are:
§ Daryl Asmussen of Tonasket, cattle rancher
§ John Blankenship of Tenino, Wolf Haven International executive director
§ Duane Cocking of Newman Lake, sportsman
§ Jeff Dawson of Colville, cattle rancher
§ Paula J. DelGiudice of Seattle, sportswoman, National Wildlife Federation Western Natural Resource Center director
§ Gerry Ring Erickson of Shelton, former Defenders of Wildlife Washington state field representative
§ Jack Field of Ellensburg, Washington Cattlemen’s Association executive vice-president
§ George Halekas of Deer Park, retired Forest Service biologist
§ Kim Holt of Snohomish, Wolf Recovery Foundation secretary-treasurer
§ Derrick Knowles of Spokane, Conservation Northwest outreach coordinator
§ Colleen McShane of Seattle, consulting ecologist
§ Ken Oliver of Newport, Pend Oreille County Commissioner
§ Tommy Petrie, Jr. of Newport, Pend Oreille County Sportsmen’s Club president
§ John Stuhlmiller of Lacey, Washington Farm Bureau assistant director of government relations
§ Arthur Swannack of Lamont, Washington Sheep Producers president
§ Bob Tuck of Selah, consulting biologist, former Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissioner
§ Greta M. Wiegand of Seattle, retiree, outdoor recreationist
§ Georg Ziegltrum of Olympia, Washington Forest Protection Association wildlife biologist

“This is a diverse group of people representing a wide range of interests that could be affected by future resident wolf populations in Washington,” said Jeff Koenings, PhD., director of WDFW. “We selected individuals who have a track record of building consensus.”

A total of 56 people submitted applications or were nominated for the working group.

Although gray wolves were largely eradicated in Washington by the 1930s, sightings have increased since federal wolf-recovery efforts began in Idaho and Montana in the mid-1990s. The success of those efforts has prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose removing gray wolf populations from the federal list of endangered species in three states and parts of four other states, including Washington.

“If gray wolves are removed from federal species protection status, Washington and other western states will have primary responsibility for managing their wolf populations,” Koenings said. “We need to prepare for that possibility by developing a conservation and management plan that works for people and wildlife.”

The gray wolf is also designated as a state endangered species in Washington, so the plan must identify population objectives and appropriate conservation and management strategies, as well as addressing wolf management in Washington after the species is removed from the federal list of endangered species.

The working group will convene next month and will meet approximately every other month over the coming year. A draft plan is scheduled for completion by Dec. 30, and will be followed by a public review period. The final plan is expected by June 30, 2008.

A separate technical advisory group of biologists from state and federal agencies also will be formed to provide information and expertise to the citizen working group.

Butch Otter is now Idaho governor. Which Idaho will it be?

Here are current conditions. Which will grow during his Administration?

Off road vehicle abuse near Pocatello, Idaho. Photo by Ralph Maughan

Cache Meadow in Central Idaho. Used to be heavily grazed, the grazing was bought out.
Now it abounds with elk. Photo by Ralph Maughan. Note the Rainbow Family had one
of its annual gatherings here 2 years previous. It was claimed they destroyed the meadow.

The beautiful peaks of the Lost River Range in the upper Pahsimeroi, and the awful cow zone.
Photo by Katie Fite

YNP WOLF Field Notes, 12/30/06-1/6/07

Wolf Recovery Foundation Board member Kathie Lynch has another set of high interesting notes of recent events on the Northern Range of Yellowstone Park. These wrap up the aftermath of the death of the Slough Creek Pack’s only male member, alpha male 490M. She details what may have been an acceptance ritual by the Sloughs of a new alpha male from the Agate Creek Pack . . . Ralph Maughan Read the rest of this entry »

Elk farms to be big issue in Idaho Legislature

After last year’s big breakout of elk at Rex Rammel’s elk shooter bull operation SW of Yellowstone Park last year, and lesser incidents, it is expected that up nine bills will appear in the Idaho legislature this year to better regulate the operations or maybe to abolish them.

Supporters of elk farms say that the analysis of the escaped elk that were shot after Governor Risch’s order showed no disease. That was true, but one elk seems to have actually been a red deer (a European species closely related to elk).

Montana and Wyoming governors have complained about the disease threat these Idaho farms pose to wild elk in the three state area. Sportsmen too seem highly concerned about the farms, especially the “shooter bull” operations, where make believe sportsmen shoot trophy elk up against a fence.

A new wrinkle on elk farms has appeared in Bannock County, above Pocatello, Idaho, where I live, pointing to the need for regulation. Most folks believe, as did I, that these farms are relatively expansive in size and that the state Department of Agriculture regulates them to some degree.

However, one elk farm has cropped up in the Pocatello (mountain) Range in an area of 5-acre homesite parcels. The operator of the place has his elk on 2 or 3 acres of his 5-acre ranchette. I’ve heard, but not confirmed that his permit is for about 15 elk, but there are usually far more elk on the small enclosed operation.

Few people know of the operations’ existence (at least until the local newspaper did a story on it), but it raises the specter of unregulated, backyard elk enclosures showing up around the state. There might even be more in the general area where I live, yet to be revealed.

While Idaho’s Governor Risch was aggressive on the matter of elk farms, etc., Idaho’s newly elected governor “Butch” Otter, said during the campaign that he would let the legislature take the lead.

Posted in Elk. 18 Comments »

Wyoming is trying to keep the East Entrance of YNP open to snowmobiles at huge taxpayer cost per rider

Recently I posted an article about the Park Service’s latest winter plan, and its proposal to stop maintaining snowmobile access through the high elevation East Entrance to the Park.

The East Entrance road crossess 20 avalanche paths, and the Park Service keeps it open by firing artillery shells to trigger the avalanches. Unexploded ordinace is scattered all over the nearby mountains, posing a grave danger to hikers and wildlife. One Park Service employee has lost his life working to keep entrance open for guess how many snowmobiles? Last winter the number was twelve snowmobiles. Avalanche control costs about $200,000. Divide that by 12 and the result is 😥 There are additional costs grooming and patroling the road.

Now Wyoming’s governor is lying like he does about wolves. He wrote to the Park Service “Wyoming especially wants to emphasize the State’s concern with closing the East Entrance”. “There are numerous reasons not to close the East Entrance, not the least of which is the significant harm such a closure would impose on Cody’s winter tourism economy.” [boldface mine].

. . . not the slightest relation to reality.

Story in the Casper Star Tribune by Amy J. Tripe.

In an earlier article Yellowstone Park spokesman Al Nash estimated the cost per snowmobiler for avalanche control alone was $200. If you do the actual calculation, last winter the actual cost was over $1500 per snowmobile.

Think about that when you pay your new $80 public land access fee or Yellowstone lacks the money to provide vital services.

Influx of oil and gas workers ups poaching in Wyoming

“What happens in the oil patch stays in the oil patch . . .”

I thought the problem was all those dern wolves, but apparently not. 😉 Article in the Billings Gazette. “State influx leads to more poaching. Long distances, lack of witnesses make job hard for wardens.” By the Associated Press

Good news about whooping cranes

Here is some good news about one of the species folks have been trying to recover way before there was an Endangered Species Act.

Whooping Cranes: An Update. From Alan Gregory’s Conservation News.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Good news about whooping cranes

WY elk feedgrounds get temporary permit from US Forest Service

Despite a lawsuit against issuing another permit for Wyoming to continue its dangerous disease-spreading practice of mass feeding of elk in the wintertime, the Forest Service has prevailed in its effort to reissue the permit for the elk feedlots on national forest land without any analysis of its environmental impacts.

The Forest Service used a categorical exclusion or CE, which has become a very common end run around the National Environmental Policy Act during the Bush Administration. The pretension of a CE is that the effects are so minor and the controversy so little, that analysis doesn’t have to be done, something absolute contrary to the facts in this case (and many others).

Story in the Casper Star Tribune. By Whitney Royster.

Included in this is Wyoming Game and Fish’s new “test and slaughter” program for elk that react positively for the presence of antibodies to brucellosis. They kill the elk that test positive. They let the rest enter the winter feedlot. Unfortunately, the testing has lots of false-positives and false-negatives.

Just a reminder that Wyoming’s governor is complaining about the decimation of the elk herds by wolves at the same time this slaughter is going on. Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, Wyoming is also complaining about wolves as they stand idly by and let the state shoot elk and then send them onto feedots which perpetuate the infection.

A solution that would work is to buy up winter range for elk (Wyoming is rolling in money from the energy boom) and then abolish the feedlots. Brucellosis would soon virtually disappear as has been shown among those Wyoming elk that avoid feedlots.

The objections to this come from those make a living pitching hay to the elk, those who like to see the herds of elk standing behind a fence, and, of course, ranchers who don’t want elk on the winter range they would rather use for cattle.

If Montana doesn’t feed elk and it does well, Wyoming should follow Montana’s example.

As a footnote, Idaho feeds a little bit, and the result was the elk passed brucellosis to nearby cattle and the state lost its “brucellosis-free” status for a year.

Earlier stories on this:

Newer article Jan. 9, 2007.  Jackson Hole News and Guide. 4 feed grounds receive permits. By Cory Hatch.

Cloud seeding plan for the Wind River Range stirs fears

The Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts wants to try cloud seeding to increase snowfall over the tall Wind River Range (the highest mountains in Wyoming).

Because the Winds are mostly designated Wilderness, this human modification is controversial. However, by far the largest change to the range is the huge increase in human pollution just beneath the Winds from the massive natural gas developments.

Cloud seeding is controversial because if it works it can harm stream beds and wildlife habitat and probably robs downwind areas of precipitation. However, Wyoming has been seeding clouds over the Salt River Range for years, and storms usually pass over this Idaho/Wyoming border ranger before reaching the Winds. Would cloud seeding even things out?

Story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide by Cory Hatch.

Crest of the Wind River Range. Bridger Wilderness Area. Copyright Ralph Maughan

Montana governor appoints two replacements to the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission.

When it comes to wildlife management at the state level, few things are more important than who gets on the state’s “Fish and Game,” “Willdife Commission,” “Wildlife and Natural Resources Board,” or what ever it is called. In most states, many of these appointees are “good ol boys and girls” who know little of about wildlife management or science.  They are often from occupations that have built-in hostility to protection of wildlife habitat.
I don’t the details, but at least one of these replacements will probably be an improvement for Montana wildlife.

Story in the Billings Gazette. AP

Posted in politics, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Montana governor appoints two replacements to the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission.

USFWS has a “genetics based” approach underway for national wildlife refuge bison to eliminate cattle genes

Here is the story.

Unfortunately many bison on various national wildlife refuges are polluted with cattle genes. This program will help eliminate that.

Posted in Bison. 2 Comments »

Oil and Gas Boom Raises Air Pollution Fears in West

This is from David Frey writing in New West. “Oil and Gas Boom Raises Air Pollution Fears in West.

However, it is not just oil and gas, it is also coal-fired power plants.

There is really only one area left in the West where visibility is virtually unimpaired from human impacts. That is Northern Nevada, extreme SW Idaho, and extreme SE Oregon. Guess what is being proposed for Northern Nevada? How convenient. The pollution that doesn’t stay in Nevada will blow over to Utah and SE Idaho.

Here is the info in the a recent BLM newsletter for Nevada. “Energy Development in Eastern Nevada.

New photo of the Agates

Mark Miller, photographer in Gardiner, Montana, sent me a new photo of the Agate Creek Pack in the Lamar Valley. The one I posted recently had some cropping problems (on my end). Hopefully, this one is better.

Alpha Wolf 113M is the large gray wolf on the left side in front of a black wolf. Wolf 472F leads in the photo.

This is a very difficult kind of photo to get because it requires standing in the cold for a long time, and then composing quickly and snap the image.


Photo by Mark Miller. www.markmillerphotos.com

Year of the wolf: 2007 could be decisive year in long-running debate

Year of the wolf: 2007 could be decisive year in long-running debate.” By Whitney Royster. Casper Star-Tribune environmental reporter.

It should be noted that Turnell, much quoted in the article, does not own the Pitchfork Ranch. He is the ranch manager. I understand the owners are out-of-state. The Pitchfork Ranch is not a typical ranch, but a very large and rich ranch that made its money off of oil. The ranch has wildlife all over it, and keeping wolves in the adjacent mountains is like keeping ants from crossing a line you draw on piece of paper.

There has been a big increase in wolves in the area in recent years, probably due to an overabundance of deer. This is a likely corridor for the introduction of chronic wasting disease into the Greater Yellowstone, and by killing weak deer, the wolves may be the only ones in  Wyoming doing anything on-the-ground to stop the dread disease.

Gillet trying again to get wolf removal initiative on Idaho ballot.

New effort to banish wolves from Idaho/ Sponsor of thwarted initiative to try again. By John Miller. AP

Anti-wolf activist Ron Gillet of Stanley, Idaho is going to try again to get enough signatures to put an anti-wolf initiative on the Idaho ballot. According to John Miller’s article, the proposed ballot initiative calls for the state to end all wolf recovery efforts and to remove “all wolves reintroduced into Idaho from Canada to the extent allowed by law.”

If passed, it would violate the Endangered Species Act, and wolf management would pass back to the federal government.

Gillet’s last attempt failed miserably due to lack of valid signatures. He has more time for this effort.

My view is that getting this on the ballot may be a good idea because Idahoans are never given a chance to show how they really feel about wolves. The politicians won’t let them. I think it would be defeated handily, and if not, the wolf would be relisted and the threat of a massive state run, helicopter-based, wolf population slaughter would end.

Biologist: Bison hurt National Elk Refuge at Jackson, WY

Doug Brimeyer, wildlife biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in Jackson, said there are “way too many” bison, and hunters can’t help thin the herd significantly.

This is from the Casper Star Tribune. Story by Whitney Royster.

There is a bison hunt every year on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, adjacent to Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge. However, few bison wander onto the forest. About 30 to 60 bison are killed in the hunt, but the Jackson Hole herd grows by about 150 each year. The size of the herd is approaching 1200.

Unlike the Yellowstone Park bison, the Jackson Hole bison herd is not limited in size by its winter range because they dine all winter on the National Elk Refuge. Also unlike the Yellowstone bison which are persecuted by the state of Montana because a small percentage are actively infected with brucellosis, almost all the bison at the National Elk Refuge are have been infected and many are infectious.

I think a bison reduction is needed in the Jackson Hole area, and preferably by hunting, not another damn helicopter gunship slaughter. If the numbers are not reduced, the bison will eventually be limited by the amount of summer range, a “solution” very damaging to the Grand Teton National Park and its other wildlife.

Idaho’s White Clouds Wilderness Debate to Air on PBS Friday

People are already debating it, the next go around in Congress for CIEDRA, the controversial White Clouds/Boulder Mountains Wilderness bill (with pay-offs to others).

Todd Wilkinson has a good story on the PBS program and the issue in New West.

Update Jan. 5. Given all the interest on this, I grabbed this from congressman Simpson’s web site. I see he has introduced a new version of CIERDA, but it doesn’t seem to be up yet.

Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA)


Slickspot peppergrass

“KT” has posted several times about slickspot peppergrass. I suppose some politicians guffaw when it is mentioned (names that sound unusual are not worth conserving, I suppose).

Today the Western Watersheds Project website put up a good photo essay on slickspot peppergrass and the way the BLM lets it get ruined.

As Costs of Wildfires Grow, So Does a Question: Who Should Pay?

This in the New York Times addresses a growing question because fighting wildfires costs more and more, and most of the cost is to protect structures that have been built, often knowingly, in areas that are very prone to natural fires.

The debate echos that of who should pay for flood damage when people knowingly build in an area prone to flood, to landslide, to avalanche, etc.

As Costs of Wildfires Grow, So Does a Question: Who Should Pay? New York Times. By Kirk Johnson.

The real economy of Custer and Lemhi counties, Idaho

Lemhi and Custer counties are two large sparsely populated counties in central Idaho. Many of the posts to this blog are about events that happen there.

Politicians often like to argue that the folks there are some kind of “real Idaho” — loggers, miners, grazers. There is hardly anyone more strident in this position than one of the state representatives from Challis, Idaho, Lenore Hardy Barrett (district 35). The area has such a low population that she represents not just Custer and Lemhi counties, but Clark, Jefferson, Butte, and part of Fremont County too.

Louise Wagenknecht lives in Barrett’s district, in the small and remote town of Leadore, pronounced LEAD ORE, like the mineral.

Wagenknecht is an author. She and her husband also raise goats and sheep at Leadore. She just wrote an incredible piece for the Idaho Falls Post Register and for this blog. It may well be she demolishes almost all of the myths spun by Rep. Barrett and her kind . . . Ralph Maughan

Read the rest of this entry »