Copper Basin, Idaho

This high valley, surrounded by sky-raking mountains for about 330 degrees is one of the most scenic in Idaho if you don’t look down. Link to Google Maps.

For a hundred years it has been abused by livestock. The situation is so bad that they even range far above timberline in the adjacent Pioneer Mountains, Idaho’s second highest mountain range. It have seen them crapping in Idaho’s highest lake — Goat Lake — beneath Standhope Peak.

All of Idaho’s native wildlife persists here (except grizzly bears), but in small numbers. For a number of years various Copper Basin wolf packs have formed and taken a few cattle (mostly calves) now and again. They have been controlled and controlled, but they keep coming back much to the apparent dislike of Idaho’s new governor Butch Otter, who apparently had a “show me” tour at the courtesy of livestock politicians last summer.

He emerged vowing to wipe out the wolves.

More and more people are thinking we should (legally) wipe out the cattle. This valley could dwarf Yellowstone’s Lamar with the abundance of fish and wildlife and beauty if the cows were gone.


Pronghorn in Copper Basin. Numbers are not large, but the variety of wildlife is great. Photo © copyright Ralph Maughan

I’ve seen pronghorn at 9800 feet in the adjacent Pioneer Mtns. (beneath Scorpion Mountain). There are moose despite the trashed out condition of the beaver ponds from cattle. I predict the moose population would explode in a few years, if the cows were gone.


Goat Lake, elev 10,438 feet with Standhope Peak on the far side (just short of 12,000 feet). Cattle are allowed to graze the "lush" pastures 😉 in the photo. © copyright Ralph Maughan

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Great Victory!! Supremes say EPA can legally limit emissions of carbon dioxide

In a huge blow to George Bush, the fossil fuel industry, and the backwards-looking US auto industry, the Supreme Court, in a much watched case, has ruled 5-4 that the Clean Air Act “clearly allows the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide as a form of air pollution.”

As we all know, CO2 is not a traditional pollutant. It is harmless to breathe. It is part of our basic biological processes and that of all almost all plants and animals. Unfortunately, the “carbon cycle” in nature, as it’s called, is out of whack. More carbon from combustion of fossil fuels is added to the system every year than is removed. Thus, it builds up in the atmosphere.

Court rules against Bush in global warming case. Reuters.

By James Vicini

. . . And this on the politics of Global Warming. From The The Hill is a non-partisan partially subscription magazine that covers events on Capitol Hill exclusively. GOP should catch up with constituents [on global warming]. By Mark Mellman. The Hill.

NYT Times tells Kempthorne the ESA is a law Not to be Trifled With

Editorial in today’s New York Times.

Posted in politics. Comments Off on NYT Times tells Kempthorne the ESA is a law Not to be Trifled With

Zimo: Idaho Wolf-watching is a hit-and-miss game

There are a lot of wolves in central Idaho, and not especially hard to find if you have watched wolves in Yellowstone (unless you find them in the Park by looking for large crowds of people with scopes). You have to be a bit woods wise. Don’t expect to see them run across the highway in front of your in the middle of the day.

I haven’t been giving locations of Idaho wolves with the governor out there gunning for them, so to speak, but south central Idaho is probably the the best because the country is more open like Yellowstone’s northern range.

Pete Zimowsky of the Idaho Statesman tells of his recent experiences near Stanley where there are two wolf packs with more down the Salmon River Canyon.  This is the spring and summer to watch because next year the governor might have the majority killed off. After there is a wolf hunt, they will be less visiable regardless.