Putting the “public” back in the land

This is a link to an article by Mcjoan in the Daily Kos. It is about the importance of public land, and the need for the Democrats to be smart about this issue, which they often were not over the last 20 years. A stance defending the public lands can be a winner for them, but to use the tired phrase, “the Democrats have often snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.”

First a comment of my own. Have you noticed Bush never uses the word “public,” and rarely “citizen.” It’s always “the American people,” as in “I’m working to defend the American people from the terrorists.” This is an important difference from past Presidents because “a people” can also be the subjects of a king or a dictator, while citizens are never subjects. With a king there is no public, and the people are his subjects.

I don’t think this is just a matter of Bush’s rhetorical style.

Wolf story from Specimen Ridge

Most good wolf sightings are from the road in the Lamar Valley area. Wolves hear hikers and move out of sight, but not always. Trent Morrell sent me this most interesting account of a recent hike on Specimen Ridge in Yellowstone Park.

In early October, me and two of my friends traveled from Portland, Oregon to explore the Lamar Valley for three days of day hikes.

The first day, Friday 10/12/07, we chose to hike the Specimen Ridge Trail. We had hiked it the summer of 2006 and were looking forward to doing it in the fall.

As we climbed up the first mile, we saw over 100 elk hanging on the ridge line with many big bulls still bugling. Amped up, we continued to the top of the ridge glassing the elk frequently and listening to the never-ending bugles. Once on the ridge line, we followed the trail along the top admiring the huge elk antlers that had been shed. We saw more and more elk.

About three miles in from the trail head we rounded a corner to a flat point. Here we had a herd of about twenty elk about 40 yards at 12 o’clock, about fifty bison 250 yards below us in a meadow at 2 o’clock, about 20 bison 60 yards below us at 9 o’clock and next to them a herd of about twenty elk. In the area between the elk herd at 12 o’clock and the bison and elk herd at 9 o’clock was a thicket of trees. We had not even been there a minute when out of the thicket shot a wolf up a small hill and into the herd of elk at 12 o’clock. Then shot another wolf and another up into the elk. It was hard to tell, but at least six wolves came out of the thicket.

We watched in disbelief as two of the wolves separated a young cow elk from the herd and chased it down a hill to the bison at 2 o’clock. The young elk ran into the herd of bison. It ran back and forth from each side of the bison herd as the two wolves tried to get to it. The bison would not allow the wolves to get to the elk, but eventually the elk ran out of the herd of bison. Read the rest of this entry »