Arnica Fire Update. Oct. 1, 2009

Post Labor Day Yellowstone construction and fire have made an unnecessary hardship-
Now this in combination with snow has all but closed the Park early-

Yesterday you enjoyed Dusty Road’s photos of the Arnica Fire taken from Yellowstone Lake (on a boat), but Dusty, a local resident, has more to say. Ralph Maughan

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Road Closure Intermittent Due to Arnica Fire
Incident: Arnica Fire WildfireReleased: 9 hrs. ago

On Thursday, October 1st, the road from Bridge Bay to West Thumb will be open for visitor travel with a pilot car between 6-8 a.m., 1200-1 p.m., and 6-8 p.m., delays may be expected. Other area roads are impacted by weather. Dunraven Pass is closed due to snow. Madison to Norris is closed due to construction. Snow tires are required from East Entrance to Lake.


Arnica Fire Update  October 1, 2009.

10,700 acres.
By Dusty Roads. copyrighted.

The major problem with this whole situation is a display of questionable management decisions on the part of the park administration.  Since August 17th of this year the eastern portion of the north loop in the park has been closed for the construction of the new bridge at Gibbon Falls which means that ALL traffic through the park must travel around the Grand Loop via the eastern side to the southern segment from the northern portion to get to Old Faithful  or the west and south.  The eastern and southernmost portions of the route had become the only way  to access any of the northern part of the park from the west gate.  For those who visualize by landmarks: to get to the west entrance from Gardiner, instead of going from Mammoth to Norris to Madison Jct. you have to go over Dunraven Pass and then on over Craig Pass via West Thumb and past Old Faithful to get to Madison Jct. or south to Grand Teton NP.  It’s 49 miles from Gardiner to West Yellowstone otherwise.  At this point travel from the West and South Entrances ore cut off from the rest of the park except when the pilot action is taking place.  With Dunraven closed, well, I think most can figure that out.

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Loss of top predators causing surge in smaller predators, ecosystem collapse

There are going to be predators. Do you want a few big ones, or lots of smaller ones?

Loss of top predators causing surge in smaller predators, ecosystem collapse. Oregon State University news lease on research by Dr. William Ripple.

My comments . . .

Although in a few places such as Idaho and Montana large predators like wolves and grizzly bears are being increased against formidable political resistance, the worldwide trend is for them to disappear and be replaced by a larger number of medium sized or smaller predators.

Most people don’t understand that predators will never disappear, nor will parasites, etc. Human pressure to exterminate them shifts the advantage to another animal that tends to fill that ecological niche, although often with many unanticipated and undesirable side effects.

Idaho man illegally shot at wolf pack from the sky

Idaho Department of Game declines to prosecute.

Domestic Sheep © Ken Cole

Domestic Sheep © Ken Cole

Aerial gunning of wolves by private individuals is strictly forbidden under the Airborne Hunting Act of 1956. Even though states are allowed to issue permits to individuals to shoot coyotes and foxes from aircraft there are no permits which allow the shooting of wolves.

In Idaho, the Idaho Sheep Commission, which acts under the Idaho Department of Agriculture, issues aerial hunting permits to ranchers. The Executive Secretary of the Idaho Sheep Commission is Stan Boyd who also is listed as the Executive Director of the Idaho Wool Growers Association, an industry group. Robert Ball, who is part owner of Ball Brother’s Sheep Inc, as is Carl Ball, is also listed as a commissioner for the Idaho Sheep Commission as well as a member of the board of directors of the Idaho Wool Growers Association.

Wolf © Ken Cole

Wolf © Ken Cole

The incident happened over the lands, and under the authority, of Idaho State Senator Jeff Siddoway who is the sponsor of the Bighorn Sheep Kill Bill 1232. The Siddoway Sheep Company Incorporated, which is partially owned by the Senator, received $865,952 in agricultural subsidies between the years 1995-2006.

It would seem that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game should prosecute issue citation[s] in this case and, from my understanding, the US Fish and Wildlife Service can prosecute issue citation[s] in this case as well since Federal law is involved.

Idaho man illegally shot at wolf pack from the sky
John Miller Associated Press

UPDATE: Here is the report. acrobat pdf

Big Victory for Slickspot Peppergrass!

Rare plant will receive protection across its entire range.


Slickspot Peppergrass (Lepidium papilliferum) © Ken Cole

Slickspot Peppergrass (Lepidium papilliferum) © Ken Cole

October 1, 2009


Todd Tucci, Advocates for the West (208) 342-7024
Jon Marvel, Western Watersheds Project (208) 788-2290
Katie Fite, Western Watersheds Project (208) 429-1679


Boise, Idaho – Conservation groups applauded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Secretary Salazar for living up to their promise to let science – and not politics – determine whether Slickspot peppergrass warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act, when the Service announced its intention to protect Slickspot peppergrass as a threatened species.

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Beginning today all of Idaho is open to wolf hunting

So far 15 have been killed-

Here is the story with a local angle from the Idaho Mountain Express. By Jon Duval. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer.

With colder weather and more elk hunts open too, the pace of the wolf hunt will probably pick up.