Wolves in Oregon: Don’t be so quick on the trigger

Opinion in the Oregonian-

The Oregonian is the state’s leading newspaper. They printed an editorial telling the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife not to be so quick to kill wolves just because some livestock were killed.  That is fine with me, but I’d really see the additional argument that in deciding to kill from among the small number of Oregon wolves, there ought to be some attempt to kill those wolves likely to actually have done the deed, and to do so within a reasonable time.  Otherwise it is just revenge.

Unlike what the paper writes of Idaho and Montana which they think of as places where experience has been gained in controlling wolves, these states now make almost no attempt to match depredations with wolves.  They just go in and kill entire packs for any tiny reason.

Presumably we are not medievalists who believe in retribution against animals of a species because of the acts of one or two of the members, but all we have to do is examine some of the policies now in force to see that those in power are not far from that mindset.

Wolves in Oregon: Don’t be so quick on the trigger. Saturday, July 10, 2010, 3:35 PM. PDT
The Oregonian Editorial Board

A Valles Caldera National Park At Long Last?

Famed former Baca Ranch could emerge as national park after failed “free market” experiment-

I have never been to this famous New Mexico supervolcano area with its scenic, but degraded grasslands and forests.  The area is notable for its elk, but the herd is much smaller than it could be due to the competition with livestock.

In 2000 this former ranch was purchased by the U.S. government to become a national preserve, but under the rules of right wing ideology.  The former ranch, as a preserve, was to be managed by the Valles Caldera Trust.  It was supposed to be run much like a ranch — generate its own income by grazing, logging, oil and gas, and maybe geothermal development, and expensive visitor fees. These are hardly the rules the public expects for land it bought for scenic and environmental protection.

At the time, I wrote the whole thing off as a waste of money doomed to fail, and I forgot about it.  I was right. The area could not support itself financially without destroying its amenities. Today it is overgrazed and too expensive to use, and the local public wants it transferred to the National Park Service to restore it and allow affordable public access.

There is a bill before Congress (S.3452) by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Tom Udall (D-NM) to transfer it to the Park Service.  If it becomes a national park, or some other public land unit, it will have to be rehabilitated.

RLMiller at Daily Kos has written a number of articles about it. Here is his latest. Hike On: A Valles Caldera National Park At Long Last? July 3, 2010

Grizzly bears prompt camping closure in popular Upper Green River area

Varied and numerous grizzly activity closes national forest camping from forest boundary to well past Green River Lakes-

I remember when the nearest grizzlies were 20 miles to the north of here.  I am glad to see grizzlies have returned in strength to the Wind River Mountains.  I hope they get these problems worked out before long.  This is a very scenic area.

Story from the Casper Star Tribune.

Livestock–the elephant in the room when it comes to weeds

The role livestock plays spreading wildlife harming weeds in the Rockies should be obvious-

Livestock–the elephant in the room when it comes to weeds. By George Wuerthner. New West.

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My comments:

Weeds are of great harm to ungulates.

Rangeland cattle in particular are culprits. They cause bare patches of soil where weeds get started. They trample the seeds in.  They move them to new places in their cow flops. I took this photo last year and posted it here.  I think it makes the point.