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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