New Yellowstone Country group created to inspire Greater Yellowstone residents

People want to be proud to live in such great country, but they need to be inspired-

It’s a sad day when a small economic activity can such as running cattle on the range can trump wild buffalo, elk, trout, grizzly bears, and can continue to dominate and desecrate the Yellowstone country’s great mountains, rivers, and valleys, and people who love the call of the outdoors usually can’t seem to get together to defend what they cherish.

There is a reason for it — the Hollywood myth that made cowpersons into some kind of icon, when their real goal is to make the West, and Yellowstone as well just as tame as a pasture in the middle of Indiana.

As a Yellowstone Park naturalist and later bear education ranger, young Michael Leach saw how visitors, including local people, would come alive when he helped them open their eyes, ears, hands and hearts to the absolutely unique country they were in.

Seeing the change that usually came over local people when they were given just a little information, Leach left the park service in October of 07 and founded the Yellowstone Country Guardians.

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A Western State of Mind

With Sarah Palin on the ticket, all the old myths about the West are out there, especially the beauty, adventure, independent streak, self-reliance. These are contradictory of course.

One very important competing myth that has actually been close to fact is the West as a ward of the federal government. It was largely true in the past for much of the Interior West, and three times true for Alaska, one reason why the same corrupt political elite has ruled the state for many years. They brought come “the bacon” from Washington, the earmarks. Palin says she defeated the “old boy” network. That’s partially true, but she didn’t change the rules about seeking federal projects any more than she killed the “bridge to nowhere.” She was just going to be more honest about it, or less corrupt, or something like that.

For years the group most intent on stripping away the federal subsidies from much of the West has been the conservationists who went after taxpayer subsidized below cost timber sales, excessive federal roadbuilding on the public lands, irrigation dams that never came close to repaying their cost with the new crops grown, scores of subsidies to livestock operators, from predator control, token grazing fees, to entire colleges of the land grant universities devoted to trying to make agriculture in the interior West profitable with subsidization.

Some western projects did pay their way.  The ward of the federal government myth is entirely true. Most importantly it doesn’t have the political backing that the anti-fed, rugged individual myth does. But think about it the latter next time you hear some self sufficient, rugged, outdoors wise person from Idaho, Montana or Wyoming say they are scared of wolves — lousy, rotten myth destroyer! 😉

Story in the New York Times on this subject. A Western State of Mind. By Katerine Roberts.

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NYT: “The sorry myth of brucellosis”

While it doesn’t directly address “the deal,” “the breakthrough,” the NYT just printed The Sorry Myth of Brucellosis.

The editorial is about Wyoming, not bison and Montana, but the media are starting to notice the connection between brucellosis and the dominance of the livestock industry.