Cougar shot after killing Utah family’s dog

This should so much not be news!

Park City, Utah (up in the mountains). Cougar shot after killing Utah family’s dog. AP.

This event is so common. People build in cougar habitat and stock their yards with tasty morsels.

There is a similar story in the Bitterroot Valley (actually foothills) of Montana. It seems a cougar killed a pooch on a porch in a Bear Creek dispersed subdivision that is (I looked on Google Earth) hard up against the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, which with the Frank Church Wilderness, is the largest (save one dirt road) Wilderness area in the lower 48 states. That story full of twists and turns and neighborly conflict.

More last minute Administration swipe at the economy and the environment

Mark Rey set to hamstring Western national forests and counties allowing developers to pave Forest Service logging roads for remote subdivisions-

The “Darth Vader” of the national forests is poised to strike again during the Administration’s deaththrows. Former timber lobbyist Rey, who bosses the Forest Service, will try to set in stone the plan to make it easier to turn the remote backcountry to ugly, tax-draining subdivisions.

This is on behalf of Plum Creek Timber who would rather sale for subdivisions their timberlands interspersed with national forest land rather than grow trees. Plum Creek has about 8 million areas, mostly as the result of the 1864 Northern Pacific Land Grant.

This continues the host of housing policies of the Bush Administration which have caused a collapse of the economy of the United States and plunged the entire world into a recession. Fortunately, Obama can reverse this. In fact, he specifically referred to this during has campaigning in Montana.

U.S. Forest Policy Is Set to Change, Aiding Developer. Shift Would Let Firm Pave Logging Roads. By Karl Vick. Washington Post.

Mark Rey

Mark Rey

Update. Plum Creek Backs Off Road Easements in Montana. Timber company tells Missoula County the easement amendments are off the table, just as Mark Rey was ready to go to bat for it. By Matthew Frank, 1-05-09. New West.

2nd update. Forest Service too backs off road easements. By Courtney Lowery. New West.


Sun Ranch Slates 11,000 Acres for Conservation Easement

Sun Ranch Slates 11,000 Acres for Conservation Easement. New West. By David Nolt.

The Sun Ranch, which is at the base of the high scenic Madison Range, has played a major role in keeping this long, beautiful valley, not far from Yellowstone, from subdivision ruin.

Cows or Condos? Neither!

Cows or Condos? Neither! By George Wuerthner. New West.

It must have been 15 years ago when I was visiting Wuerthner at his place in Livingston that he outlined to me the argument he makes in the New West guest opinion above.

I’ve been thinking about it ever since, especially when I am out on the edge of the rural sprawl or in an especially nasty cow burnt, hell place, which may certainly be in the wide open spaces!

I think George is right on all counts. It is a false choice, especially if you are interested the conservation of wildlife. If you have to make the choice, it should usually be accept the development.