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Light pollution spills into the night sky from various area of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
For millenia now, humans have gazed up at the night sky in search of answers, clarity, and self-awareness. The night sky has always been a treasure chest of wonderment and puzzles, revealing clues not just about our past as a race, but about ourselves as well. Today, the fascination that a dark sky provides has given way to urban sprawl and modern conveniences, consistently keeping us disconnected from finding real meaning in our lives. Our historical amazement at a dark, night sky has now become nothing more than a faded photograph in our increasingly distant past. Dark skies have become a rarity not just in America, but in every developed nation, and are continuing to fade into the abyss of quite often, unnecessary illumination.
Fortunately, there are those who are willing to put everything they have … Continue reading
The gray wolf, 755M, licks his mouth after eating on a carcass in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park.
On Monday, August 19 of 2013, shocking news was reported that the Pine Creek Pack of wolves was held responsible for the deaths of 176 domestic sheep the weekend prior. The reports coming out were startling, and rightfully so. It wound up becoming the largest death of sheep in Idaho’s history. Most news outlets reported that the wolves caused it and it was case closed. Consequently, 13 wolves in the pack, nine of them pups, were put to death and the pileup was left out to lure in other predators to their death as well. The incident may be true and it may not be. The fact is there is a deeper story underneath the surface that begs to be explored.
The sheep belonged to a rancher named J.C. Siddoway. … Continue reading
Boulders overlook the badlands of the McCullough Peaks as the sun rises over the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming.
Driving along Highway 14/16 between Cody, Wyoming and the Bighorn Mountains for most people can be an excruciating experience. Mile after mile yields very little difference in landscape interest as the full stretch offers only a bland, sparsely populated high desert environment with only a small badlands hill sporadically placed across vast distances. As a result, many people would wonder why I would even bring up protecting an area so void of interest. Hidden beyond the main highway, however, is a completely different landscape obscured by its deceptively barren foreground.
Why The McCullough Peaks Herd Management Area?
The drive along the highway brings you parallel to the McCullough Peaks Herd Management Area managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). As mentioned, from the highway, it looks like nothing more … Continue reading
A large bull bison stands in a grassy field in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
It is an unavoidable consequence of living in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. We frequently hear of someone getting too close to an animal and subsequently gored, causing severe injuries. Many onlookers consistently watch the patience of other animals tested to the brink as tourist after tourist almost seem to take pride in pushing the limit of how they can push the temperament of one of the native species, even if it is a one-ton animal. After all, that makes the bragging rights that much more "impressive." Often people are completely oblivious to the health and concern of the animal itself, surrounding it as if it were a decoration set out by one of the park employees for work.
Upon observing this behavior, people often ask, "What on Earth are they thinking?!" The simple answer is, … Continue reading
The Canyon Wolf Pack alpha pair lead their pups along a ridge near Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park.
I won’t waste your time in discussing political agendas and biases for and against the gray wolf. We all know that it is a controversial species that many feel is not at all welcome in nature, despite the fact that it has been an integral part of that very nature for tens of thousands of years. Virtually all of the biases against these mystical creatures comes from a simple misunderstanding of their very nature. In previous posts, I have discussed at length why more wolves are needed across the country and dissected the bias from both standpoints. One key factor I have never laid out in full detail, however, is the trophic cascade of events that happens once wolves reestablish a healthy presence in their chosen environment.
First of all, … Continue reading
The grizzly bear nicknamed "Blondie" searches for food in an open field in Grand Teton National Park.
Predatory animals have the unfortunate consequence of being sensationalized as ruthless, vicious killers lurking behind countless trees and bushes. Their threat is consistently exaggerated in television and movies, while systematically ingraining a sense of wraith and mercilessness in the minds of would-be victims. Grizzly bears especially are often stereotyped as abusing their size and power upon anyone who encroaches on their territory.
Fortunately however, this holds about as much weight as a horribly written Hollywood movie. While grizzly bears can certainly be dangerous, the last thing they, or any animal for that matter, want to do is start a fight. Consider that when your next meal is always uncertain and thus, you never really know when you can replenish your energy, the last thing you would ever do is unnecessarily expend that energy … Continue reading