My fellow travelers swore they could see the Mountain Goats on the rocks with the naked eye. Yeah…right.
They are cute, aren’t they!? This little guy and a friend were in the road, right in front of me, so I stopped to let them get over to the delicious grasses. Thanks for coming close enough for me to see you, Mountain Goats!!
This is our daily open thread — Talk amongst yourselves.
So I’m driving along Going To The Sun Road, headed up to Logan’s Pass along with several dozen other cars and “jammers” (red tour buses), and we’re stopped not far from our destination by road construction. The flagger said it would be about 30 minutes — 30 minutes!!?? Well, alrighty then.
Okay, so stretch the legs for a while, listen to the “jammer” driver talk to her blue-haired charges about how the famous red tour buses got their name — they used to have to double clutch every time they changed gears, which was a lot on that road, but since they were updated (under the hood only) in the last few years, the only thing they’re jamming inside as many riders as possible — listen to the sounds of water running un-seen and birds singing, watch the butterflies sampling the wildflowers, and take a bunch of pictures.
In the above picture, you can see the ongoing road construction on the left side of the photo, and Bird Woman Falls is peeking out from between the trees in the middle. Bird Woman Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in Glacier National Park, and it’s fed by melting snow and the remainder of a glacier on Mount Oberlin, and is an excellent example of a hanging valley, wherein two glaciers have flowed into or past one another. Imagine the size of the glacier that scraped that huge chunk out of Mount Oberlin…
The Obama administration has lifted protections for gray wolves in a handful of Western states. Soon, it could be hunting season on them once again.
Fifteen years after gray wolves were successfully reintroduced to Yellowstone and a separate expanse of wilderness in central Idaho, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Monday implemented a decision made previously by the Bush administration to formally remove these wolves from the federal list of endangered species in Montana and Idaho. A coalition of environmental groups led by the green law firm Earthjustice says it intends to seek an injunction in US district court to reverse the delisting decision. They argue it is both premature and grants states, including Idaho and others, a license to start killing large numbers of wolves using hunters and, potentially, aerial sharpshooters. A year ago, when wolves were briefly delisted until environmentalists overturned that decision in court, more than 100 were shot regionwide in a matter of weeks. Some were run down and trampled by snowmobilers in Wyoming who won praise as local folk heroes.
Few wildlife advocates dispute Salazar’s assertion that, with more than 1,645 wolves in the northern Rockies today, their restoration rate is one of the greatest conservation achievements in US history. Except for a few packs that wandered back and forth along the Canadian border, gray wolves were wiped out in the West by the middle of the 20th century. The original goal of a restoration plan written by the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1994 was to have 100 to 150 wolves in each state. Today, there are an estimated 500 wolves in Montana, 850 in Idaho, and 300 in Wyoming. Environmentalists maintain that biological recovery will be complete once the population reaches between 2,000 and 5,000, while ranchers and some state officials insist the current number is already way too high.
In Idaho, Republican governor Butch Otter has endorsed a proposal to halve the state’s wolf population of 88 packs and more than 1,000 individuals (counting new pups born this spring). Otter has said he plans to apply for a wolf-hunting permit so he can be the first Idahoan to fell a wolf. The governor claims that wolves have taken a huge toll on big game animals, namely elk-even though his own fish and game agency noted recently that elk numbers in Idaho are actually meeting or surpassing population objectives in most areas.
This is Terry Reed’s way of protesting presidential candidate Barack Obama. Mr. Reed who owns a construction and excavation company decided to park a trailer load of manure across the street from Whitehall’s Democratic campaign office on Saturday.
He also posted a sign in the manure mocking Obama’s “change we can believe in” slogan as “a load of crap.” “I think Obama’s plan is just one big old poop sandwich and we’re all going to have to take a bite,” he said.