Here’s a nice article in the Daily Inter Lake discussing a set of wildlife management reports issued recently by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks . . .
The grizzly drew crowds in October as it prepared for denning by grazing with gusto in an oats field south of Polebridge along the North Fork Road.
As is often true in such encounters, a few spectators who acted recklessly in a quest for close-up photos created problems for the bear. Some people approached to within 20 feet of the grizzly, a subadult male, according to witnesses.
Ultimately, after attempts to haze the bear failed, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks decided to capture and move the bear. The animal was fitted with a GPS collar and released at Packers Roost in Glacier National Park.
If you wish to become well-informed about light pollution and the dark skies initiative, this article by Ethan Siegel is an excellent place to start. Dr. Siegel is a well known “science writer, astrophysicist, science communicator & NASA columnist.” . . .
For most of us here on planet Earth, navigating the world at night is just a little more challenging than during daytime. Without the Sun’s bright light to illuminate our world, our eyes do their best to adapt. Our color-sensing cones move back in our eyes while the monochrome-sensitive rods move forward. Our pupils dilate to larger diameters, letting more light in. Even in the wild, the Moon and stars provide enough light for a sufficiently dark-adapted eye to make out shapes and objects.
Evolutionarily, this was a spectacularly useful adaptation. Human vision may be optimally suited to daytime vision, but the ways our eyes adjust also allow us to perceive the Universe far beyond our world. Unfortunately, our connection with the night sky has been severed by a truly human endeavor: artificial lighting. While the benefits to public safety and commerce are inarguable, the tradeoff is unnecessary. Light pollution may a worse problem than ever, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
From a truly dark site — on a moonless night where there’s less artificial light generated on Earth than is incoming from the night sky — thousands of stars, multiple planets, the plane of the Milky Way galaxy, and up to four other galaxies beyond our own can be seen. Yet dark sites are becoming harder and harder to find, as the rise in artificial lighting has followed humanity wherever our species has settled. 80% of the entire world, including 99% of Europe and the United States, lives under light-polluted skies, where the Milky Way is never visible even under ideal weather conditions.
Disease and migration have reduced the wolf population in Yellowstone National Park by half since 2003 . . .
The gray wolf population in Yellowstone National Park has dropped to about 80 wolves, officials say — less than half of the high population mark in the park.
While Yellowstone leaders won’t have an accurate count until the fall after surviving pups are visible, the park’s top biologist doesn’t expect numbers to rise dramatically after litters are included in population estimates.
“Unfortunately, many of them die. Gray pup survival is about 7 percent,” Doug Smith, long-time project leader for the Wolf Restoration Project in Yellowstone, said in a Wednesday video broadcast on the park’s Facebook page.
Hecla Mining, which is trying to establish two mines on the edge of the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, lost a round in district court last week . . .
A Lewis and Clark County District Court judge has struck down a water permit issued by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation for the proposed Rock Creek Mine near Noxon.
The decision by Judge Kathy Seeley last week is the latest in a series of setbacks for Idaho-based Hecla Mining Company, which is trying to permit and develop two copper and silver mines in Northwest Montana. But environmental groups cheered the decision and said it was a major step forward in protecting the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness, which sits directly above the proposed mines.
“The court’s rulings safeguards some of the purest waters in the lower 48 from the destructive impacts threatened by the Rock Creek Mine,” said Earthjustice attorney Katherine O’Brien. “The ruling also affirms that the state’s job is to protect Montana’s waters from the benefits of all Montanans — not to give those waters away to corporate interests without taking a hard look at the impacts.”
Researchers have developed a new tool to spot huckleberry patches in Glacier Park . . .
The average huckleberry is about as big around as a pencil eraser. But now we can spot them from space.
Several years of refinement have allowed researchers in Glacier National Park to tease apart landscape photos and pinpoint huckleberry patches. The method works on both aerial and satellite photos.
That could qualify as classified intelligence for some secrecy-bound huckleberry hunters. U.S. Geological Survey research ecologist Tabitha Graves and biologist Nate Michael joked they could be endangering themselves by revealing berry hot spots.
Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow has selected Pete Webster to be the park’s new deputy superintendent.
Webster will be responsible for leading the park’s division chiefs in identifying park priorities, addressing complex operational challenges, and long-range planning. In recent years the park has faced numerous challenges related to rising visitation, invasive species threats, and wildfires among others.
He has served as the chief ranger at Yellowstone National Park since 2015.
“Pete has proven himself to be an exceptional leader in the National Park Service,” said Superintendent Jeff Mow. “We are very fortunate he’s accepted this new post to offer expertise on some of our most challenging operations.”
Webster and his family have strong ties to the Glacier region. While still in college, he first moved to St. Mary in 1986-87 for a summer job at a local hotel. Webster returned to Glacier as an intern in 1988, as a seasonal park ranger from 1991-93, and as the sub-district ranger in St. Mary from 2004-08.
A native of the Detroit, Michigan area, Webster holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. He and his wife Dawn will live in the Flathead Valley with their youngest son, who will enter high school in the fall.
He replaces Eric Smith who moved to Texas last fall to serve as superintendent of Lake Meredith National Recreation Area and Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument.
Here’s a fascinating interview with Roland Cheek, a local writer and long-time outfitter in the Bob Marshall Wilderness . . .
Roland Cheek clung to his dream even when his tenacity caused marital strife, threatened his family’s financial stability, lodged him crosswise with the U.S. Forest Service and pushed him to the edge of exhaustion.
Adversity made regular visits during his early years as an outfitter and guide in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
Roland embraced tenacity again later when he decided to become a writer, even though he had limited formal education and had twice flunked English in high school.