For more than a century, the core mission of the National Park Service has been preserving the natural heritage of the United States. But now, as the planet warms, transforming ecosystems, the agency is conceding that its traditional goal of absolute conservation is no longer viable in many cases.
Late last month the service published an 80-page document that lays out new guidance for park managers in the era of climate change. The document, along with two peer-reviewed papers, is essentially a tool kit for the new world. It aims to help park ecologists and managers confront the fact that, increasingly, they must now actively choose what to save, what to shepherd through radical environmental transformation and what will vanish forever.
“The concept of things going back to some historical fixed condition is really just no longer tenable,” said Patty Glick, a senior scientist for climate adaptation at the National Wildlife Federation and one of the lead authors of the document.
This article from NPR really puts efforts like the Glacier Park “quiet skies” initiative in context . . .
There are thousands of parks, refuges and wilderness areas in the U.S. that are kept in something close to their natural state. But one form of pollution isn’t respecting those boundaries: man-made noise. New research based on recordings from 492 protected natural areas reveals that they’re awash in noise pollution.
Researchers from Colorado State University spent years making the recordings by setting out microphones in natural areas across the country. They caught all sorts of wildlife sounds, such as rutting elk and howling wolves. But they were also after “background” sound — wind, rain, birdsong, flowing streams and rivers, even bubbling mudpots in Yellowstone National Park.
They compared the decibel level of this natural background with the intrusive noisiness from human activity. And they have discovered that in two-thirds of the places they studied, the median decibel level of man-made sound was double the normal background sound. These were sounds that came from within the area, such as road traffic, as well from as outside, such as passing jets or mining and logging equipment.
Many of you will remember Roger Semler who was Glacier Park’s Polebridge district ranger several years ago. After a 10-year stint with the state of Montana, he is moving back over to the Park Service to head their wilderness stewardship division . . .
Longtime Montana outdoors ranger and manager Roger Semler has been appointed director of the National Park Service’s wilderness stewardship division in Washington, D.C.
Semler spent the past 10 years with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks as chief of operations for state parks.
Before that, he was the wilderness manager for Glacier National Park and the Polebridge district ranger. He also served at Katmai National Monument, Hawaii Volcano National Park and Gates of the Arctic National Park.
Concerns over protection of migratory wildlife are growing . . .
The National Park Service and the country’s leading wildlife experts are developing a plan to conserve migrating wildlife as it moves through protected areas, sometimes crossing vast regions of the globe to reach birthing and feeding grounds.
Unveiled in a paper published last week in Conservation Biology, the plan details the need for more collaboration between the NPS, local governments and public landowners.
If migratory species are to survive the slow creep of human development, the plan adds, conservation efforts must begin sooner than later, and the public must have a participatory role.
The Park Service has bought out the second largest remaining inholding in Glacier Park . . .
The National Park Service has acquired the second largest privately owned property remaining in Glacier National Park, the park service announced Monday.
The Trust for Public Land bought the 120-acre homestead property named Doody Ranch on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River near Harrison Lake. The property was purchased for $900,000 and sold to the park service for the same amount using royalties from offshore energy leases.