Posted on June 15, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Draft study open for public comment
A bison in the grasslands of Badlands National Park.
FRISCO — Wildlife managers in Montana are exploring options for restoring bison to parts of the state where they haven’t roamed in more than 100 years.
Bison were nearly eliminated from their historic range more than a century ago. By the late 1890s, only 1,000 bison remained in North America, and most of these animals were held on private ranches where they were interbred with cattle. By 1902, only 25 bison remained in the wild in the U.S., seeking refuge deep within Yellowstone National Park. Today, this Yellowstone herd numbers around 4,500 animals. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: Bison, bison restoration, Montana, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Grizzly bear poaching leads to $30,000 fine. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Poacher admits crime, ask investigators for hides
FRISCO — A Montana man recently convicted of illegally killing three grizzly bears apparently didn’t get the endangered species message.
Everett Skunkcap, 75, of Browning, Montana, admitted the poaching to wildlife investigators, then asked if he could have the hides After the investigation. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Skunkcap said he was going to “tan them and put them on the wall [as a] souvenir for what [he] did.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: endangered species, grizzly bears, Montana, poaching, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 19, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Wildlife advocates seek wider restoration
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Despite polls showing widespread public support for relocating Yellowstone bison to start herds in appropriate locations across the state, the National Park Service has once again started rounding up wild bison for slaughter.
The animals wander out of the park each winter searching for food at lower elevations. This year’s killing program is slated to be the largest in seven years to cap the bison population in the park at 3,500, part of a settlement with the state of Montana over now-discredited concerns about brucellosis and carrying capacity.
The late-December poll showed that 67 percent of Montanans support relocating Yellowstone bison rather than killing them. It also also found that 68 percent of Montanans view bison as wildlife and 72 percent believe bison should be managed like the state’s other wildlife species. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Bison, Environment, Montana, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 6, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
An Arctic grayling in the Gulkana River, Paxson, Alaska. Photo courtesy USGS.
Conservation groups say the river fish needs endangered species protection
FRISCO — Wrangling over the fate Montana’s Arctic grayling will continue in court, as conservation groups this week challenged a federal finding that the fish don’t need Endangered Species Act protection.
Graylings are part of the salmon family, native to cold freshwater streams and rivers across Canada and Alaska, with a genetically distinct population in Montana that was nearly wiped out by the 1970s. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Arctic grayling, endangered species, Environment, Montana, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 17, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Montana court says bison are not livestock
A Yellowstone bison. Photo courtesy National Park Service.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A Montana district court judge this month rejected yet another attempt by ranchers to block the restoration of bison in the northern plains. The ranchers sought to have wild bison classified as livestock rather than wildlife, but Montana District Judge John McKeon ruled last week that wild bison are wildlife under state law — regardless of their confinement in quarantine.
A legal classification as livestock would have transferred jurisdiction over quarantined bison from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to the Montana Department of Livestock—a move that threatened to impede any future efforts to restore native bison as a wildlife species in appropriate portions of their historic habitat.
“This ruling rightly discredits what amounted to a stealth attack on future efforts to restore wild bison in Montana,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso, who represented Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Federation in opposing Citizens for Balanced Use’s argument. “Wild bison are classified as wildlife under Montana law. Now it is time to restore wild bison as wildlife on the Montana landscape.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, national parks, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: Bison, bison restoration, Montana, Yellowstone National Park | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A bison grazes near a highway in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A long-running battle over Yellowstone bison was at least partly resolved this week, as a Montana judge upheld a state policy allowing the animals to roam outside Yellowstone National Park without facing harassment and death.
The state rules were challenged by ranchers opposed to allowing bison to graze in the Gardiner Basin, just north of the park, important habitat in the winter and early spring. Federal and state biologists decided last year to allow bison seasonal access until May 1 of each year, opening critical foraging lands when higher elevations in the park lack spring grasses for bison and other grazing animals.
“Today’s ruling represents a victory for all those who want to see wild bison as a living part of the Montana landscape,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso, who defended the bison policy in the case on behalf of the Bear Creek Council, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and Natural Resources Defense Council. “The Yellowstone region’s bison herds are the descendants of the last wild bison in the American West, and today they stand as some of the last genetically pure bison in the world. The court rejected the idea that the law requires slaughtering these magnificent animals whenever they cross the park boundary.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, national parks, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: Earthjustice, Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Montana, north american bison, wandering bison, Yellowstone National Park | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 14, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Cutbank Valley in Glacier National Park. Photo courtesy National Park Service.
Wintry weather hampers rescue crews
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Winter-like weather in the northern Rockies has hampered the search for two missing hikers in Glacier National Park. The two men, 32-year-old Neal Peckens from Virginia and 32-year-old Jason Hiser from Maryland, were reported missing Oct. 12 when they missed their flight home.
National Park Service rangers believe the men departed from the North Shore Trailhead at Two Medicine on Tuesday, October 9. According to their backcountry permit, the men planned to camp at the Oldman Backcountry Campground on Tuesday night and return to Two Medicine on Wednesday, October 10. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, national parks, public lands, Travel | Tagged: Glacier National Park, Jason Hiser, missing hikers, Montana, National Park Service, Neal Peckens, search and rescue | 1 Comment »