January 29, 2008

The Bison of the Greater Yellowstone Region

By Daryl L. Hunter

bison tetons.jpgThe Greater Yellowstone ecosystem is the only place in the lower 48 states where an endemic population of wild bison has survived since prehistoric times. Perhaps no other animal symbolizes the American West like the American bison. In prehistoric times millions of these quintessential creatures of the plains roamed the North America from northern Canada, south into Mexico and from Atlantic to the pacific. No one knows how many bison were in America before Columbus arrived but the guesstimate is about sixty million. They were the largest community of wild animals that the world has ever known. For a good part of the 1800s bison were considered to be in limitless supply.

After the Civil War the push to settle the west was on, new army posts were established, coinciding with the westward push of the railroads. The army and railroads contracted with local men to supply buffalo meat to feed the troops and construction laborers.

Bison were hunted nearly to extinction in the late 1800’s ---------------------------> More

January 28, 2008

A Deist Among The Mormons

I live in a beautiful rural valley of 700 people in eastern Idaho and after I came to live here I found out that Utah isn’t the only place that is fifty percent Mormon.

As a compulsively inquisitive geo-political junkie I decided to look through the Book of Mormon so I could learn a little about the belief of my neighbors. As with any outsider looking into another’s faith, I found many outlandish passages that would require faith to swallow, however, this is a characteristic that all religions share. What I have learned of my Mormon neighbors in the years since my voyeuristic venture into the sacred book of the LDS Church is more telling. My anecdotal experiences have revealed to me that I couldn’t have better neighbors or live in a finer community.

Although I can’t achieve faith, I admire, and may be envious of those who do. One of the problems I find in my on going analysis of life and faith is the paradoxical dichotomy of religion that fosters the Achilles Heel of human nature, “tribalism.” The tribalism of religion pits one religion against another, hence 99% of the worlds problems. The tribalism of Evangelicals is undermining the ability of their conservative brethren, the Mormons, to carry forward the flag of conservatism and I find this as an affront to common sense-----------------------> More

January 07, 2008

North Yellowstone’s Winter Road

howling-wolf, Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National ParkWinter in Yellowstone is truly a wonderful thing to experience, its deep snows, bitter cold, abundant wildlife and stark beauty can imprint memories that can last a lifetime.

Access to Yellowstone in winter is the problem, it has become illegal to take a private snowmobile into Yellowstone and very few of us have snow coaches of our own or are capable of marathon ski expeditions too access Yellowstone’s winter wonders, but it is not as inaccessible as many think.

The snowmobiling destination resort of Cooke City and Silver Gate Montana need groceries regularly to keep its citizens alive so Yellowstone Park maintains winter access to these communities. US-212 can be accessed through Yellowstone’s north entrance in Gardner Montana, so Yellowstone visitors can access a smidgen of Yellowstone’s treasures in winter by car.-----------------------> More