PROPS & DISSES: The bear maximum

By on June 26, 2013


The bear maximum: trapping more griz   DISS

Wyoming Game and Fish is at it again. Their all-out campaign to “monitor” the grizzly bear by trapping every last one of them and affixing them with radio collars so the location of Yogi and Boo-Boo can be known at any given time is in full swing. Trapping efforts by G&F, along with USFS, BLM, and the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, began in the Dubois area last month. Joint team members are also trapping grizzly down in Pinedale.

And just when it seems wildlife managers would run out of leg snares, Game and Fish regional supervisor Alan Osterland told Ruffin Prevost of the Yellowstone Gate that his department is on the hunt for a sow griz that knocked around a Cody man last week.

Nic Patrick, 63, was irrigating fields near his home about 21 miles southwest of Cody when his dog provoked a sow grizzly with two cubs. The grizzly chased the dog until it encountered Patrick. Thanks a lot, man’s best friend.

An investigation is ongoing, according to Game and Fish, but Osterland did say his agency was looking to trap the bear to determine if it had a history of unprovoked violence. First of all, the griz seemed to be acting completely within reason for a sow with cubs. Secondly, if the bear had a history of bad behavior it would very likely already be tagged, so officials could simply look for a radio-collared griz with cubs. And lastly, trapping a sow with cubs that has not yet been identified in the bear manager’s vast database, either by collar or lip tattoo, would probably mean DNA samples would need to be run – a process which takes weeks.

So the bear will have to be held, with its cubs, or caught twice if they decide to relocate or remove her. Relocation of a sow with cubs is never a good plan. Patrick, by the way, has served on the board of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, a nonprofit group that has pushed to maintain federal protections for grizzlies. He has been an outspoken advocate for conservation. Efforts to reach Patrick to get his views on whether the griz should be harassed were unsuccessful.

Aerial shot of proposed BlindBull Meadows.

Aerial shot of proposed BlindBull Meadows.

Gift horse or Trojan horse?   DISS

How aptly named, the proposed subdivision on Greys River Road called BlindBull Meadows. The owner of the property must believe the public blind if he thinks we are buying his bull. Dan Schwab seems to be attempting what is fast-becoming a popular “get rich quick” scam: Hold the environment hostage to inflate a sellout price for forest/park inholdings.

Schwab proposed a 43-unit subdivision complete with a convenience store/gas station and private airstrip in the middle of nowhere on 73 acres with no power, 26 miles down a filling-loosening washboard road. Schwab’s plan appeared to be a reach, if not downright grandiose. But what if his intent all along was not to develop his property in a manner most disagreeable to anyone who has lived in Wyoming long enough to memorize their zip code, but merely to threaten such a disgrace?

But why? Follow the money.

Maybe Schwab knows it would have been highly unlikely he could convince more than three dozen suckers to buy into his BlindBull gated community south of Alpine and north of current real estate values, so he merely bullied Lincoln County commissioners into the process of approving his development so he could establish his sellout price; which we now learn is $2.5 million. For that amount, Schwab says, he will walk away from the hideous plan and help ensure the property is preserved by a conservation easement.

A precedent has been established with the buyout of oil and gas leases held by PXP in the Wyoming Range: “If you hate it, pay me to pack up and go home.” Irritating Forest Service and Park Service inholdings are dotted throughout the West, thanks to grandfathered homesteads and historic mining claims. More and more, owners of these parcels are figuring the most lu- crative way to get out of their landlocked acreage is to either sell it back to the government (and we all know they don’t have the funds) or better yet, find a bleeding heart conservationist sugar daddy who will step in and save the day for everybody. Takers?

Yellowstone or bust (a BM)   DISS

It’s not Yellowstone’s fault the stomach flu is tearing through the nation’s first national park like a herpes outbreak at the Pussycat Ranch. Yellowstone is in many ways no different than a cruise ship. Both host exotic visitors and their exotic ailments from faraway lands and funnel them all into a relatively small space.

How many filthy hands turn the knob at the restroom in the Old Faithful Inn every day? You can disinfect all you want and tell Xanterra employees to remain in their dorms until the thought of Dan Wenk in a Speedo does not make them want to retch, but the norovirus is so darn catchy it won’t do any good.

The stomach bug is fleeing Yellowstone faster than transplanted wolves at this point. Might as well let it run its course already. Hug a Yellowstone tourist today and call in sick tomorrow.

About Jake Nichols

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