Sea Kayak Trips in Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, Grand Teton Wyoming Kayaking and Canoeing – Sea Kayaking and Guided Fishing Trips, Eco Tours in Yellowstone National Park Kayak Trips in Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, Grand Teton Wyoming Kayaking and Canoeing – Sea Kayaking and Guided Fishing Trips, Eco Tours in yellowstone National Park

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Yellowstone Lake Kayak Trips

beautiful day kayaking on yellowstone lake
Another Beautiful Day Kayaking on Yellowstone Lake

We arrived for yesterday’s day paddle to find pristine conditions on Yellowstone Lake. There is no better condition to go kayaking than when the lake is as smooth as glass.

 

 

 

 

 

Yellowstone Warming Up

Climate change is melting glaciers in the Wind River Range and making other parts of Greater Yellowstone warmer during the winter and drier during the summer, researchers say.

San Francisco State University adjunct professor of geography Healy Hamilton and Western Wyoming Community College professor of geology and anthropology Charlie Love made the comments Friday at the annual meeting of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition at Snow King Resort.

Love compared old photos of glaciers — some from newspapers from the 1920s — to contemporary photographs to show that some glaciers have receded substantially.

“The glaciers are melting so fast that, by the time some of you are my age, they won’t be there anymore,” Love said.

One glacier has melted down about 300 feet, Love said.

“We go there today, and there’s no ice left from 1922,” he said. “The timberline has climbed about 100 feet. Is that evidence of global warming? That would be evidence to me.”

The melting could impact water supplies, Love said.

“You’re melting your reservoir and you’re losing the storage capacity,” he said.

Hamilton used historical weather data from various sites around the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to show that some parts of the region are getting warmer and drier while other, smaller areas are getting colder and wetter, depending on the time of year.

She looked at temperature and precipitation figures from the 1900s to the 1970s to create a baseline she used to determine how temperatures and precipitation have changed in the last 30 years. She found temperatures in the winter have warmed.

“The coldest part of January has disappeared,” she said, explaining precipitation levels in winter haven’t changed that dramatically.

Summer temperatures are about the same, but some areas are drier, she said, while fall has been wetter.

“These are all observations,” Hamilton continued. “I’m not talking about models here.”

Greater Yellowstone Coalition board chairwoman Marcia Kunstel likened Greater Yellowstone to Noah’s Ark.

“All the species that were here when Yellowstone became the first national park in 1872 are still here, and we are still trying to hold on to them,” she said. “The story of Noah does carry some lessons about the consequences of what we do.”

 

Yellowstone Hits 3 Million Summer Visitors for 3rd Year

Yellowstone National Park administrators are reporting that more than 3 million people visited the park over the summer.

That marks the third straight year the park has broken the 3 million visitor mark during the park’s peak season from May through September. That was down just over 6 percent from last year’s record 3.3 million summer visitors.

Park officials said the high numbers came despite snow and ice that lingered into May and several road closures caused by rockslides and avalanches.

By comparison, the park recorded fewer than a quarter-million visitors last year from October through December.

 

 

Climate Change Could Hurt Yellowstone National Park

Before the end of the century, Yellowstone National Park could experience summers that feel like Los Angeles’s, according to a report released Tuesday. These warming temperatures will imperil everything from native cutthroat trout to aspen forests and the $700 million in annual economic activity that they and other gems in the park generate by attracting tourists, the report said.

The report, the first evaluation of how climate change will affect the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, is a joint project of the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, a nonprofit that advocates for carbon emission reductions by drawing attention to the likely consequences of climate change, and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, a conservation organization concerned with the park and the land around it.

The authors used two warming scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, one based on a medium-to-high-range level of carbon emissions in the future and another one based on a lower set of carbon emissions.

Already Yellowstone, which sits at a relatively high average elevation of 8,000 feet above sea level in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, is warming faster than the rest of the globe, the report found. The temperature there over the last decade was 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the average temperature in the region for the 20th century, the report said. The planet as a whole was 1 degree warmer in the last decade than the average for the 20th century.

The results of even this relatively small change have been noticeable in all aspects of the park, the report said, from glacial ice to reductions in the birthrates of at least one migratory elk herd, whose main food source, meadow grasslands, is drying out too quickly in the summer season.

Most notably, warmer temperatures have allowed infestations of tree-killing beetles that previously had been held in check by the frostiest nights of the year.

But that 1.4-degree increase is just a precursor of what is to come, the report said. Taking the average of 16 computer models of climate future that were fed data from five different local weather stations, the report predicted that summer temperatures in Yellowstone could be expected to rise as much as 9.7 degrees by the end of the century. The authors considered summer particularly significant because it is the peak season for visits to the park.

“What we humans are doing to the climate isn’t just melting polar ice caps, it’s disrupting the places that are nearest and dearest to us,” said Stephen Saunders, the climate organization’s president and the lead author of the report. “Already, threads are being pulled out of the tapestries of Yellowstone and other special places, and they are losing some of their luster.”

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A hiker sips from his bottle near Heart Lake in the Red Mountains of Yellowstone National Park. A new report predicts the park’s ecosystem, from trees to wildlife, will be harmed by climate change.

 

Yellowstone Super Volcanic Eruptions Clue to Climate-Changing

Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) claim to have found the possible cause for “super-eruptions” in massive volcanoes on the Earth that occur every 100,000 years and are known to induce planetary climate change.

A model presented by researchers at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Minneapolis suggest that a combination of temperature influence and the geometrical configuration of the magma chamber is a potential cause for these super-eruptions, OSU said in a news release Wednesday.

According to Patricia Trish Gregg, the lead author of the modeling study, the creation of a ductile halo of rock around the magma chamber allows the pressure to build over tens of thousands of years, resulting in extensive uplifting in the roof above the magma chamber and eventually causing eruption.

Researchers of the study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, said the super-eruption of major volcanic systems on the Earth could trigger climate change by inducing Ice Ages and other impacts.

“Short of a meteor impact, these super-eruptions are the worst environmental hazards our planet can face. Huge amounts of material are expelled, devastating the environment and creating a gas cloud that covers the globe for years,” Gregg said.

Huckleberry Ridge eruption of present-day Yellowstone Park was one such eruptions that happened about two million years ago and was over 2,000 times larger than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington.

Gregg said that super-volcano eruptions had occurred from time to time throughout history and the magma reservoirs feeding the eruptions could be as large as 10,000 to 15,000 square cubic kilometers.

The Yellowstone eruption was one of the largest super-volcano events in history and it had happened several times but it didn’t appear that Yellowstone was primed for another super-eruption anytime soon, though the slow process of volcanic uplift was taking place every day, she added.

Other super-volcano sites include Lake Toba in Sumatra, the central Andes Mountains, New Zealand and Japan.

File photo from July 22, 1980 showing the eruption plume from Mount St. Helens. Credit: REUTERS

File photo from July 22, 1980 showing the eruption plume from Mount St. Helens. Credit: REUTERS

 

 

Winter storm hits Yellowstone and Jackson Hole

Summer stretched for 117 days in Jackson Hole — between the last snow of spring on June 9 and the wet snow that hit the valley on Thursday and even forced Yellowstone National Park to close roads temporarily.

While strict calendar adherents assert the season starts at the summer solstice and ends with the fall equinox, in Teton County, cold, frozen flakes falling from heaven are a more tangible sign of changing seasons.

The storm that brought a quick end to a glorious summer and fall forced Yellowstone officials Thursday afternoon to close the South Entrance, Craig Pass between Old Faithful and West Thumb and Beartooth Pass outside of the Northeast Entrance.

Projected opening times or dates had not been established Thursday afternoon, and travelers were advised to call the park’s 24-hour road information line — 307-344-2117 — for updates.

Jim Woodmencey, who operates the site www.mountainweather.com, forecast the storm that came from the Pacific and dumped snow on the Sierra Nevada in California. On Thursday, the system was generating snow in Salt Lake City, a relatively early occurrence for the community situated 4,226 feet above sea level, the meteorologist said.

“For this time of year, it is an unusually cold storm,” Woodmencey said.

While the storm may have been unseasonable in Utah, in Jackson Hole it wasn’t out of the norm, Woodmencey said. Last year, snow came in mid-October and continued to pound the valley through Christmas.

A repeat of that pattern isn’t likely this fall, noted Woodmencey, who predicted there would be a few more days when temperatures will rise into the 60s in the upcoming weeks.

Fall snow, while exciting for skiers, is not necessarily good for establishing a stable snowpack, Woodmencey said. If early snows sit in the mountains and rot under cold and dry conditions, they can create potentially dangerous sliding surfaces.

“In general, it is never a good scenario to see snow this early — unless it continues to snow,” Woodmencey said.

Early snow can be good for ski areas. People tend to go to the Internet and look at their favorite resorts when winter rears its head in the West.

“We start to get hits when the weather changes,” Jackson Hole Mountain Resort President Jerry Blann said. Blann noted early season pass sales have been “very positive.”

Conditions are pointing to a repeat of last year’s La Nina winter, although some suspect it won’t be as severe. Ample winter and spring snows bombarded the valley into June, shortening the front end of summer.

Still, having nearly four snowless months is relatively good. In 1993, snow fell on July 4 and returned as school began.

Some people refer to 1993 as the year summer never happened.

Looking back over the just-concluded season, Woodmencey said there was a nice blend of conditions from July to September.

Temperatures rose into the 80s many days, he said. There were just enough thunderstorms to keep the dust down, and smoke from forest fires was tolerable, the meteorologist said.

“It was beautiful,” he said.

While some may be unwilling to let go of the warm weather, hardcore Jackson residents will push the season.

If there are four months without snow in Jackson Hole, that means eight months will feature the white stuff.

On Thursday, Woodmencey had a prediction for Friday morning.

“Someone will be skiing Teton Pass,” he said.

 

Killer grizzly bear put to death

Yellowstone National Park staff on Sunday euthanized a grizzly sow that in July killed a Torrence, Calif., man after they found DNA evidence that linked her to the site of a second hiker killed in late August by a grizzly.

The sow killed 57-year-old Brian Matayoshi on July 6 about a mile and a half along the Wapiti Lake trail after he and his wife, Marylyn Matayoshi, surprised the animal from about 100 yards.

Marylyn Matayoshi escaped without serious injuries.

The sow was not killed at the time because park staff said she was acting naturally to protect her cubs.

Sometime between Aug. 24 and 26, a grizzly killed a second hiker, John Wallace, 59, of Chassell, Mich. Two hikers found Wallace’s body Aug. 26 on the Mary Mountain trail about five miles west of the Hayden Valley trailhead, which begins north of Mud Volcano.

The sites of the two attacks are about eight miles apart.

Since the August attack, park staff have set numerous traps hoping to catch the bear responsible.

“We are confident, based on DNA testing, that this sow was present at [the second] attack site,” Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash said.

While the sow’s scat and hair were located at the site where Wallace died, it’s unclear whether the sow actually killed Wallace.

“We have no way of knowing whether this bear made any physical contact with Mr. Wallace’s body,” Nash said. “We think it’s impossible to know definitively the identity of a bear that attacked and killed Mr. Wallace.

“We had an eyewitness in the first attack, so we’re very confident of what occurred there,” Nash said. “There were no witnesses to the second attack, and so we have to rely on what our rangers and investigators can gather from the scene.”

Officials say at least nine bears were feeding on two bison carcasses in the vicinity of the site where Wallace died. One bison carcass was located roughly 150 yards away from where the hikers found Wallace’s body. Wildlife managers also located 17 bear day beds in the area.

Nash confirmed that a bear or bears partially consumed Wallace’s body.

“It certainly appears there was more than one bear at the site [where Wallace died],” Nash said. “I don’t know how many bears there were at the site.”

Nash said it’s unclear whether the other bears at the site were adult grizzly bears or the sow’s two cubs.

For now, the investigation into Wallace’s death is ongoing, Nash said.

“We know that there were several bears in that area prior to the attack,” he said. “We’re continuing to put traps out in the area, and we’ll continue to trap bears to see if we might link another bear to this incident site.”

The sow was euthanized Sunday morning. Her two cubs are currently being kept at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Mont. It is unclear whether the cubs will remain at the center.

 

Yellowstone Park grizzly mystery deepens

Three bears linked to the scene of a partially eaten hiker may still roam Yellowstone National Park, and officials can’t rule out that one might have killed him for food.

DNA from four bears has been isolated from hair and scat found at the site where John Wallace, 59, of Chassell, Mich., was killed by a grizzly in late August, officials said Tuesday.

Park officials have identified one of the bears, the same grizzly sow that killed 57-year-old Torrence, Calif., resident Brian Matayoshi in July. The identity of the three other bears remains unclear.

Yellowstone National Park staff killed the sow and captured her two cubs after the DNA evidence linked her to the site about five miles west of the Hayden Valley trailhead. Two hikers found Wallace’s partially consumed body there Aug. 26.

The location is about eight miles from where the sow killed Matayoshi on the Wapati Lake trail July 6.

“We have the DNA of four different bears at the [Wallace] site,” Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash said.

Nash couldn’t say whether any of the DNA samples came from the sow’s two cubs, which were captured Thursday and are being kept at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Mont.

“The only one that I know that we’ve confirmed is the sow,” Nash said. “I don’t know if we are doing additional DNA testing on hair or scat samples from the cubs.”

Nash couldn’t say whether the attack on Wallace was predatory — done for a meal instead of as a reaction to a surprise encounter or in defense of a food source. A bison carcass on which bears had been feeding was nearby.

“It isn’t possible for us to know that answer,” Nash said. “We have to assume the attack could have been conducted by a predatory or aggressive bear, because we have no mechanism to rule it out.”

Nash also could not say which injuries killed Wallace or how much time, if any, passed between his death and when a bear or bears began to eat him.

“We know what the cause of death was: injuries to the body from a bear attack,” Nash said. “I don’t know if the autopsy reveals any more details. I don’t have that information.”

The sow killed Matayoshi on July 6 about a mile and a half along the Wapiti Lake trail after he and his wife, Marylyn Matayoshi, surprised the animal from about 100 yards. Marylyn Matayoshi escaped without serious injuries.

The sow was not killed at the time because, park staff said she was acting naturally to protect her cubs.

Since the August attack on Wallace, researchers have set numerous traps. Nash said park managers will consider killing any other bears linked to the site of Wallace’s death.

Officials say at least nine bears were feeding on two bison carcasses near where Wallace died. One bison carcass was roughly 150 yards from where the hikers found Wallace’s body. Wildlife managers also located 17 bear day beds in the area.

For now, the investigation into Wallace’s death is ongoing, Nash said.

“We know that there were several bears in that area prior to the attack,” he said. “We’re continuing to put traps out in the area, and we’ll continue to trap bears to see if we might link another bear to this incident site.”

Wallace’s mauling isn’t the first time a grizzly attack in or around Yellowstone has been a possible predatory act. In July 2010, a grizzly sow with three cubs dragged Michigan resident Kevin Kammer from his tent, killing him and injuring two others in a campground near Cooke City, Mont., northeast of the park. The cubs later were found to be malnourished.

In 2006, a grizzly killed and partially consumed 38-year-old photographer William Tesinsky in Hayden Valley. In July 2004, a grizzly dragged 25-year-old Brigitta Fredenhagen, a resident of Switzerland, from her tent and killed her. And, in June of 1983, a grizzly dragged 23-year-old Roger May from his tent, killed him, and ate part of him at the Rainbow Point campground on the Gallatin National Forest northwest of the park.

But fatal bear attacks in Yellowstone are extremely rare, Nash said.

“We’ve only had seven since the park was created in 1872,” he said.

Further, Nash said, bear-caused human injuries were once much more frequent.

“They were probably at their peak during the ’20s and ’30s,” he said. “From that era, there were 175 bear-caused human injuries per million visitors. In recent years, it’s about one per year, and we see well over 3 million visitors per year.”

Nash attributed the decline in bear attacks on humans to wildlife management changes that occurred in the ’60s and ’70s, a time when the park closed garbage dumps where bears had been feeding and outlawed feeding bears human sources of food. Visitor education has also reduced the number of bear attacks on humans, Nash said.

 

Grand Tetopn National Park superintendent criticizes wolf plan

Wyoming’s draft wolf management plan could harm values such as wildlife viewing and the ecological landscape in Grand Teton National Park, park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott said last week.

Scott made the statement in a letter to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Sept. 6 during a formal comment period on the draft plan.

Six wolf packs used portions of the park at some point during the year for the last three years, Scott said in the letter.

“Many of the individuals who are supportive of wolf restoration are very interested in conserving the packs that use the national parks,” Scott said. “[Grand Teton National Park] visitors have consistently cited wildlife viewing as the primary draw to the park, and viewing wolves is of great interest.”

Further, wolves help keep the park’s natural balance, Scott said. “Our goal is to maintain wolves as part of the natural ecological landscape in the park, which will require designing hunt seasons and implementing management actions that maintain packs outside our boundary.”

“It’s important to note that, to date, packs that reside in Grand Teton National Park and adjacent national forest land have not been involved in large numbers of livestock depredations,” Scott continued. “We hope that strong consideration will be given to the fact that these packs are not chronic depredators and that allowing them to persist should help keep conflicts at a low level.”

In particular, Scott said she was concerned about Grand Teton wolves that move to the Gros Ventre drainage during the winter when the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is feeding elk on one or more feedgrounds in the area.

“Over the last 12 years, more than 50 radio-collared wolves from 10 packs that spent significant amounts of time in Grand Teton National Park also visited the Gros Ventre drainage at some point,” she said. “Most of these visits occurred during the winter when the feedgrounds were occupied by elk.

“This underscores the concern that multiple wolf packs could be eliminated or socially disrupted if wolves are targeted on or near feedgrounds without regard to pack affiliation,” Scott said. “We urge the department to consider all the implications of wolf management actions on or near feedgrounds carefully.”

In the letter, Scott also argues that the draft wolf plan’s seasonal trophy game management area — an area south of Jackson where wolves are treated as predators for most of the year, except from mid-October to late February, when they are treated as trophy game — is not based on science and should be made permanently trophy game. The winter trophy game status is to allow dispersing wolves to move to and breed with populations in Idaho, a necessary step to ensure the wolf population’s genetic diversity, biologists say.

“The biological rationale for the selection of those dates is unclear,” Scott said.

Scott went on to cite various studies that suggest peak months for wolf dispersal can range from October to June, depending on the location of the population.

“But wolves disperse at every time of year,” she said.

“Maintaining genetic connectivity between Wyoming and Idaho is important for the long-term resilience and persistence of wolves that reside in Grand Teton National Park,” Scott said. “The best way to ensure that genetic exchange occurs is to allow for dispersal year-round.

“Therefore, I urge you to consider removing the seasonal portion of the [wolf trophy game management area] and treat the entire delineated area as permanent … or, at a minimum extending the window for protection in the seasonal portion of the [wolf trophy game management area] through March and April to better ensure successful dispersal of wolves.”

Finally, Scott called the department to task for a portion of the wolf management plan that discusses the impacts that wolves have had on the region’s moose.

“We believe the statement regarding declines in the Jackson moose herd is misleading and implies that the decline was coincident with the wolves’ return to the Jackson area,” Scott says. “Data collected by the department demonstrate that declines in the calf ratios and trend counts began in the late 1980s, or about 10 years prior to wolves arriving in Jackson Hole.

“While wolves certainly take moose, existing studies suggest that several additional factors are likely at play,” Scott continued. “I encourage the department to revise this section so that it presents the declines in moose in a more objective and balanced light, identifying all of the challenges moose currently face.”

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will consider the draft wolf management plan during a special meeting at 11 a.m. today in the Parkway Plaza Hotel in Casper.

 

Wolves causing federal discord

Grand Teton National Park officials are at odds with their parent agency, the Department of Interior, over a proposed federal rule that would end Endangered Species Act protection of Wyoming wolves.

Department of Interior officials released the proposed rule for removing protection of wolves in the Federal Register on Oct. 5. It comports with an agreement the agency reached with Gov. Matt Mead earlier this year, an agreement that led the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to adopt the state’s wolf management plan last month.

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott raised concerns with that plan in a letter last month. Many of the reservations Scott expressed about Wyoming’s plan apply to the Department of Interior position.

In the Sept. 6 letter, Scott argued that the state’s plan to allow wolves to disperse to and from Idaho is not based on sound science.

The plan creates a “seasonal trophy game management area” south of Jackson where wolves would be treated as predators for most of the year and could be killed by any means without a license.

However, from mid-October to late February, wolves in the area would treated as trophy game. The more stringent trophy killing rules are supposed to allow wolves to disperse through Star Valley to and from Idaho, increasing the chance for a genetic mix between Yellowstone-area and other wolf populations.

Scott challenged the timing of the seasonal protection.

“The biological rationale for the selection of those dates is unclear,” she said in her letter. “… wolves disperse at every time of year.”

Federal officials have pledged “that any final action resulting from this proposed rule will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and be as accurate and as effective as possible.”

Scott cited several studies that suggest peak months for wolf dispersal can range from October to June, depending on the location of the population. Biologists say allowing wolves to disperse between the two states is essential for maintaining the genetic diversity of Wyoming’s wolf population.

“Maintaining genetic connectivity between Wyoming and Idaho is important for the long-term resilience and persistence of wolves that reside in Grand Teton National Park,” Scott said. “The best way to ensure that genetic exchange occurs is to allow for dispersal year-round.”

Scott went on to suggest that the seasonal trophy game management area be made permanent, or that the period the seasonal trophy game management area is in effect be extended through April. Teton County Commissioners also have called for a permanent trophy game area in all of Teton County.

In the Oct. 5 proposed rule, Department of Interior officials argue for the mid-October to the end of February time frame, citing a study by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researcher Mike Jimenez.

The proposed federal rule agrees with Scott’s assertion that wolf dispersal “occurred year-round.” But it says the dispersal “peaked in winter (more than half of all dispersal occurred in the four months of November through February).”

In the federal rule, Department of Interior officials acknowledge that the necessary dispersal to and from Idaho could be affected by hunting of wolves in Wyoming.

“Specifically, these data indicate we may have averaged around one-and-a-half effective migrants [from central Idaho to the Greater Yellowstone area] per generation since reintroduction, with a large portion of this dispersal occurring in recent years when the central Idaho population was above 500 wolves,” the federal rule states. A wolf generation is four years.

“Post-delisting, populations will no longer be growing, may go through a period of population reduction before leveling off, and management will likely result in higher mortality rates for both dispersers and resident wolves,” the federal rule states. “Thus, past dispersal data is unlikely to be reflective of future effective migration rates.”

Elk feedgrounds could also affect the ability of wolves to migrate to and from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Department of Interior officials said. Wyoming operates 22 elk feedgrounds, including 13 within the Wyoming wolf trophy game management areas.

“These areas attract and could potentially hold dispersing wolves,” the federal rule says. “Many dispersing wolves in Wyoming, and even some established breeding pairs, temporarily leave their primary territories to visit the elk feedgrounds in winter.”

Under the proposed federal rule, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department could kill wolves that displace elk from feeding grounds if such displacement results in conflicts. “Such take will likely further reduce survival of dispersing wolves,” the federal rule says.

However, the proposed rule also says hunting and other killing of wolves could help dispersal of wolves into new territories.

“State management practices will periodically create localized disruptions of wolf pack structure or modified wolf density in select areas of suitable habitat that will create social vacancies or space for dispersing wolves to fill,” the federal rule says. “This outcome will likely increase reproductive success rates for dispersers that enter the [Greater Yellowstone area].”

Grand Teton officials also worry that hunting and state control of the species in the trophy game area might hurt wolves that spend part of the year inside the park.

“Our goal is to maintain wolves as part of the natural ecological landscape in the park, which will require designing hunt seasons and implementing management actions that maintain packs outside our boundary,” Scott said.

Grand Teton wolves that move out of the park to the Gros Ventre drainage during the winter when the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is feeding elk on one or more feedgrounds in the area are of particular concern, Scott said.

“Over the last 12 years, more than 50 radio-collared wolves from 10 packs that spent significant amounts of time in Grand Teton National Park also visited the Gros Ventre drainage at some point,” she said. “Most of these visits occurred during the winter when the feedgrounds were occupied by elk.”

“This underscores the concern that multiple wolf packs could be eliminated or socially disrupted if wolves are targeted on or near feedgrounds without regard to pack affiliation,” Scott said. “We urge the [Wyoming Game and Fish Department] to consider all the implications of wolf management actions on or near feedgrounds carefully.”

In the proposed rule, federal officials acknowledged that some Grand Teton wolves would likely be killed after leaving the park.

“While some wolves and some wolf packs also occur in Grand Teton National Park and John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, these wolves and wolf packs usually have a majority of their home range in areas under the State of Wyoming’s jurisdiction; thus, these wolves are only subject to National Park Service regulation when on National Park Service lands,” the federal rule says.

To comment on the proposed rule electronically, go to http://www.regulations.gov. In the Enter Keyword or ID box, enter FWS–R6–ES–2011–0039. People can also mail comments to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R6–ES–2011–0039, Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM, Arlington, VA 22203.

 

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