New Mexico’s Wildlife Corridors Act: A path toward success

 

Whether it’s pronghorn on the eastern plains, elk in the upper Rio Grande or bighorn sheep in the Red River Gorge, New Mexico’s wildlife, both big and small, requires large tracts of intact habitat. Species need the ability to move, whether that means seeking out lower elevation areas during winter, moving throughout river systems to avoid localized threats or migrating to cooler environments as climate change makes certain areas inhospitable.

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From the Desk of Michael Dax: What Yellowstone delisting means for Bitterroot Grizzlies

UNP blog

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMichael Dax is the author of Grizzly West: A Failed Attempt to Reintroduce Grizzly Bears in the Mountain West (Nebraska, 2015). He lives and writes in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Last summer, in its second attempt since 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deemed grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem recovered. When conservation efforts first began in the early 1980s, the bears’ population had dwindled below 150, but with roughly 700 grizzlies currently inhabiting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Service removed federal protections and returned management to the states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

But following a court decision last autumn regarding wolf populations in the Great Lake states that hinged on an obscure provision of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) related to geographically isolated species, the Service opened a comment period to accept public input on how treating Yellowstone grizzlies as a distinct population would affect other grizzly populations…

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The Trek: Learning to Read the Landscape

Over the past decade, more and more thru-hikers have ditched maps and have instead opted for guides like The A.T. Guide or Yogi’s Pacific Crest Trail Handbook that stick to the highlights – water sources, shelters, road crossings, AYCE buffets and other necessary information. They’re lighter, more compact, and easier to use. Considering the map set for Appalachian Trail contains 43 (yes, 43) maps, the logistics of figuring out when you need what maps is enough to convince even the staunchest traditionalist to ditch the topos and grab the crib notes.

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The Trek: Nothing Weighs Nothing

Seven hundred miles into my 2011 Appalachian Trail thru-hike, I met Scavenger. From Germany, Scavenger exuded the look of the classic European mountaineer with a wide-brimmed brown felt hat, heavy leather hiking boots and a backpack that towered over his head. He had earned his trail name due to his indiscriminating penchant for adding to his back whatever he found along the trail, in shelters or in town. By the time I met him outside Catawba, Virginia, his pack had grown to 70 pounds, weighed down by frivolous items like a small hatchet and a mirror he claimed to have never used. “But it weighs nothing!” he said in defense of the comb that had yet to stroke a single hair follicle. Continue reading