Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
In his essay Blood Sport, Abbey writes, "Hunting is one of the hardest things even to think about. Such a storm of conflicting emotions! . . . The killing is justified by the need and must be done in a spirit of respect, reverence, gratitude. To speak of "harvesting" other living creatures, whether deer or elk or birds of cottontail rabbits, as if they were no more than a crop, exposes the meanest, cruelest, most narrow and homocentric of possible human attitudes toward the life that surrounds us."
I present all this because they've started hunting buffalo again at Yellowstone National Park. Shameful waste of a coveted American icon, a special herd that should be preserved as much as possible. There is no need to hunt these animals.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Now, all that is very fine with me, but imagine my delight when I found out he has been a staunch supporter of the Yellowstone buffalo, voting twice on bills presented before Congress on behalf of the preservation of wild buffalo. Even before those bills were presented, he co-authored a congressional letter to the National Park Service in 2003 that asked some tough questions about the slaughter of buffalo that left the park. I don't know how good his chances are of getting the Interior post, but it's comforting to know that the National Park Service and Yellowstone could be under his charge.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Been busy designing a couple of race t-shirts and getting ready for a trip to Kentucky to help maintain trails at Mammoth Cave National Park.
I haven't been posting photos because my cheap digital camera called it quits. Invested in a much better camera, so more photos will be posted.
Friday, October 03, 2008
"[The buffalo are] the dark force of the plains - the living muscle of our history. Perhaps no other animal represents so well that richness which we once had, and which we so savagely squandered and mutilated."
- Rick Bass, nature writer and environmental activist
From a Montana blogger:
"One day while hiking across the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone, I realized that my route was intersecting the wanderings of a buffalo herd. I quickly found a large rock on a steeply sloped knoll the the buffalo would walk around and hunkered down to wait for the herd to pass. I was surrounded by a couple of hundred buffalo that were grunting & snorting as they were moving down the Lamar Valley. I could hear and feel their feet hitting the ground and see puffs of dust every time a hoof struck the earth. They were only 20 or 30 feet away and, because I sat very still, they appeared unaware of my presence and ignored me. That was a primevally awesome experience. And sitting quietly on the ground while 200-300 1000+ pound animals meander past is a very humbling sensation. Adding to my experience was their smell; grass, earth, sun, rain, wind, snow; all combine to give them a uniquely natural odor that is oddly pleasant."
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
This is about six minutes long, but if you watch the whole thing closely you'll get a good laugh. It's a dangerous situation that turns out alright. Turn up the volume. You can hear the woman say the buffalo are "growling." Actually I think the one bull is calling the others to come on over and scare the guy.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Randomness from the Prairie:
Almost every weekday morning I grab my coffee and turn on "Morning Joe" on MSNBC. A lot of political analysis there. This presidential election has me wrapped up, but I am getting weary of it. Lies, gimmicks, and hype abound, the biggest gimmick being the moose munching hockey momma. You can put lipstick on a gimmick, but it's still a gimmick.
I've been alternating walking and biking to work, thus giving very little to the oil barons. I use my car as little as possible these days.
I have a dream . . . to walk all the way to Yellowstone. I wish I could be there this coming winter to help out the Buffalo Field Campaign and the Buffalo Allies of Bozeman, two groups (see their listings under my herd of links at right) that are doing so much to help the wild buffalo out there. I appreciate the dedicated folks in those groups more than they can know. I receive regular e-mails from both groups carefully follow their work. For the buffalo, wolves, other wildlife and the environment in general, check out Ralph Maughan's Wildlife Reports in my herd link list at right. Ralph and his regular commentors at the site are truly enlightening; a lively forum.
I'm Tom Rice and I approve this message.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Unfortunately, buffaloes are not in the book. But that's OK.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Well, he did it. Grant Cunningham, a member of one of my running clubs, backpacked the entire 2,175 miles of the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine. That's about 2000 miles more than I have completed. Grant started in March and finished at the end of July. I'm extremely jealous. See the blog of his adventures in my "Buffaloes and Friends" links at right. I hope he'll post a final entry about his journey. Quite an accomplishment, Grant.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
"For most of our time in the park, there was a heavy pall of smoke in the air. Elk and bison in varying stages of consumption stood forlornly in the gray smoke and overcast, breathing hard for precious oxygen. For me, the saddest memory is of the noble bison. These stalwart icons are in no small part symbolic of our national heritage. They are a vision of strength and stamina, but the fire took a toll on them, if not from the flames themselves then from the deadly smoke that lingered long after the flames were abated.
"Granted the smoke took a grim reaping on many animals in the park, but it was the bison that appeared to suffer most. Driving throughout the park, we would see them standing, head down and gasping. Often they stood near geysers and fumaroles for added warmth to ease their pain.
Many of these bison displayed bloody froth draining from their nostrils. Rangers informed us this was an indication that carbon particles from the smoky air had accumulated to a harmful level in their lungs, resulting in not only pneumonia but abrasion to soft lung tissue from the simple act of breathing.
"As the problem progressed, these animals could not even forage for food because of shortness of breath. In time they simply dropped in their tracks and remained there forevermore."
Only nine buffaloes actually perished during the 1988 fire, but it must have been painful to watch the suffering wildlife. Let's hope the current fire, believed to be started by a downed power line, is extinguished as quickly as possible.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
In a recent decision, a federal district judge in Montana ruled that gray wolves in the northern Rockies must be returned to the Endangered Species List. The decision is expected to halt plans by Montana, Wyoming and Idaho to allow public hunts for wolves. An inordinate number of wolves had been killed since the delisting. Wolves in those three states were removed from the endangered list in March following a decade-long restoration effort. Organizations that included the American Humane Society, The Defenders of Wildlife, and the Sierra Club sued to overturn the decision to delist the wolves. The region has an estimated 2,000 wolves.
Incidentally, I respect the federal judge in the above case, Donald Molloy. A couple of his other decisions, among many that could be considered environmentally friendly:
2002 — shut down 176 million board-feet of salvage logging on the Bitterroot National Forest, ruling that the Bush administration and the U.S. Forest Service illegally cut off public appeals.
2003 — ordered W.R. Grace and Co. to pay the federal government $54.5 million to help clean up the company’s asbestos mess in Libby, Montana, the largest fine ordered after a trial in EPA Superfund history.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I had heard about a book with the curious title Buffalo for the Broken Heart. After reading a few favorable reviews, I bought the book. Love it. One of my favorite passages is the author's encounter with a buffalo that had strayed from the herd of the nearby Badlands National Park in South Dakota: "I drove too fast, and when I came over a dusty rise I nearly ran into an enormous bull buffalo. He reclined luxuriously in the center of the dirt road, stretched out in the sun like a two-thousand-pound tomcat. By the time I'd braked, I'd gotten way too close and was struggling to get the gear shift into reverse when he raised his head and looked straight into my eyes . . . . His head was the size of a dishwasher. . . . I was frozen in place. We stared at each other for perhaps a minute . . . . leisurely, the head dipped and the legs pulled under the great beast. The short, paintbrush tail whipped in the dust and the bull rocked once, twice, and up onto his feet. He shook like a dog, creating a cloud of dry South Dakota soil . . . . Then he slowly raised the tiny, black hoof of his left rear foot, stretched his head out, and, as if the hoof were a ballet slipper, scratched his neck below the long woolly goatee. He took one last look at me before he moved off the road . . . . "
Was this chance encounter with the woolly bully an omen? Well, author Dan O'Brien, on the brink of financial ruin on his cattle ranch, which he called the Broken Heart, later decided to substitute buffalo for cattle. Unlike cattle, Dan knew that buffalo could pretty much take care of themselves and could endure the harsh Dakota winters. The book is a smooth read as it relates the struggles of living and ranching in the desolate area. His character portrayals of his neighbors and his descriptions of everyday life on a buffalo ranch gripped me. A Boston Globe book reviewer wrote that O'Brien "by God can tell a story . . . . This is the book you need to read next." Indeed.
And this passage as the author reflects on his herd during a cold Dakota morning: "When I kneel and dig my hands through the curl of dormant winter grass to the earth below, I imagine the vibration of hooves. I feel buffalo moving within it all and understand that they are constant, enduring as bedrock, powerful as the prairie wind."