Wolves to be Introduced to Isle Royale
After three years of debate, the National Park Service has okayed a plan to return wolves to Isle Royale, the namesake of Isle Royale National Park, in Lake Superior, in an unprecedented attempt to restore environmental balance between predators and prey. The island currently has just two resident wolves and nearly 1,500 moose; there’s little check on the moose population, and officials warn of starvation and heavy impact to the vegetation on which they graze.
“The consequences were trade-offs,” said Phyllis Green, superintendent of Isle Royale National Park. “What you could lose in terms of wilderness character, you benefit in terms of keeping an ecosystem resilient and functioning, as it has been for the life of the park.”
NPS will transport 30 to 50 wolves over the next three to five years, though not everyone agrees with the move. “This project is an immense manipulation in a designated wilderness that is supposed to be free of manipulation,” said Kevin Proescholdt, conservation director of Wilderness Watch.
Bison Charges Photographer
Willis Chung has been photographing wildlife in Yellowstone National Park for 44 years and recently had a terrifying incident when a massive bison charged him and his camera. In the end, no harm, no foul, and, says a report, “Chung, from Denver, decided to stand the recommended distance away from the beast after it charged at him.” Uh-huh. Well, the picture is pretty amazing.
Promposal Vandal Sought
Your isn’t fully developed until age 25, which explains a lot of young and stupid behavior when you’re young and stupid, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences. Colorado National Monument is seeking the person who spray-painted “Prom…ise?” on a rock back in May. The penalty can be $5,000 and time in jail, but officials are willing to be lenient if the person turns themselves in.
Giant Sequoia Grove Reopening
After three years and $40 million, a newly restored Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias is scheduled to reopen Friday, June 15. Gone will be the 115-space parking lot, the people-moving trams, and the noxious exhaust fumes. In their place: quiet and calm to experience the 484 mega-trees, some of which reach 300 feet. “This is the largest protection, restoration and improvement project in park history,” said Frank Dean, president of the Yosemite Conservancy, which covered half the cost. “This ambitious project is reversing damaging impacts and ensuring that future generations will be able to experience the wonder of gazing up at Yosemite’s massive sequoias.”
NPS says, “The national park idea is rooted in the Mariposa Grove. In 1864 President Lincoln signed legislation protecting the Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley for “public use, resort, and recreation.” This landmark legislation holds an important place in our country’s history and was enacted at a time when the nation was embroiled in the Civil War. For the first time in our nation’s history, scenic natural areas were set aside and protected for the benefit of future generations.
Woman Shot in Illegal Off-Roading Incident in Joshua Tree
It’s become cliché to complain about illegal off-roading via ATVs and other vehicles devastating terrain, but public lands officials do deal with it…and sometimes violently. A Bureau of Land Management officer shot a woman on Sunday, June 10, in Joshua Tree National Park in what the park is calling an “illegal off-roading incident.” Park and BLM rangers were investigating illegal off-roading around 11 p.m. and the woman’s vehicle failed to yield, they said. The woman was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and the BLM officer was placed on administrative leave.
Grist Wants to Know Why National Parks Are So White
Photo of Isle Royale moose by Ray Dumas