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Yellowstone National Park

Greater Yellowstone Coalition's Scott Christensen and Liz Purdy eating lunch at Follow Yer Nose BBQ in Emigrant on their way out to Jardine, MT for a conservation celebration.
Courtesy Caroline Byrd

A Canadian mining company and a pair of conservation groups have finalized agreements they say will protect two tributaries of the Yellowstone River and part of a crucial migration corridor for thousands of elk from Yellowstone National Park.

The Toronto-based mining company donated 549 acres and its water rights for the tributaries near the company's former Mineral Hill Mine site that closed in 2001.

Bison at the Stephens Creek Capture facility north of Yellowstone Park in 2015.
Jim Peaco (PD)

Yellowstone National Park has decided to convert part of its bison trap into a temporary brucellosis quarantine facility. 

The Greater Yellowstone grizzly bear was officially removed from the threatened species list on Monday.

The Interior Department stripped federal protections for grizzly bears living near Yellowstone National Park and they will now be managed by state and tribal agencies in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

Yellowstone Grizzlies Removed From Threatened Species List

Jul 31, 2017
More than a month after announcing grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are no longer threatened, the USFWS officially handed over management of the approximately 700 bears to wildlife officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
(PD)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. government lifted protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region on Monday, though it will be up to the courts to decide whether the revered and fearsome icon of the West stays off the threatened species list.

Yellowstone National Park is taking action against up to a dozen employees after an investigation found some female workers were subjected to sexual harassment and other problems.

Superintendent Dan Wenk says some of the employees could be fired while others could receive suspensions or counseling.

“Tell me an organization that’s almost 1,000 employees and find me one that doesn’t have issues about work place issues, find me one,” said Wenk. “I don’t think you will. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t improve it.”

The Battle To Control Nature In National Parks

Jul 12, 2017
Penguin Random House

The fascinating story of a trial that opened a window onto the century-long battle to control nature in the national parks.

When twenty-five-year-old Harry Walker was killed by a bear in Yellowstone Park in 1972, the civil trial prompted by his death became a proxy for bigger questions about American wilderness management that had been boiling for a century. At immediate issue was whether the Park Service should have done more to keep bears away from humans, but what was revealed as the trial unfolded was just how fruitless our efforts to regulate nature in the parks had always been. 

Old Faithful Geyser
Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park took to Facebook today to tamp down ongoing speculation that a cataclysmic seismic event is imminent.

A hand crew assigned to the July Fire near Zortman, MT.
Inciweb

Fire activity is increasing across the state as the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning today for high temperatures, gusty winds and low humidity for a large portion of central and northeastern Montana. The warning is in effect until 9 p.m tonight.

More than a month after announcing grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are no longer threatened, the USFWS officially handed over management of the approximately 700 bears to wildlife officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
(PD)

Several lawsuits were filed Friday against the U.S. government's decision to lift protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area. Some of the groups involved include the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, The Humane Society and Earthjustice.
 
Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso says there’s been a recent spike in local grizzly bear deaths.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to turn over grizzly bear management to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming by late July. The states plan to allow limited bear hunts outside park boundaries.
Flickr user Nathan Rupert (CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

The Interior Department Thursday said it will lift Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park region.

Those protections have been in place for more than 40 years.

Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears that have been in place for more than three decades are poised to be peeled back soon. This week state and federal land managers from the Rocky Mountain west are meeting talk about what that means for the future of grizzly bear management and recovery.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, or IGBC is spending three days in Choteau this week working on a five-year-plan to guide management of grizzlies as the bear’s population grows.

Location of the earthquakes that are part of the swarm as of June 19, 2017 at 13:30 MDT (red symbols).
Courtesy University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Geologists in Yellowstone National Park have now detected more than 500 earthquakes in the past week. The ongoing earthquake swarm is one of the larger ones the park has seen.

Yellowstone typically sees between 1,500 and 2,000 earthquakes a year. About half of those will occur during a swarm, like the one going on now in the northwest corner of the park.

Free Heel and Wheel in West Yellowstone
Photo courtesy of Tripadvisor

Earthquakes continue to shake the area west of Yellowstone National Park today. A sequence of about 30 earthquakes magnitude 2 and larger have hit the area since Monday.

Yesterday a 4.5 magnitude quake occurred in a backcountry area at 6:48 PM, near West Yellowstone. 

Yellowstone Lake
FLICKR USER, Yu-Hsin Hung (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

There’s been a second death in Yellowstone National Park in just over a week. The Park says a kayak guide died yesterday while attempting to rescue a client who capsized in the West Thumb area of Yellowstone Lake.

Clepsydra geyser, Yellowstone National Park, lower geyser basin
Flickr user, Dawn Ellner (CC-BY-2.0)

A 21-year-old North Carolina man suffered severe burns after falling into a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. Park officials say Gervais Dylan Gatete, an employee of park concessionaire Xanterra Parks and Resorts, fell into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin just north of Old Faithful late Tuesday. 

Livestock carcass composting site outside Wisdom, MT.
Courtesy of the Big Hole Watershed Committee

Livestock death is part of ranching. At some point, ranchers have to deal with dead animals, from things like difficult births, disease, and weather extremes. And in southwest Montana, those dead animals can also attract unwelcome visitors — wolves and black bears looking for an easy meal.

One of the Yellowstone National Park's best-known wolves had to be put down after being found injured.
Neal Herbert/NPS

Yellowstone National Park has increased the reward for information about the shooting of one of the park’s most well-known wolves. This more than a month after offering an initial reward.

2015 photo of the female wolf from Yellowstone's Canyon pack. The wolf was found mortally wounded from a gunshot on April 11 near Gardiner, MT.
Jim Peaco - Yellowstone National Park (PD)

The investigation continues into the shooting of a wolf that was popular with Yellowstone National Park tourists.

Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin says hikers discovered the mortally wounded wolf on April 11:

Researchers To Trap Grizzly, Black Bears In Yellowstone

May 3, 2017
More than a month after announcing grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are no longer threatened, the USFWS officially handed over management of the approximately 700 bears to wildlife officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
(PD)

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Researchers will begin trapping grizzly and black bears Sunday in Yellowstone National Park.

The trapping is an effort to gather data on the protected grizzly bears as part of long-term research required under the Endangered Species Act.

Fire experts are predicting a slower than normal start to wildfire season in Montana this year, but by July and August the potential jumps up to normal, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
National Interagency Fire Center, Boise, Idaho.

Fire experts are predicting a slower-than-normal start to wildfire season in Montana this year, according to a Northern Rockies fire season outlook released Monday afternoon.

Bill Proposes Permanent Ban On Mining Near Yellowstone

Apr 25, 2017
Emigrant Peak north of Yellowstone, near the area of a proposed Lucky Minerals mine exploration.
Flickr user Sean Wolf (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has introduced legislation to permanently ban new mining in an area of Montana just outside Yellowstone National Park. The Montana Democrat says responsible natural resource development is an important part of Montana's economy but the doorstep of Yellowstone is one place that should be protected.

Why Yellowstone Culled More Than 1,200 Bison This Season

Apr 16, 2017
A bison sculpture in Three Forks, Montana
Eric Whitney

On NPR's All Things Considered Sunday, Amy Martin reported on the second-largest ever cull of Yellowstone Bison this winter.

More than 1,200 bison were killed, more than at any time since 2007-2008.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RAY SUAREZ, HOST:

One of the Yellowstone National Park's best-known wolves had to be put down after being found injured.
Neal Herbert/NPS

One of the Yellowstone National Park's best-known wolves had to be put down after being found injured.

P.J. White of the National Park Service says the female wolf was found Tuesday by hikers on the north side of the park.

Flickr user Lance Mountain (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Federal investigators said today they found credible evidence that male supervisors and staff in the maintenance division at Yellowstone National Park created a work environment that included unwelcome and inappropriate comments and actions toward women.

Yellowstone National Park Spokesperson Morgan Warthin:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is updating the bison range’s comprehensive conservation plan and accompanying environmental impact statement.
(PD)

In Montana, the Nez Perce are an indigenous tribe who face strong opposition from some who see these hunting rights as unfair and out of sync with modern society. MTPR reporter Nate Hegyi spent a day with a Nez Perce hunting party to help understand the controversy.

Glacier National Park entrance sign.
Flickr user photommo (CC-BY-ND)

President Donald Trump Thursday proposed a 12 percent cut to the Interior Department's 2018 budget. And national park advocates like Phil Francis are not happy about it:

Threshold Episode 07: Oh Give Me A Home

Mar 16, 2017
Students in Gardiner, MT share their schoolyard with wildlife, including elk and bison.
Amy Martin

In the final episode of Threshold season 01, listeners will encounter pearls of wisdom from youth who have grown up with bison in their midst, and take a trip to the Oakland Zoo, which will soon receive buffalo from the Blackfeet tribe that will help jumpstart a conservation herd there. We also conjure the big ideas driving this first season - what's our future with this animal? How does that connect with our history? Can America ever have wild, free-roaming bison again?

"It's what I call pretty pictures with music," says producer Daniel Dauterive. "It's designed to be a nice break from the world. We're not trying to teach you anything ... we're just saying this is a great park, and here's some great music, enjoy a half hour of letting go of the real world."

"Ninety percent of this program is showcasing what the vast majority of people don't get to see about Yellowstone," says Scott Billadeau, who composed and played the music for this movie.

Learn more from behind the scenes of "Yellowstone in Four Seasons" with producer Daniel Dauterive and musician Scott Billadeau on this episode of "Front Row Center."

Bison at the Stephens Creek Capture facility north of Yellowstone Park in 2015.
Jim Peaco (PD)

On Monday the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's Michael Wright reported that more than 570 Yellowstone National Park bison have been killed so far this winter. The Park is trying to reduce the size of its bison herd from an estimated 5,500 animals to about 3,000.

The annual slaughter happens as part of compromise between the Park Service and State of Montana, which says bison numbers need to be controlled to prevent the spread of the disease brucellosis to cattle. It's controversial, and there is an alternative.

Joining us now to talk about it is Amy Martin, who spent the last year reporting on bison for her podcast: Threshold.

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