The national forests are lands of many uses, but not all uses are created equal. Every once in a while, one use trumps another. On the Helena National Forest recently, 22 Herefords drank too deeply from an arsenic-laced tailings pond at an abandoned mine near Helena, Mont. Fearful lest the dead cows poison bears and coyotes, the Forest Service used a backhoe to bury 15 of them. But the other seven were out of reach of machinery, so the agency called on Don Senn, a Forest Service explosives expert who usually prefers explosives to paperwork.
Not this time.
He gagged each time he had to wrap his explosive fireline cord
around a putrefying animal. And the sight of rapidly dispersing cow
flesh did nothing for him. "It was horrible, disgusting." Only his
"last shot was pretty satisfying," he told the Billings Gazette. "I
had a clear view of it. And I knew I was finished."
Poaching is poaching,
whether you use a gun or simply stoop to pick up 118 pounds of elk
antlers. As a result of his heavy lifting within Yellowstone
National Park, Michael D. Belderrain, 23, of Whitehall, Mont., will
spend 14 days in jail, five years on probation, and will make
restitution of $3,500.
day the Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee will
define and then solve the brucellosis problem in and around
Yellowstone National Park. But first it needs a letterhead on which
to transmit its findings. And choosing a design was no easy matter.
One member of the group of state and federal bureaucrats said the
letterhead issue has occupied a "heckuva" lot of
According to the Casper Star-Tribune,
after a contentious meeting in late August, a majority voted for a
letterhead showing an elk and calf on the left and two bison on the
right. In between are the group's initials: GYIBC. Missing,
opponents said, is the real point of the GYIBC: a cow. According to
Skip Ladd of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, "I don't think we
would be here were it not for the livestock connection."
But the letterhead victory went to those who
say brucellosis carried by bison and elk is a threat to human
beings, who can get undulant fever, and has nothing to do with
cattle grazing in Montana and Wyoming. Despite the human
connection, the group also rejected a suggestion to add a human to
the rare black-footed ferret faced what passes for a "natural"
problem in the West: the destruction or paving over of the colonies
of prairie dogs, which are the ferrets' prey. But in August a new
enemy struck: inadequate air-conditioning in the back of a
Chevrolet Suburban. As a result, Associated Press reported, seven
ferrets expired from heat exhaustion during a six-hour trip from
Wheatland, Wyo., to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "pre-release
conditioning center" in Pueblo, Colo. The ferrets were to be
tutored there to hunt and kill prairie dogs.
The health food craze has been slow to invade
rural Idaho. For over 25 years, the Teton Valley Cowbelles have
raised money by selling beef fudge at the county fair. It's more
popular even than s'mores locally. JoAnn Sessions told the Teton
Valley News: "Most people buy $5 to $10 worth and take it home on a
The recipe: 2 cups sugar, 16 large
marshmallows, 2/3 cup Sego brand milk, and 1/2 cup butter. Cook
over slow heat, stirring constantly until mixture bubbles. Continue
stirring and cook 5 minutes at a boil. Stir in 1 cup chocolate
chips, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup ground roast beef (cooked, then
cooled), and 1/2 cup chopped nuts. Pour into greased cake pan and
Students in Norwood,
Colo., who complain that school is like prison could soon have a
basis for comparison. San Miguel County plans to build a
32-prisoner jail across the street from the public school. At a
recent meeting, outraged residents, many of whom commute 30 miles
to work in the resort town of Telluride, wondered if their upscale
neighbors would be willing to take on the county project.
Steve Hilliard told the Telluride Daily Planet:
"I've got to believe, even if you gave it to them (for free), that
the people in Telluride would be absolutely screaming, and that
would be the end of it."
Four Montana women, dressed in dark, conservative suits, handed out
more than 100 pink slips, sweetened with free doughnuts, to
employees at the Forest Service's Northern Region headquarters in
Missoula, Mont. The mock firings were inspired by President
Clinton's signing of the salvage logging rider. The slips said:
"We are terribly sorry for
any inconvenience this may have caused, but as the Agency is no
longer obligated to disclose its actions to the public, or to
conduct effects analyses of its projects, there is no longer any
need for technicians, scientists, NEPA specialists, or writers."
According to Jennifer Ferenstein, one of the suits, only the
engineering and timber departments survived the faux layoffs.
Most college presidencies
are filled by this time of the year. But you might still get hired
on at the Idaho Falls Institute of Arts and Technology. When the
college's board discovered that its new president, Ted Carpenter,
had a drive-through Ph.D. from a Michigan correspondence school
called University of Berkley, and not, as board members had
thought, from the University of California at Berkeley, it demoted
Carpenter to head of admissions and set out to find a replacement.
According to the Idaho Falls Post Register, Carpenter was kept on
because board members thought the confusion between Berkley and
Berkeley might have been an honest mistake. Plus, the new college
needed an admissions director.
Under its deposed CEO Harry Merlo,
Louisiana-Pacific Corp. was known for playing fast and loose with
the environment. No more. Merlo's successor, Donald Kayser, wrote
to shareholders this summer using vivid green
"In the long term, we see
ourselves creating market opportunities out of environmental
issues. We are already offering a complete line of totally
chlorine-free pulp ... Our forest management practices, with the
help of computer models, will allow us to scientifically maximize
the sustainability and species protection of our forests."
Bill Villers' mother
apparently forgot to tell him not to hang out with the wrong kind
of kids. As a result, the 47-year-old Idahoan was caught scraping
eight acres of the Salmon National Forest in search of gold. First
he tried to brazen out what one state official called "recreational
bulldozing." Villers said he didn't need federal permission because
federal land is really owned by the states. Then, on the second day
of the trial, he pled guilty: "I got stupid because I was listening
to the wrong people." U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge sentenced
Villers to six months of home detention, five years of probation
and a fine of $20,000, according to the Idaho Falls Post Register.
Marston, Elizabeth Manning,
Rick Keister, Warren
Cornwall, Shea Andersen
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