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  • This article by Betsy Marston originally appeared in the Jun 01, 2010 issue of High Country News.
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Topic: Growth & Planning     Department: Heard Around the West     Comments: 0

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Gettin' skunked

News: Jun 01, 2010
by Betsy Marston

IDAHO
In April, staffers at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game decided to correct what they perceived as nature gone awry by sprinkling a handful of hungry predators around an island swarming with birds. The agency introduced three badgers and two skunks to 6-acre Gull Island in the Blackfoot Reservoir in hopes the animals would scare away some of the thousands of American white pelicans nesting there. Pelicans are blamed for devouring too many fish, says the Associated Press, “including sensitive Yellowstone cutthroat trout, as well as stocked hatchery-raised trout coveted by anglers.” Unfortunately, the predators, perhaps alarmed by the prospect of too much free food, bailed: Two badgers swam to the mainland and a third can’t be found. Of the skunks, one “skedaddled,” leaving the other alone to stop the pelican population from exploding. But, explained a regional supervisor of the Fish and Game Department, “This is exactly what adaptive management is. You try something, you learn something from it and decide what the best approach to take is.” The newbies may also have found the tiny island confining: Badgers and skunks both prefer around a 1,000-acre range.

OREGON
A woman tried to ride her horse up to a takeout window at a Dairy Queen in Southeast Portland but got turned away, reports OregonLive.com. Some might call this discrimination, since many new restaurants in the area are adapting to the increasing number of cyclists. After a customer complained, for example, Burgerville revamped its 39 drive-throughs to make them “bike-friendly.” But unless your horse has training wheels, you’re out of luck: Most fast-food chains interviewed said that they would never serve anybody on a horse.

THE SOUTHWEST
If you live in Utah, you can get a permit to carry a concealed weapon even if you have never fired a gun and don’t know a trigger from a teapot. This does not sit well with New Mexico, which recently told the Beehive State that its concealed weapon permits will no longer pass muster in New Mexico. In an editorial, the Salt Lake Tribune sympathized with New Mexico and agreed that its home state’s permissiveness was inexplicable: “Would Utah issue a driver license to someone who has never driven a car or passed a driving test?” New Mexico requires permit applicants to show they know how to fire a gun safely after taking a 15-hour firearms course; Utah, meanwhile, “has positioned itself as the supermarket for people around the nation to receive concealed-carry permits at bargain basement prices and with minimal training.”

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