The Wayward West

  The Bureau of Land Management is cracking down on stray cattle along the San Pedro River in southern Arizona. On May 8, the agency announced that cows that wander into the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area will be rounded up, and their owners handed trespassing fines, reports AP (HCN, 4/12/99). The Arizona Cattlemen's Association's C.D. "Doc" Lane had no quarrel with the announcement: "If it's not your allotment, you don't graze there."

Bison that wander out of Yellowstone National Park won't get any relief from a new National Wildlife Federation plan, according to Montana state veterinarian Arnold Gertonson. The wildlife group announced May 2 that it will spend up to $12,000 annually for the next five years to reimburse ranchers for vaccinating their cattle against brucellosis. But Gertonson says the program won't stop the state from killing wayward bison (HCN, 4/12/99). "It's not the cattle that have the brucellosis," he told AP, "it's the bison that have the brucellosis."

A plan to cut the flow of cars into Yosemite National Park hit a speed bump. In April, two California counties dropped their support of a new bus system, saying it was unnecessary. But 7,000 vehicles roll into the park on summer weekends, and parking lots fill open meadows and wetlands. The Park Service says traffic is the single greatest threat to the park.

Rock climbers will continue to make themselves scarce in Wyoming's Devils Tower National Monument this June. In April, a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judge turned down a second appeal from rock climbers who said a voluntary ban on climbing was unconstitutional (HCN, 4/27/98). Since 1995, the Park Service has asked climbers to stay off the 600-foot-tall butte in June while Native Americans perform religious ceremonies. Since then, climbing in June has dropped 80 percent.

Environmentalists are halfway toward raising $13.7 million to buy the Loomis Forest in north-central Washington. On May 10, an anonymous donor contributed $2 million to help buy the 25,000-acre state-owned wilderness area (HCN, 6/22/98). The group has until July 1 to raise the rest of the money.

* Greg Hanscom
High Country News Classifieds