Saturday in the Park, Part 2

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We were cautioned by a ranger in the road not to stop the car, but were allowed to slow it down.  Visible among the pine trees for a moment was a mother grizzly followed by two cubs, their silver fur glinting in the sun.  I had to blink to believe I really saw them.

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Another animal I’d not seen before was the bighorn sheep.  We found some over by Roosevelt Lodge (Tower Falls), in the same area TR did in his visit in 1903.

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Bison are beautiful.  The babies like to jump and dance in the evening.

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Guess you’re never too young to play!

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A raven drops in to see the black wolf the photographers are lined up for in Lamar Valley.

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Iconic elk rest peacefully on ledges of iconic Mammoth Hot Springs.

After an expedition to Yellowstone in 1870 escorted by Captain Doane from Fort Ellis in Montana, members of Congress and President Ulysses S. Grant designated it as our first national park.  The people of the United States would now be able to experience nature in its pristine form, and look forward to their grandchildren doing the same.

In 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt made Pelican Island off the coast of Florida a national bird preserve, rapidly setting aside more than 230 million acres for national parks and monuments.  In 1906 the Antiquities Act which he and Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot plotted swiped treasure from under the noses of miners, loggers and developers before they could profit from it.  TR said the land could never be improved upon.

This Spring, the Antiquities Act is being tampered with.  Of course, they wouldn’t dare take away any land already preserved just to make someone richer.

Would they?

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Look at these websites for a discussion of recent actions on the Antiquities Act of 1906:

https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOI-2017-0002-0001

http://www.americanforests.org/blog/new-executive-order-antiquities-act-spell-disaster-fore

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Saturday in the Park, Part 1

I wasn’t wishing it was the Fourth of July, because by then in Yellowstone National Park the landscape would be shades of brown and the animal life higher and out of view.  As it was, our trip during the second week of May to this famous natural ecosystem in Wyoming and Montana turned out to be a boom time to see and photograph big game animals.

 

 

At Mammoth Hot Springs we watched a group of elk, some drinking from a stream and some resting.

Hopefully their thick robes kept these bison warm enough in their crossing of the icy river.

 

The introduction of wolves to Lamar Valley has been controversial; their numbers have increased while the elk numbers have decreased.  Photographers line up en masse with powerful lenses on tripods.  I married my camera to a telescope and got a clearer view of two wolves working on a bison carcass.  An injured black wolf, possible an Alpha female, was causing a bit of commotion closer to the road.

Yellowstone Lake is still mostly frozen in May.  But deep underneath, seismic activity abounds and is closely monitored.

Almost to the Cooke City entrance on our way out of the park, we spotted these two young moose.

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Next time: “You may slow your car, but do not stop.  There are grizzlies ahead…”