Map Credit: National Audubon Society

Ryan Zinke Pisses All Over the Endangered Species Act


The Greater Sage-Grouse is an endangered species. More precisely, the species meets all the requirements for classification as an endangered species, but a painfully negotiated, multi-state agreement was made that protects and attempts to recover the Greater Sage-Grouse to avoid the sometimes Draconian consequences of endangered species classification. You can read the history of that…

Draft Environmental Assessment, p. 28

Why WC Remains an Environmental Activist


WC has never driven spikes in to trees designated for cutting. WC has never monkeywrenched,1 although sorely tempted a few times. But WC has been an environmental activist since high school. One of the lessons of 50 years of environmental activism has been is that you have to watch the government very carefully. The folks…

Testosterone Levels Plotted Against Age, Human Males

The Steinkruger Principle


Niesje Steinkruger, WC’s friend, colleague, and retired superior court judge, first postulated the principle that WC call’s the Steinkruger Principle. Her theory was explained to WC at a Hallowe’en party at her house – a party that has since become a legend – and it may be that alcohol was involved.[^1] But the theory is…

Sea Otter, Valdez Arm, Alaska

Theodore Sturgeon (1918-1985) and “Like Young”


Theodore Sturgeon is nearly forgotten. A part of science fiction’s Golden Age, he was a prolific, very highly regarded author. He wrote a dozen or so novels, but mostly he wrote short stories, more than 200 of them. Today is the 60th anniversary of WC’s favorite Sturgeon short story, “Like Young.” It’s an unmatched parable…

Sir Thomas More, by Hans Holbein the Younger, via Wikicommons

Trump Sucks. So What Can We Do?


Several of WC’s readers have written to ask what a good citizen should do when the government is bad. WC is frankly astonished that anyone would ask him. WC, after all, is a tree-hugging, retired lawyer. But as must be obvious, not shy about his opinions. How bad has Trump gotten? George Will, the closest…

The Grandfather of the Blues: Buddy Guy


Most (maybe all) of his contemporaries are dead. Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Albert King; all gone. Seven-time Grammy winner Buddy Guy is still standing. He’s 81 years old and can still rock the house down, make his guitar weep and make you laugh out loud. He’s the living spirit of…

Golden Eagle in Flight, Pahsimeroi Valley, Idaho

Aquila chrysaetos, Just Because


Bald Eagles get all the press, but if there is a bird you’d call the most elegant raptor in North America, it’s the Golden Eagle, Aquila chrysaetos. It’s the largest North American raptor, with a wingspan that can run to 76 inches. A full-grown female – among raptors, females are generally larger – can weigh 14 pounds.…

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Climate Change Denier (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Lisa Murkowski: Too Little, Too Late


Alaska’s senior U.S. Senator, Lisa Murkowski, has finally issued a statement on the Trump Administration’s child abuse on our borders. The time is now for the White House to end the cruel, tragic separations of families. They are not consistent with our values. The thousands of children taken from their parents and families must be…

Looking southwest across the middle Pahsimeroi Valley at the Lost River Range

Notes on the Pahsimeroi Basin


When WC moved to Idaho a few years ago, WC knew it was a state that has an extensive basin and range province. “Basin and range,” for non-geologists, is a pattern of alternating steep mountains and broad, mostly flat valleys. The mountains and valleys all extend northwesterly, mostly parallel, and are major geoform of the…

A Most Cooperative Badger


WC spent a few days in the Pahsimeroi Valley, a fairly obscure tributary of the Salmon River, in east central Idaho. With a couple of friends (Thanks, Vickie and Ken!), we spent some time exploring the Pahsimeroi and the Lost River Range, the mountains that bound the Pahsimeroi Valley on the westerly side. One of…

Steven Howke, Manager of Montana Credit Union

The Political Hack in Charge of Dept. of Interior Science


How bad is the politics getting at Secretary’s Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department? So bad that a faceless political appointee, a non-scientist, is in charge of deciding what grants get awarded and what don’t. His name is Steven Howke. He’s a school classmate of Zinke, also from Whitefish, Montana. Before joining the Department of Interior, he ran…

Mountain Bluebird Male, Lost Valley, Idaho

Looking for a Home


Mountain Bluebirds are in trouble. While in some of their range, populations are stable after years of decline, in other areas the Mountain Bluebird numbers are still declining. One of the reasons for the decline is that bluebirds, which nest in cavities, are being out-competed by Eurasian Starlings, an invasive species. A classic scene: a…

Tales from Wasilla: Reagan Martz


Reagan Martz is in jail on $50,000 bail. He is charged with killing one person and injuring two others. He is alleged to have been drunk, seriously drunk, while operating a boat on Flat Lake near Big Lake. He struck three women on a float tube. There were plenty of signs that this could happen.…

Concert Review: Bare Naked Ladies


It’s completely false advertising. There aren’t any ladies. No naked chicks. It’s four geezers with Canada accents.  – Facebook comment on Barenaked Ladies WC seems to have a thing for Canadian musicians who have achieved a certain amount of fame at home but are relatively little-known in the states. Still with 14 million albums sold…