A Crime Against Nature


Imagine running one of the great American marathons. Or, if you are in the kind of shape I am in, imagine jogging, then walking, and in the end possibly crawling to the finish line of an American marathon. Whatever your condition, by the time you reach the finish line you’d be in dire need of…

Another BUCIP: Wild Horses in the West


It’s been a while since WC wrote about a BUCIP – a Big, Ugly, Complicated and Intractable Problem. The typical BUCIP is complicated, with multiple sides, entrenched stakeholders and packed with emotional positions. The problem of wild horses in the West is a classic BUCIP. Wild horses1 are an introduced species, not native to North…

Jocotoco Antpitta

Some Notes on DEIJ and Conservation


DEIJ, for anyone show has been living under a rock, is “diversity, equity, inclusion and justice,” and it is a powerful and developing theme in many national and international current events. In the context of conservation, DEIJ raises issues of environmental justice, acknowledgement of historic treatment and mistreatment of races and people of color, recognition…

Idaho Joint Resolution 103 Debunked


In a weird, ritualized exercise, a kind of would-be attempted magic, each year the Idaho state legislature adopts a Joint Resolution condemning the very idea of breaching the four Lower Snake River Dams. The resolution is packed with lies, half-lies and distortions. It also simply ignores the proposal from their fellow Republican Rep. Mike Simpson…

Male Sage Grouse Strutting His Stuff

Sage Advice


There’s a place just a few hours drive from Boise where the old magic still works.  You want to get there on an early spring morning while it’s still dark. Park, stay in your vehicle, but roll the windows down. It will be cold in the pre-dawn darkness, but the reward is hearing that strange…

A Tale of Two Bird Counts


WC has participated in a fair number of Christmas Bird Counts. For non-birders, the Christmas Bird Count is an annual census of birds, a citizen science project that has been held during the Christmas holidays for some 120 years now. It provides one of the longest baseline studies of populations of bird species across North…

The Consequences of Greed


U.S. District Judge David Barlow – a Trump-appointed federal judge – killed the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to lease 59 parcels in Utah’s Uinta Basin for oil and gas development. His December 10 decision was a very near thing, and serves as a lesson in both the consequences of greed and the serious deficiencies…

Lessons from Pebble Mine


Okay, the good guys won. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency that determines whether a permit for a mine should be issued, denied such a mining permit to Pebble Limited Partnership. The Corps determined that Pebble Mine “would not comply with the 404(b)(1) Guidelines” – the Clean Water regulations – “and would…

Mt. Polley, British Columbia, Mine Disaster

“Trust the Process”?


Mark Hamilton, past president of the University of Alaska and a man WC formerly respected, gave a presentation on behalf of Pebble Mine in late September. He told his audience to “trust the process.” Seriously? Anyone interested in the Pebble Mine project has seen Environmental Investigation Agency’s secret videos and read the reports where the…

Condor Candor


The California Condor captive breeding program is a qualified success. From a low of 22 birds, all in captivity, there are now more than 500 birds, some 200 in the wild. That’s a very impressive recovery, and a credit to a lot of hard-working folks at The Peregrine Fund, San Diego Zoo and Los Angeles…

Moose, Silver Creek, Diaho

Field Notes: Silver Creek


Silver Creek, in southcentral Idaho, is one of the state’s great conservation success stories. Managed – rescued, in fact – by The Nature Conservancy, it is a highly successful model of what can be done when collaboration is successful. It started in 1976 when the local community urged The Nature Conservancy to purchase 479 acres…

Sawtooth Mountains at Dawn from Stanley Lake, Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho

May WC Ask a Favor?


WC rarely asks his readers for a favor. It’s happened a couple of times, and each time readers have come through. This doesn’t involve any of your money, it will benefit you and your families, and it will make you feel good besides. WC wants you to contact your Representatives and Senators and ask them…

Stanley Lake and the Sawtooths at 6:10 AM

“What Is Your ‘Why’?”


WC attended Wild Idaho recently. Among the many excellent speakers was Connie Myers, the founding director of the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center. The Center is an inter-agency training facility for the four federal agencies with a stake in wilderness: the Forestry Service in the Department of Agriculture; the National Park Service and the…

Sawtooth National Recreation Area, July 16, 2016

Can We Think About this Privatization of Federal Land Idea?


Americans, and international visitors, love federal lands. Idahoans pack the federal parks, national forests, national recreation areas and other federal lands all summer. Everything from dirt bike racing in the Owyhee Mountains to rafting Wild and Scenic Rivers to backpacking Forest Service trails to filling up all the campgrounds in the state on weekends. Hunting…