|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Clever and dangerous bears spur canister requirements for overnight campersBears like people food. They like it so much, in fact, that they chew through ropes to bring down bear bags, steal backpacks full of yummy snacks, and maul anything in your campsite that remotely smells of treats.
Six-mile stretch of Appalachian Trail closed due to clever and hungry bearYou know that bringing food inside your tent in bear country is a big no-no and since you're so responsible, BACKPACKER reader, you also are well-versed in the skills necessary to hang a bear bag, right? Well, if you're hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, all this outdoor know-how may not be enough to deter a certain hungry bear.
Huge, already-endangered migratory sea turtles may become extinct in a few decades, scientists sayFirst the West Virginia flying squirrel—now the leatherback turtle? We now can sadly add another animal wonder to the list of declining natural populations: Leatherback turtles, which nest on tropical beaches, near the Pacific islands, and migrate all the way up to the coasts of California and Oregon each year, are in danger of becoming extinct in the next few decades, according to Oceana, a group involved in protecting the world’s ocean inhabitants.
Suing over a flying squirrel? No April fools jokes here--the Bush decision to remove flying squirrel from endangered list causes controversyGood ol’ George W. Bush wasn’t too keen on the West Virginia flying squirrel. (Maybe it was all those times the creature flew on over to Maryland and kept splash landing in the Camp David pool. Hmm.) Last August, Bush finally took action by taking the charming animal off of the endangered species list.
Now, with Bush out of office and Obama trying to guide the way through the muck of our economic mess, a lawsuit over a measly airborne rodent might seem a perfect April Fools' joke to play on a new president.
But it turns out said lawsuit is no laughing matter.Read Full Story...
Mount Redoubt erupts five times, rains ash, cancels Anchorage flightsWe told you this would happen: It took longer than expected, but Alaska's Mount Redoubt, part of the rarely visited Lake Clark National Park, started erupting on Sunday and has erupted four more times or so since. The eruptions have sent columns of white smoke thousands of feet into the sky, canceling flights in Anchorage and depositing a fine layer of ash as far north as Healy, on the edge of Denali National Park.
Same individual appears in Sierra Forest one year after discoveryLast year, a lone wolverine made an appearance in the Sierra Nevada mountains outside Truckee, California, becoming the first sighting of the rare mustelid in the state since the 1920s. Now, just over a year later, he's reappeared for scientist's cameras only 15 miles away from his original location.
It appears the male wolverine can survive in the area for an extended period of time, said Jeffrey Copeland, wildlife ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station in Missoula, Mont.Read Full Story...
"The photos show it to be a big, fat, healthy animal," Copeland said. "It doesn't seem to be in any distress. He's made it a year and he's finding food."
Lower 48 wolf populations reach record highs in the Rockies, but population growth is leveling off. Meanwhile, the park service battles the state of Alaska over aerial hunting.It's official—the wolf is loose. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials, North American gray wolves number a record 1,645 individuals in the Rocky Mountains of the Lower 48, with 497 in Montana, 302 in Wyoming and 846 in Idaho. That's an 8 percent growth over last year.
"The population is getting to about as many as you're going to have," he said. "There's a big, healthy population in the Northern Rocky Mountains," he said. "At some point, the suitable habitat will be filled with wolves and the population just won't grow any more."Read Full Story...
Obama's Interior Department backs up controversial Bush administration-era decisionOK, people, I'm as tired of this as you are, so let's gather 'round the campfire one more time to spread the news: Obama's Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has confirmed that gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and the western Great Lakes will remain off the Endangered Species list.
"The recovery of the gray wolf throughout significant portions of its historic range is one of the great success stories of the Endangered Species Act," he said in a conference call from Washington, D.C.Wolves will remain endangered in Wyoming, where the federal government says their state management plans are not strong enough. Officials from the state say they plan to challenge the ruling.
Heading out to Maine for that mid-winter cross country ski trip? Might want to pack a hard hat.I've encountered several trail hazards in my 20 years as a downhill skier: rogue snowboarders, hidden rocks, and the occasional conifer (seriously, they come out of nowhere!).
Possible move of Forest Service from Agriculture Dept. to Interior could spark controversyYou may not think of the Forest Service's iconic spokesbear as living in a gray, columned building in Washington D.C., but some action on Capitol Hill may give Smokey a new home--up a few blocks and across the Washington Monument to another gray, columned building.