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Gardiner Woman Plays Key Role in Missoula Glass Recycling Project

Aubree Durfey, Gardiner High School alum and Jardine Ski Run volunteer and ribbon winner, helped put together an Earth Day project in Missoula that brought a glass pulverizer to town. The machine was the guest of honor in Caras Park and ground through 10 tons of glass in 5 hours.

The pulverizer turns glass into cullet - which is currently being used in a variety of areas, including in products that rely upon aggregate, like sidewalks and floors,and is also being used in landscaping, fish tanks and in horse arenas.

Read all about it in the Missoulian.

Posted on Thursday, May 3, 2007 at 09:56AM by Registered CommenterBear Creek Council | CommentsPost a Comment

Feds drop Yellowstone grizzly from list

HELENA, Mont. - Grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park no longer need Endangered Species Act protection, the federal government said Thursday.

The area had an estimated 136 to 312 grizzlies when the species was listed as threatened in 1975, but has more than 500 of the bears today, the government said.

Read the full article at Yahoo News.

Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2007 at 03:44PM by Registered CommenterBear Creek Council | CommentsPost a Comment

Weed Coordinating Committee Receives Achievement Award

Weed Coordinating Committee Receives Achievement Award
from InsideNPS

The Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) Weed Coordinating Committee received a Lifetime Achievement Award on February 27th during a National Invasive Weed Awareness Week ceremony at the U.S. Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C.

Representatives from several organizations, including the Invasive Weed Awareness Committee and Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Invasive Weeds, presented the award.

Kelly McClosky from Grand Teton National Park, Kent Houston from the Shoshone National Forest and Ericka Edmiston from the Teton County Weed and Pest District accepted the award on behalf of the committee.

Invasive, noxious weeds spread rapidly, threatening habitat, biodiversity and agriculture. Eventually, invasive weeds disrupt entire ecosystems, destroying habitat for everything from microscopic creatures to large animals such as bear and elk. On rangeland, invasive plants reduce or destroy forage for livestock. Scientists estimate that invasive plants cost our economy $35 billion in damages and treatment each year.

The GYA Weed Coordinating Committee was formed more than 20 years ago to address this threat. The group included innovative land managers from the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and state and county agencies from Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. They produced The Guidelines for the Coordinated Management of Noxious Weeds in the Greater Yellowstone Area, the first guidebook for developing and managing a weed management area in the United States. These guidelines resulted in mapping standards now used by the North American Weed Management Association for addressing noxious plants in areas across the country.

Today, the GYA Weed Committee produces a noxious weed map for managing more than 30 million acres. This group continues to show leadership through the development of a certification process for inspecting and maintaining weed-free sand and gravel pits in the area, helping to prevent the spread of noxious plants.

Contact Information
Name: Rita Beard and Elaine Sevy

Posted on Wednesday, March 7, 2007 at 10:07AM by Registered CommenterBear Creek Council | CommentsPost a Comment | References47 References

BC Council Member Comments on BioProspecting in Yellowstone

These comments were submitted by Bob Lindstrom, Bear Creek Council member and Yellowstone National Park employee.

To learn more about the issue, go to the NPS Website.

Bob’s Letter:

January 23, 2007

Michael D. Soukup, Ph. D.
NPS Associate Director, Natural Resources, Stewardship & Science
1849 C. Street NW
Washington DC 20240

NPS Employee comments on Benefits Sharing Draft EIS

Dear Dr. Soukup:

The Taq-PCR patent is the perfect model of how to do things right. The NPS is to be commended for preserving biodiversity and making it available for the advance of science. But let us quit while we are ahead, taking credit for doing what we know best and not continue to be bogged down in litigation that can be a bottomless pit.

Concerning the Benefits-Sharing (BS) DEIS, I am disappointed by the length of time it has taken, and the lack of scientific justification for this paradigm shift in NPS policy.

1. JUSTIFICATION: Like the goose that laid the proverbial golden egg, the advance of science has been thwarted during the past 7 years by the red tape we are generating concerning research permitting in Yellowstone and access to the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) Yellowstone Collection. The free market, and the free flow of scientific information are the qualities that make America great. I fear that the Benefits-Sharing (BS) proposal is antithesis to this.

The DEIS justifies it’s existence claiming that the NPS received nothing from the Taq-PCR patent. To the contrary, the lack of NPS involvement in the Taq-PCR patent resulted in a multi-billion dollar revenue stream of great benefit to society and a tidy remuneration to the US Treasury, the source of all NPS base funding. According to Dr. Mark Young, of Montana State University, over 1 Billion dollars per year in commerce is being generated by PCR and when we siphon off the normal IRS percentage the total approximates the entire $65 million Yellowstone NP (YNP) operating budget each year, even now that the patent has expired, revenue from Thermus aquaticus DNA polymerase continues supporting YNP via the US Treasury.

2. HUMAN VECTORED CONTAMINATION: As a microbiologist, I am not so concerned with what people are taking out of the hot springs as I am with what they are putting into them. As with the other aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in Yellowstone, exotic species have been introduced by well meaning NPS staff with disastrous results. For example, the Lake Trout problem probably results from our “aquarium program” from years past. Xenic weed species and mud snails all were introduced by people into Yellowstone. I was hoping to see a scientific survey on the question of exotic species in hot springs. But instead, the BS DEIS deliberately excluded one of the only such studies on hot spring contamination, a publication resulting from a presentation at the 5th Biennial Science Conference on Xenic Species in Yellowstone. This publication, along with all the other peer-reviewed exotic species publications, was published in the Western North American Naturalist magazine in January 2002. No mention of this paper appears in the DEIS which signals to me that this issue is being swept under the carpet, covered-up in the characteristic BS DEIS black-box style confusing this issue and avoiding the hard questions introduced at the conference.

For this reason, the lack of assurance that the geothermal ecosystem is safe from contamination by human activities, the preservation & protection question of hot springs biodiversity remains unanswered. The paper which presented a 25 year long inventory of a few acid hot springs did indicate that a new species, possibly a “weed species” Acidianus brierleyi is now present where none existed prior to human influence. Using this as a model, shouldn’t we be asking these questions? Until we can be sure sampling is safe, we should not encourage yet more cross-contamination of the ecosystem. Having personally accompanied researchers to these sites in the past, I know they leave no micro-habitat untouched when searching for unique thermostable enzymes. According to one of our leading microbial ecologists, Dr. Richard Castenholz, “…exotic species tend to establish only in disturbed habitats…”

Furthermore, no microbiologists or microbial ecologists were involved with the production of the DEIS. This is disconcerting to me since many of the potential discoveries involve prokaryotic life. It seems that once again, a lot of good government resources of time and money have been wasted. This DEIS is a Pandora’s Box, and I hope we do not compound it into a solicitors office calamity as well. Let us stick to the basics in running our Parks, and not venture into the “away game” with marketing our genetic resources.

My opinion is Alternative A, just leave well enough alone. Perhaps unhindered by the NPS the next super-enzyme will materialize and give us some nanotechnology breakthrough or a cancer cure, but keep the door open for the advance of science in national parks, for we safeguard the “Crown Jewels” of Earth’s biological diversity!


Bob Lindstrom
Finance Technician

Cc: Benefits sharing DEIS Team

Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 11:49AM by Registered CommenterBear Creek Council | CommentsPost a Comment | References3 References

Let’s get consistent on brucellosis policies

Op-Ed from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

May 11, 2006 - Let’s get consistent on brucellosis policies (Bozeman Daily Chronicle)
The layman who encounters the issue of brucellosis in Montana wildlife is likely to come away with his head spinning. Confusion reigns and not only on…

Read the piece.

Posted on Friday, May 12, 2006 at 03:34PM by Registered CommenterBear Creek Council | CommentsPost a Comment

Op Ed: "'Diseased' not correct term for tested bison"

Billings Gazette. May 4, 2006:

Letter: ‘Diseased’ not correct term for tested bison

A recent article by Becky Bohrer gave the impression all Yellowstone bison testing positive for brucellosis are “diseased.” This statement is misleading.

Read the full letter.

Posted on Friday, May 5, 2006 at 03:41PM by Registered CommenterBear Creek Council | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

Wendy Thomas' Letter to Governor Schweitzer

Wendy Thomas wrote an excellent, informative letter to the governor. Wendy, her sister Becky, and their father Hank Rate all spoke out at the recent meeting between the
governor and the livestock owners in our area.

Wendy has great things to say about being someone with cattle who wants to live with bison.

The letter:

Wendy Thomas
Gardiner MT 59030

Governor Brian Schweitzer
Office of the Governor
Capitol Station
Helena, MT 59601

Governor Schweitzer:

We have a small place on the north edge of Yellowstone Park just out of Gardiner. We run about twenty five head of cows on 70 acres. I grew up on this place and my husband and I are currrently raising our three children here. While not our primary income, it is our primary life.

We are thrilled that you are addressing the buffalo issue. The current plan is unacceptable. It is absolutely crazy to attempt to manage Yellowstone National Park like a ranch. It is the last “Serengeti” in the temperate zones of North America. We live here because of the wildlife in the area. We share our place with elk, deer, mountain lions, bears, an occasional buffalo, and a various assundry of other animals and birds. It might be more accurate to say they share their place with us. Either way, generally we have a symbiotic relationship.

We are concerned at the proposal to “temporarily lease” the grazing rights of the cattle owners in the valley. We live here for the wildlife, and if the only permanent solution to the buffalo issue was to rid the valley of cows, we would do so. However, we aren’t willing to give up our lifestyle and cattle line for politics and refuse to be “terrorized” by the threat of brucellosis.

Our cattle line has been on this place since the early 1900’s. Much of the beef that fed Yellowstone at the turn of the century was raised and fattened on this place. One of our old sheds was the mangle plant where they processed mangles to fatten the cattle before they were shipped to the park. My folks bought this place and cows in 1968 and every cow here is of that bloodline. We have worked hard to build this herd and are proud of the 700 pound steers we send to market every year.

We don’t live here for the money. Both my husband and I have good college educations and could make more money living anywhere else. We live here for the lifestyle that the area provides. I love to ride cows in the summer and see elk. Last summer, for the first time in twenty years, we had a cow eaten by a grizzly bear. It wasn’t pleasant and certainly not kind to the pocketbook, but is all part of the big picture that we love.

Without our small cow herd, our children will grow up to be different people. My values were defined by being raised on what I considered a ranch. There were always chores to do and if they weren’t done critters suffered or died. It instilled in me the ability to work hard, a sense of responsibility and ultimately pride. In a world where the ranch metality as well as the ranches are melting into subdivisions and chores are melting into TV and vidwo games, this lifestyle is invaluable to us. They used to say, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Anymore it should be, “all play and now work makes Jack useless.”

There is absolutely no reason that cows and buffalo cannot share the same country with minimal chance of brucellosis infection. Our cows run with the elk all winter on our place and all summer in Cinnabar Basin where we run part of our herd in the summer. As do the cows in Martinsdale, Lewistown, Bozeman and other places all over the state. Running cows with any wildlife poses a slight threat to our brucellosis free status. It works out that percentages and populations dictate that the brucellosis infection threat from running cows with buffalo or elk is the same.

The answer lies in the vaccinating and testing of cows. We have always vaccinated and I assumed it was required. I was surprised to find that it isn’t mandatory. It would be much cheaper for the state to require and pay for testing and vaccination of the cows in the Valley south of Jankee Jim than to lease grazing rights. You will hear conflicting evidence that the vaccination is anywhere from 75% to 95% effective. Well, that remains true whether cows are running with buffalo or elk. The bottom lins is that the chance of transmission with vaccination is miniscule.

You may or may not be surprised to find that several people in the valley are “stocking up” on cows and/or keeping cows in anticipation of a buy out or lease program. If you announce a vaccination and test program, I would gamble that you will see the number of cows in the Upper Yellowstone Valley plummet. We would strongly support a state stand that would require mandatory testing and vaccinating at the cattle owner’s expense of all cows in the upper valley. That would really separate the wheat from the chaff. We already pay to vaccinate and are in full support of mandatory vaccination. It is purely irresponsible and stupid to run cattle anywhere in the United States and not bangs vaccinate. The testing would be an added expense, but wouldn’t make or break us.

We are wide open to discussion on the buffalo, but want to make it known that the fear of brucellosis transmission from buffalo has exploded out of proportion and that the diminutive threat of infection is out there whether the buffalo roam or not. It is not increased by allowing buffalo out of the park and is decreased immensely by required vaccination.

Thank you so much for giving the issue attention. The current practice of haze and capture fails in all areas. I am excited to be able to discuss the issues. It has been a closed case for too long. You have demonstrated that you have a good grasp of the situation. We are on the right path.


Wendy Thomas

Posted on Sunday, April 30, 2006 at 08:25AM by Registered CommenterBear Creek Council | CommentsPost a Comment | References3 References

Osprey back and other bird notes for 4/1-4/3

Hi, all,

Friends in Paradise Valley report osprey returned to their nesting platfrom at Jumping Rainbow Ranch on March 31. Also seen in the valley this weekend: Swainson’s hawks, meadowlarks (nesting), Richardson’s ground squirrels, Brewer’s blackbirds, sandhill cranes, two rough-legged hawks soaring (and probably heading north), mountain bluebirds, and a golden eagle on a utility pole along the East River Road. I also saw a swallow or swallow-like bird at Point of Rocks this morning.


Posted on Monday, April 3, 2006 at 11:42AM by Registered CommenterBear Creek Member | CommentsPost a Comment | References46 References

Growth hearing draws crowd in Livingston

A number of Bear Creek Council members attended the Park Country Growth Policy Hearing in Livingston on February 1.

Read about it in this Bozeman Daily Chronicle story from Feb 2.

Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 11:41AM by Registered CommenterBear Creek Council | CommentsPost a Comment

Bison Management Call to Action by Bear Creek Council

Bison Management Call to Action by Bear Creek Council

  1. Assist Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) with patrols in the Gardiner and West Yellowstone areas.
  2. Work the Gardiner connections
  3. Support/encourage the Governor and his staff

1. BFC

We asked the BFC what help they needed and we agreed to spread the word through BCC membership.


  • They welcome anyone to help them with patrols—looking for buffalo, which ones are at risk of capture, helping to haze where feasible, witnessing and if appropriate helping hunters.
  • Ride along with them to see how they work.
  • Call them to find out what areas need watching.
  • Volunteer to help in West Yellowstone, where conditions and hazing activities are very different from Gardiner.
  • Gardiner camp: 484-9161; West Yell camp: 646-0070; cell phone in Gardiner area: 928-660-3497

2. Gardiner Work

  • Encourage the Chamber’s idea of holding a public meeting on the issue; help them organize it, invite CUT president Kate Gordon, NPS officials, Governor or representative. Julia Page will see about firming up chamber commitment; Mike Leach can help with some organizing; Carolyn will let Gov office know event is planned.
    • ACTION:
      Any citizen can call or stop by the chamber office to let them know you want this meeting to happen. If you are a chamber member and/or business owner, be sure to mention that.
  • Write an editorial piece about “tips for living with bison”—Heidi Anderson and George Nell will work on that.
  • Emphasize to the press and local media that the bison issue directly affects our most important industries—tourism and recreation; Gardiner encourages wildlife; bison are good for our town; current management actions have the potential to hurt our businesses. Julia to ask another business-owner to write a letter; Sarah Richey and MacNeil Lyons will also write letters.
    • ACTION:
      Other BCC members are encouraged to write letters also.
  • Let Yellowstone National Park Superintendent know that Gardiner citizens are concerned about bison management operations; this in part can help counter the phone calls they are receiving from CUT members demanding the bison be removed.
    • ACTION:
      Call the Superintendent’s office or YNP Public Affairs, write letters, fill out a public comment form next time you are at the Albright Visitor Center in Mammoth.

3. Governor Schweitzer

Bear Creek Council will be contacting the governor’s office to let them know we support their recent actions (stopping DOL participation in hazing in YNP on north side), we encourage them to work with CUT on stopping the grazing, and we encourage the governor to open discussions about how to stop/revise/change this bison management plan, which isn’t working well.


  • Carolyn will call Hal Harper (Governor’s office) about all of above, and emphasize we want the governor to come to Gardiner to talk about this issue.
  • Mike Leach will write a letter about all of the above, but emphasize we want to be supportive of changes that the governor has started.
  • Mike has already asked for a meeting with Hal Harper in February.
  • Bob Lindstrom has already written the governor as a private citizen.
  • Any and all members are encouraged to write, call, email the governors office with comments about any of the above. Again, if you are a business owner, you might receive more attention by talking about how the management actions affect your business, the public perception of our town, etc.


Buffalo Field Campaign:
Gardiner camp: 484-9161
West Yell camp: 646-0070
cell phone in Gardiner area: 928-660-3497

Gardiner Chamber of Commerce:

Livingston Enterprise:
P.O. Box 2000
Livingston, MT 59047
Fax: 222-8580
letter to the editor:
News staff:

Bozeman Chronicle
PO Box 1190
Bozeman, MT 59771
Fax: (587-7995
Letter to editor:, or use online form

Billings Gazette
Phone: (406) 657-1200
Toll Free: 1-800-543-2505
Postal Mail: P.O. Box 36300, Billings, MT 59107-6300
News stories and tips:
Letters to the editor: or use online form

Helena Independent Record:
The Independent Record
P.O. Box 4249
Helena, MT 59604
Fax: 406-447-4052 or use online form

Governor’s office: (has online comment form)
Governor Brian A. Schweitzer
Office of the Governor
Montana State Capitol Bldg.
P.O. Box 200801
Helena MT 59620-0801
406-444-3111, FAX 406-444-5529
Chief Policy Advisor, Hal Harper: 444-5546
Policy Advisor for Natural Resources, Mike Volesky: 444-7857

YNP Superintendent:
Suzanne Lewis, Superintendent
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone, WY 82190
307-344-2002 (Jan Laye)
Fax: 307-344-2005

YNP Public Affairs:
Al Nash
Same address as superintendent
fax: 307-344-2418

Learn more about this issue on our Bison Management Page.

Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2006 at 08:44AM by Registered CommenterBear Creek Council | CommentsPost a Comment | References37 References
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