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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Before we all go demonizing Donald Trump and what we think his approach to energy extraction, Public Lands and biodiversity will be, we should all first know that he is actually not Republican and that is why the Establishment leaders in the GOP did all they could to block his path to the White House.............That said, his whole life as a business owner has been about making pragmatic decisions, collaborating and compromising to reach an end result that both he and his partners could live with and feel that something positive was accomplished for all............His sons are both hunters and they have both counseled their Dad on the need to keep our Public Lands public and not to be auctioned off to the states..............."Most notably, Trump in January broke from the GOP establishment by pledging to oppose efforts to transfer federal lands to states, gaining plaudits from sportsmen across the political spectrum who oppose the privatization of federal lands, fearing it would reduce places to hunt and fish".........This Blog has put forth many an article about the fact that hunters should not be the only decision makers when it comes to managing our wildlife and wildlands.............."The proof is in the pudding" as it relates to the fact that too many hunters only want to manage hoofed browsers(Deer, Elk, Moose) that they hunt, seeking to eliminate wolves, Pumas, Bears, Coyotes and the countless other carnivores who have co-existed with those same prey animals for millenia.................So no doubt there is an education process needed to counsel our next President to do right by our natural world....................Questions ahead include----"Will President -Elect Trump roll back Obama administration oil and gas leasing reforms designed to keep drilling farther from national parks and backcountry areas while tightening regulations on hydraulic fracturing?"................. "Will he dismantle Obama's sage grouse plan by loosening restrictions on drilling, mining and grazing?"................ "What kind of influence will Trump exert on Endangered Species Act decisions that can affect hunters and energy companies?"...........My suggestion to all of our Enviro friends is to go make a presentation to Trump,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Trump respects a well thought out business plan.................Go make that plan showing how Americas National Parks and Wildlife Refuges have been key to making America Great and revered across the Globe............Document how Republican President Nixon's Clean Air, Water and Endangered Species Act created a healthy environment that enabled American business to thrive for the long term, unlike China's scorched earth air, water, wildlife and land policies that will ultimately bring down this Country and not allow it to prosper long term.............Use Trump's MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN slogan ring true by demonstrating that optimum wild diversity optimizes the chance for Americas pharmaceutical, agricultural and business industries to create new medicines, foodstuffs and technological materials...............GO BE A SALESMAN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT RATHER THAN ACTING LIKE A VICTIM AND CHOOSING TO GO TO WAR WITH OUR NEW PRESIDENT..................DON'T BE LAZY AND TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT BY PAINTING TRUMP AS THE ENEMY..................I CHALLENGE YOU TO GO MAKE HIM A FRIEND OF OUR NATURAL WORLD!

Real reporting for a divided country

A post-election message from our publisher.

Shot-up stop sign at the crossroads
Crossroads in the 'dobes
Paul Larmer
Yesterday, the day after an election that, to the shock of many, landed Donald Trump in the White House, I drove the main highway through our rural county here in western Colorado. It was dusk, and there were just a few headlights on the road. As I passed the shuttered lumber mill, the drive-in movie theater (still operational!), and the well-lit Wal-Mart, and headed into the comfortable darkness of cornfields and the canyons beyond, I couldn't help but think about what the red and blue election maps showed so clearly: that there remains a profound divide between rural and urban people in this country. My county, Delta, voted 70 percent for Trump, as well as for the conservative congressman who represents our district. Delta County is one of the most impoverished counties in the state, with an average per capita income of $23,890. Two of the three area coal mines have closed in the last couple of years.

I often get asked why High Country News, a magazine that covers environmental and social issues, is based in a place like this. Why not Boulder or Portland? Because, I say, you can't really understand the West, or the nation as a whole, if you don't understand its rural communities. And you can't really understand rural communities unless you live in one.
The incoming Trump administration will be the ninth High Country News has covered since we began in 1970. The first was Richard Nixon, a conservative Republican who ironically passed the most significant environmental laws in history. They included a Clean Air Act that made western Colorado’s relatively clean coal marketable to Eastern and Midwestern utilities, providing thousands of miners and their families, some of them my neighbors, with good-paying jobs for decades.
What will a Trump administration mean for the West and the country? Can he bring back the coal mining jobs being lost to markets that favor natural gas and renewables? Will he accelerate oil and gas drilling on the public lands to pay for badly needed infrastructure projects? Will he rescind historic climate change compacts and national monuments forged by the Obama administration? Will he build a bigger wall on the Mexican border and drastically change our immigration policies? Will protest movements blossom as never before?
Wherever the storyline goes, HCN will be there, because we are in this for the long haul. Over the coming months and years, our dedicated reporters will monitor the changes a Trump administration brings, digging into the nitty-gritty details and examining how the new government plays out in our communities, both urban and rural. We will provide you with all the context we can muster, so you can understand not just what is happening today, but why. And we will continue to follow stories of progress on the ground, many of which have little to do with the machinations of administrations and Congress, but instead rely on the creativity and perseverance of Americans like you.

Delta County landscape
On the road to Delta, Colorado
Paul Larmer
Despite Trump's campaign rhetoric – much of it laced with meanness, bigotry and bravado – we know from our history that the things that presidents say they will do are quite different than what they can actually do. Even Ronald Reagan's apocalyptic Interior secretary, James Watt, and George W. Bush's vice president, Dick Cheney, could not reshape the public lands to fulfill their extraction-heavy dreams. Bedrock environmental laws and a citizenry vigorously exercising its constitutional right to speak and protest tempered their wilder proposals. 
As I pulled into town at the end of my drive, a single light winked high on the dark mountains; normally, you don't see any lights on the national forest. But then I remembered that it is rifle season, and no doubt some hunters were returning to their camp after a glorious day in the public's woods. There's a chance these hunters and I had different views at the ballot box, but there's an even better chance that we share more values in common than not. It is my hope that we'll all move forward on protecting those shared values. 
Thank you for your support of nonprofit, independent journalism. We need each other more than ever.


Trump's son woos sportsmen, covets top job at Interior

As Donald Trump seeks to win over skeptical Republicans on
 Capitol Hill and fence-sitting voters, he seems to have wooed
one important voting bloc: sportsmen.
With the help of his son, Donald Jr., an avid sportsman and
ambassador for the campaign, Trump Sr. is saying all the
right things to America's hunters and anglers. He's capturing
 endorsements and positive reviews from sportsmen's trade
 publications -- hook, line and sinker.
The Trump campaign has pledged to nominate a hunter to
lead the Fish and Wildlife Service, aggressively fight lawsuits
 by anti-hunting groups, make wildlife habitat more productive,
and control predators like wolves that prey on game species
like elk.
Most notably, Trump in January broke from the GOP
establishment by pledging to oppose efforts to transfer
federal lands to states, gaining plaudits from sportsmen
 across the political spectrum who oppose the privatization
 of federal lands, fearing it would reduce places to hunt and
"It says he is smart," wrote editor Mike Schoby in a Jan. 31
 article in Petersen's Huntingendorsing Trump for president
. "It says he realizes that 13 million hunters and 80 million
gun owners represent a large voting block, one that will
likely agree with his policies on hunting and protection of
 Second Amendment rights."
Yet some Republicans say Trump's public lands platform is
alienating potential allies, particularly those in Congress and
industry who oppose the federal government's massive
landholdings and believe states could better manage
 them for activities like drilling, mining and logging. By
catering heavily to hunters and anglers, Trump may be
shooting himself in the foot.
"They have made the calculation that the hook-and-bullet
 crowd is the relevant demographic here, but the reality is
 the professional hook-and-bullet crowd is a small group
compared to [those who care] about federal land
management in the West," said Mike McKenna, a GOP
 strategist and energy lobbyist. "I can't think of a single
issue other than this one where he's so far out over his skis."
Key questions remain over how Trump would manage
the roughly 640 million acres under the control of the
executive branch primarily through the Bureau of Land
 Management, the Forest Service, FWS and the National
 Park Service.
Would Trump roll back Obama administration oil and
gas leasing reforms designed to keep drilling farther from
 national parks and backcountry areas while tightening
regulations on hydraulic fracturing? Would he dismantle
 Obama's sage grouse plan by loosening restrictions on
 drilling, mining and grazing? What kind of influence would
 Trump exert on Endangered Species Act decisions that
can affect hunters and energy companies?
Trump's silence on these issues has made industry officials
 and Capitol Hill Republicans wary.
"It's almost impossible to know where Donald Trump
stands on the issues," said Kathleen Sgamma, vice
president of government and public affairs for the
 Denver-based Western Energy Alliance, a regional trade
 group that advocates for public lands drilling.
"As a New Yorker, he doesn't have the innate understanding
 of how much of the West is owned by the federal government,
and how communities surrounded by public lands and the
states are better stewards of the land than the federal
government," she said. "I think the key to his public lands
policies will be who is advising him."

Interior Secretary Trump?

Trump doesn't claim to know much about public lands, much
 less hunting and angling.
On those issues, he has largely deferred to Donald Jr.,
the 38-year-old executive vice president of the Trump
Organization, who has hunted all over the world.
Sportsmen advocates say the younger Trump is the real deal.
Trump Jr. said he's a board member of the Boone and
 Crockett Club and a member of Ducks Unlimited and
Trout Unlimited. He's a lifetime member of the National
 Rifle Association and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers,
 groups that at times have been polar opposites on the
public lands policy spectrum.
After graduating from the Wharton School of the University
of Pennsylvania, the alma mater of his father, Trump Jr.
moved to Colorado to bartend so he could hunt and fish;
he once spent 28 days in the mountains chasing elk with
a bow, he has told multiple news outlets. He said he makes
delicious venison meat sauce for his wife and kids.
In his interview with Petersen's, Trump Jr. said he'd like to
 be the next secretary of the Interior Department, the agency
 that controls one-fifth of the nation's landmass and almost all
of the oceans. Trump Sr. said his sons (Eric Trump is also
an experienced hunter) are already helping shape his platform.
"You can be assured that if I'm not directly involved, I'm going
 to be that very, very loud voice in his ear," Trump Jr. told
Petersen's. "Between my brother and myself, no one
understands the issues better than us. No one in politics
lives the lifestyle more than us."
The younger Trump has waged a media blitz to get that
message to American hunters. He shared a pheasant
hunt in January with reporters from The Washington Post,
 The New York Times and CNN, and spoke with The 
New Yorker. He has aggressively courted the hunting
 and angling trade publications, giving exclusive
interviews to Field & StreamBowhunter Magazine
and Deer & Deer Hunting and the websites and Wide Open Spaces.
In January, Trump Sr. was the only presidential
candidate to speak at the National Shooting Sports
Foundation's annual Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor
Trade Show in Las Vegas. On May 20, Trump will
 speak at NRA's Institute for Legislative Action
 Leadership Forum in Louisville, Ky.
How this outreach will affect Trump Sr.'s election
chances against Hillary Clinton, the favorite for the
Democratic nomination, remains unclear, since the
hook-and-bullet crowd is hard to put in a political box.
Mark Damian Duda, executive director of
 Responsive Management, a Harrisonburg, Va.,
recreation research firm, said he has performed a
couple of studies on the political affiliations of
sportsmen over the past year, but that the results are
An Interior survey in 2012 estimated more than 90
million people hunted, fished or watched wildlife in
 2011, reversing a 20-year decline in wildlife-related
recreation (E&ENews PM, Aug. 15, 2012). Of
those, 13.7 million Americans hunted and 33 million
 fished, up roughly 10 percent from the previous
survey in 2006.
Trump Sr.'s natural resources platform could
 resonate with many voters in public lands states,
including swing states like Colorado, Nevada and
 New Mexico.
While some hunters will be skeptical of Trump Sr.
, a Manhattanite, more will be wary of Clinton,
nother New Yorker who has said much less to
 reassure gun owners and sportsmen, said Bill
Horn, a former Reagan administration Interior
official who is now an attorney with the U.S.
Sportsmen's Alliance.
"I can't think of a single instance where Clinton
did anything that could be conceived as pro-hunting
and fishing," Horn said. "I think there's going to
 be an enormous amount of apprehension."
Yet Trump's rejection of federal land transfers is
 a sign that the issue will not be a partisan wedge
in the election. It's forced some tough conversations
within sportsmen's groups whose policy platforms
 have historically aligned with Democrats.
"To his credit, he was willing to be very vocal
about [land transfers] in the primaries," said
Whit Fosburgh, CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt
 Conservation Partnership, which does not
 endorse presidential candidates. "The
 Republican primaries were a repudiation
of that nonsensical thinking that we need to
get rid of public lands. We consider ourselves
 the victors of that primary."

Unanswered questions

Yet like other Trump policies, his natural
resources platform has been criticized as
vague and fluid.
On Jan. 21, Trump told Field & 
Stream he opposed federal land transfers
 "because I want to keep the lands great."
"You don't know what the state is going to
 do," he said. "I mean, are they going to sell
 if they get into a little bit of trouble?"
Yet in an op-ed that month in the Reno 
Gazette-Journal, the candidate slammed
the "draconian rule of the BLM" in a piece
clearly aimed at courting Nevada voters
who bristle at the federal government's 85
 percent ownership of the Silver State.
"In the rural areas, those who for decades
 have had access to public lands for ranching,
mining, logging and energy development are
forced to deal with arbitrary and capricious
 rules that are influenced by special interests
that profit from the D.C. rule-making and who
fill the campaign coffers of Washington politicians
," Trump wrote. "Because the BLM is so reluctant
to release land to local disposition in Nevada, the
 cost of land has skyrocketed and the cost of living
has become an impediment to growth."
Sam Clovis, a Trump policy adviser, told the
Associated Press this month that Trump supports
 "shared governance" of federal lands between
 federal agencies and state and local governments
and backs transfers of federal lands near cities that
 are not prime hunting or fishing grounds.
It's a more nuanced position that could appease
sportsmen and anti-federal lands lawmakers alike.
In his interview with Petersen's, Trump Jr. said his
 father's administration would use the proceeds of
some land sales to promote wildlife and conservation,
such as by purchasing private ranches to open access.
It would use the money it spends defending lawsuits
 filed by "radical environmental groups" to increase the
size of game herds.
"I want to change some laws and better invest current
money to make our lands more productive, while having
 fewer wildfires," he said. "Well-managed lands, with
thinned timber, food plots and habitat improvements
 that help animals would be the goal."
On other issues -- particularly Trump Sr.'s dismissal
of human-caused climate change and his pledge to
eliminate U.S. EPA -- sportsmen are scratching their
 heads, Fosburgh said.
"It's not like Donald Trump is a dream conservation
candidate," he said.
Trump's support of federal lands is merely the start
of a "much deeper conversation we need to have
about how we balance competing uses," Fosburgh said.
While Trump told Field & Stream he's "very much
 into energy, and I'm very much into going and fracking
and drilling" and believes new technologies can facilitate
oil and gas production with a smaller footprint, industry
 heads are not champing at the bit to support him.
"The general pitch of the Trump crowd is the public
 lands policy of the United States is fine as it is,"
said McKenna, the energy lobbyist. "I'm assuming
 he's serious that he's going to be every bit as bad
on federal land management as the Obama guys."
More details on Trump's energy policy may be
 revealed on May 26, when he's scheduled to
 deliver a keynote address to the Williston Basin
Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, N.D., which
focuses heavily on drilling in the Bakken region.
Western Republicans on Capitol Hill are hoping
 for a Trump energy platform they can rally around.
"When he talks about the impacts of regulations and
 mandates and taxes on things, he realizes that's
 a drag on using American resources in a way
they should be used," said Sen. John Barrasso
(R-Wyo.). "I think these are areas where he is
 absolutely going to be well-united with the Rocky
 Mountain West and our energy-producing states
because of the role of energy as a master resource,
 and he knows about resources."
Trump's Capitol Hill outreach will ratchet up today
with several meetings scheduled with GOP leaders.
 He'll meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)
in a closed-door session being brokered by
Republican National Committee Chairman
 Reince Priebus, Ryan's fellow Wisconsinite,
and then with House and Senate Republican
leaders later in the day.
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) said she does
not expect those meetings to delve deeply
 into energy policy, but she's eager to hear
more from the campaign.
"I very much want to explore his views on drilling
 onshore and offshore, on mineral productions,
his views on public lands, his views on federalism a
nd statehood," she said.
Lummis endorsed Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for
president during the GOP primaries, but said
she'll rally around Trump if he's the Republican
"I am so concerned about who is going to be
 supporting the next Supreme Court justice or
 justices that I will support the Republican
nominee hook, line and sinker," said Lummis,
who carries a lifetime Wyoming fishing license
in her wallet.
House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop
 (R-Utah), who initially backed Sen. Marco Rubio
(R-Fla.) in the presidential nominating race, said
 he has no clue how Trump would handle energy
development on federal lands and waters, but
"I hope to find out."
"I do know what the alternative is," he said.
 "That's horrific."
Environmentalists see a Trump presidency as
 a disaster for public lands and the climate.
"Donald Trump's policy positions on public lands,
 as with most environmental issues, are i
nconsistent at best and cast serious doubt
 that he has the knowledge, common sense
 and good judgement to be president,' said
Seth Stein, a spokesman for the League of
Conservation Voters. "He has made it clear
he would double down on fossil fuel extraction
 from our public lands, at a time when we need
to continue transitioning to a clean energy
economy. Combined with his continued
insistence that climate change is a hoax,
we should rightly fear what a Trump
presidency means for America's public lands."
Don Barry, a former Interior Department
 official during the Clinton administration
and a longtime conservationist, said Trump's
 pledge to retain public lands raises another
 question: How would he pay to maintain them?
Barry, who recently retired from Defenders of
 Wildlife, said there are hundreds of national
wildlife refuge units that have no on-the-ground
staff to manage them.
"They're kind of mothballed," he said. "The
 refuge system is starving at this point already."
Barry noted that appropriations for the Land
and Water Conservation Fund, a major priority
 of sportsmen, spiked in fiscal 2001, the final
year of Clinton's presidency, but fell for the first
 seven years of President George W. Bush's two
 terms, except for a small $4 million bump in 2007.

Even if Trump wants to keep federal lands, it's
unclear how much political capital he would
spend to achieve that, Barry said. The tradition
of presidents of both parties has been to select
Interior secretaries from the West, where the
crop of available conservative candidates are
 generally pro-transfer, Barry said.
"My experience over 41 years in this business
is to forget who is in the White House," Barry
said. "Who you need to worry about is who is
in the Cabinet."

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