Montana Sen. John Walsh introduced a bill on May 22, 2014, calling for protections for East Rosebud Creek, a spectacular stream that rushes off the granite shoulders of the Beartooth Mountains through undulating ranchlands. East Rosebud is a stronghold for native cutthroat trout.
The Yellowstone grizzly bear is the unquestioned king of the ecosystem’s food chain. The grizzly once roamed vast portions of the West and Great Plains, but it was pushed perilously close to extinction around the turn of the previous century. A small population hung on in Yellowstone National Park, bolstered by regular crowd-pleasing feedings at dump sites. When that practice was halted in the 1970s, grizzly populations tumbled again. Today, populations are at about 600 in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The Yellowstone grizzly bear is again listed under the Endangered Species Act in 2009, largely because of climate-change-related threats to such primary food sources as whitebark pine. Also due partly to climate change and the restoration of wolves, grizzly bears are denning later each autumn and re-emerging earlier each spring. They hibernate based on the availability of food sources; elk killed by wolves now provide nourishment for grizzlies in winter. In 2008, a grizzly bear emerged from its den at Christmas.
Best viewing: Lamar Valley, Pelican Valley, Fishing Bridge, North Fork Shoshone.
Find out what GYC is doing to protect this species. Click here.
Photo credit: Cindy Goeddel.