Editorial- by Ralph Maughan

With developments like TripAdvisor.com and similar rating services you can find a good restaurant, motel, entertainment. It makes trips easier, more productive and fun too if it is a vacation. There is often more to a purchase than these things, and so there are other sites that rate products for safety, ease of use, best value, etc.

One thing that is harder to find is something about the character of the product or service provider. For many of us, a quality purchase is not just the best product at the lowest price. I spend a lot of time investigating the politics, and other non-market values of those I buy from. I try to avoid the Koch Brothers, for example. Doing this is difficult though because most of their products are not retail.

Many of us have a deep sense of place — certain mountains, rivers, lakes, and national treasures like Yellowstone National Park. We all know there are those making money off of Yellowstone Park who don’t value it except as a personal cash register. They would even sell it to be a strip mine or landfill if they could make more money that way.

How can the Yellowstone visitor, especially the person who returns time after time, keep their money out of the pocket of some local jerk or some  souless corporation? This is not an easy question.

Some have suggested boycotts. I have struggled privately about a good course of action. For example, the events of the last decade around Gardiner, Montana have finally just kept me away. I sense it as a place of mean spirited politics and dead wildlife. I haven’t used the Park  North Entrance now for about 4 years. One trouble with efforts like mine, despite being scattered is that there are some good people in Gardiner. Though disorganized, they might even be a majority of the residents.

Here is an idea. There needs to be a book, a web site, an app, or whatever, that tells  you the motels, outfitters, restaurants, stores that share your values. This would probably be much easier than listing those to avoid for both practical and legal reasons.

It isn’t clear exactly how it could be done, but wouldn’t it be nice if you had a book that allowed you to go to Cody, Jackson, West Yellowstone, Gardiner, Cooke City, Island Park, enjoy your meal or motel while helping a business that shares your values. This would not be a tactic of directly paying back the “bad guys,” but instead helping those with a set of values that matches the area’s wonderful beauty and its wildlife.

Some person or organization needs to get started helping empower those who do not hate wildlife, wilderness, and our national outdoor heritage.  Please take this idea, this editorial, and spread it.

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides.

61 Responses to Yes, yes, you can see Yellowstone without giving money to wildlife haters!

  1. avatar Paul says:

    Is this similar to what you are envisioning?

    http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/writers/mike_ivey/don-t-like-koch-industries-new-phone-app-takes-boycotting/article_594e72bc-bcc9-11e2-8fec-0019bb2963f4.html

    I use it and it has steered me away from Koch owned products that I didn’t even know they had a stake in.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Paul,

      Yes it is. I posted the news about this app to Facebook recently. At that time, it only was available for Ipads. I am glad to see it moving to become more general.

  2. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    It sounds like it will go over big at the Rainbow Gathering, and be just as useless. Naivete isn’t going to save our wildlands or wildlife.

    • avatar BobMc says:

      Hello Ida, perhaps, like many, you totally underestimate the dollars in wildlife recreation. In Montana, wildlife-associated recreation brought in $1.4 Billion of Montana’s $39 Billion gross domestic product. Wildlife watchers contributed $401 Million. More interesting, though, is that watchers from outside the state brought in at least $174 Million. Whether boycotting, or selectively spending at wildlife-friendly venues, wildlife watchers spend an average $209/day in Montana. Naivete isn’t going to save our wildlands or wildlife, especially naivete about the dollars involved, and their direct impact. BTW hunters spend $93 per day on their trips, and anglers $58/day.

      How do I know these numbers?

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        Boycotting doesn’t really work in large enough numbers, and the Western states give the impression that they don’t need wildlife watchers if you read some of the posts. You have more faith in that than I do. Yes, it is naïve to think it would overcome politics even if anyone would boycott in large enough numbers. They simply do not care enough.

  3. avatar ZeeWolf says:

    Ralph, that sounds like a great idea! Vote with your wallet. Oddly enough, I tend to use the North Entrance and Gardiner more often than not when visiting the park simply because I know a bit about who’s who in the area and where to put my money. I’m afraid if I use another entrance I may be lining the pockets of those whose idealogy I disagree with. I tend to think of the NE Entrance as the sketchy one. Better not speak up against the snowmobilers in Cooke City. Yikes!

    • avatar Jeff N. says:

      ZeeWolf,

      Silvergate, just outside the NE entrance is a pretty wolf friendly enclave. I stay in the cabins there when I visit. Of course purchasing gas in Cooke is another story….you have he Exxon or Sinclair. I prefer the Sinclair…the folks at the Exxon seem a little more tweaked.

      Regarding dining….I will eat at the Beartooth Cafe in Cooke and have breakfast at the Log Cabin in Silvergate. I tend to bring much of my food and drink.

      Won’t step foot into the Hoosier Bar In Cooke. It’s the hangout of the local malcontents who piss and moan about the park but don’t realize it sustains them for the summer months. Lots of folks with bad dental plans tend to congregate there. The Miners Saloon in Cooke isn’t much better.

      • avatar ZeeWolf says:

        Jeff N.

        Thanks for reminding me of Silvergate. The attitude is 180 degrees from the place up the road. Buying gas is pretty much a lose-lose situation in my book. My observation is that most gas station owners are not wildlife friendly. Its been some time since I’ve been that way but from what I remember, I would agree with your recommendations and warnings. I used to go to the Miner for drinks and pool.

      • avatar ZeeWolf says:

        Jeff N.

        Thanks for reminding me of Silvergate. The attitude is 180 degrees from the place up the road. Buying gas is pretty much a lose-lose situation in my book. My observation is that most gas station owners are not wildlife friendly. Its been some time since I’ve been that way but from what I remember, I would agree with your recommendations and warnings. I used to go to the Miner for drinks and pool. They may have had pizza at that time? I’m not sure, it was quite a few years ago in the late 1990’s.

      • avatar timz says:

        Jeff is right, Silvergate and Cooke City have some wildlife friendly places to stay and eat. One of the cafe’s there actually opens early enough to feed wolf watchers headed to the park very early. As far as the gas goes the same person owns both stations so your kind of screwed. I had a local tell me many folks that live there actually go into the park to buy their gas because they won’t pay his .50 a gallon profit.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      ZeeWolf,

      The way a book or an app could be created is for people to share knowledge.

      At one time the Super 8 in Gardiner offered discounts to wolf watchers. Then the owner moved to another town and a bigger motel, but before the owner left, I was given a detailed rundown on who was good, bad or useless in Gardiner businesses. I wish I had the notes, but it was some time ago.

      • avatar ZeeWolf says:

        Ralph,

        I used to work up in Mammoth, so most of my knowledge comes from making inquiries to friends from “the old days”. The only business I can wholeheartedly recommend is The Wild Side Tours and Treks. The couple who own and operate the business are former wolf project staff and are very pro wolf. On thier website they recommend the Absaroka Lodge, but I don’t know why and can’t personally vouche for the AL. I can think of one other business (assuming it is still there) owned by a former wolf project person. However, I am hesitant to say it out loud because I don’t know if this individual wants the business to be tagged as “pro-wolf”. In a small town like that sometimes it is better to keep your opinions to yourself if you expect to keep your customer base. That would be a downside to your proposal: that the businesses themselves might not want to get caught up taking sides, even if they were wolf and wildlife friendly.

        • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

          ZeeWolf,

          Maybe something like this. App makes boycotting companies as easy as scanning a barcode Right now it only works for Iphone, Ipads, etc., but apparently Android and Google versions are coming.

          Perhaps going after the bad guys will prove more effective than helping the good guys. Of course, why not both at the same time?

          • avatar ZeeWolf says:

            Ralph,

            Good link (same to Paul above). Makes me with I had a smartphone, instead of dwelling in the past with my outdated “flip” phone. I’m usually at least a decade behind in applying technology to my personal life, lol.

            Maybe there could be a rating system? Say, for example, “red” being used to designate a business to avoid, “yellow” to desginate a nuetral business and “green” being used to designate a friendly business.

            • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

              Zee Wolf,

              Yes!

              The ratings could be generated by users too, as they are in TripAdvisor.

      • avatar timz says:

        Several years ago,(the last time I went to Gardiner) we were in the bar at a hotel and the owner happened to be bartending, all he did was bitch about the wolves. We downed are drinks and left,never returning.

      • avatar zach says:

        I know of several places in Jackson that are wildlife watcher friendly.

  4. avatar Lyn says:

    FYI – the Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) is opening a Buffalo Museum in Yellowstone. They are asking for donated items to display and $ donations. See the most recent post on their web page (sorry I don’t have the link handy)

  5. avatar Lyn says:

    why!

    * Visit BFC’s Free Buffalo Museum!

    BFC’s Free Buffalo Museum is now OPEN!  We are located just outside Yellowstone National Park’s west entrance, in the town of West Yellowstone, at 128 Firehole #2.  The museum provides visitors with an incredible buffalo journey through their storied history and amazing natural lives to their current plight and the efforts of the people standing in their defense. The museum showcases photos, artwork, images, and video, as well as buffalo items you can touch, plus BFC merchandise. Please visit us or call for more information:  406-646-6445. BFC’s Free Buffalo Museum is open daily from noon until 8pm.

    You can help make this museum the best it can be! We are looking for a few items to showcase, items of cultural and practical significance such as (but not limited to):
    >> War shields made of buffalo hump
    >> Buffalo hide paintings
    >> Buffalo horn spoon
    >> Buffalo jawbone war club

    If you have any related items that you’d be willing to allow us to showcase in our Free Buffalo Museum, please contact Mike Mease at mease@wildrockies.org or 406-646-0070.  Thanks and see you there!

  6. I like the idea of the app (although I’m in the same boat as ZeeWolf regarding smartphones). How would you prevent cheating though? How many times have we heard Nestle say their products are good for us?

  7. avatar alf says:

    I’ve always wondered why the wildlife haters in the YNP gateway towns and the ranchers who constantly complain about wolves and other predators, and the elk, deer and antelope that occasionally (rarely) tear up their fences, eat their hay, and “their” forage on their public land grazing allotments don’t pack up and move to Iowa or Illinois, or someplace like that, where all they have to contend with are a few whitetail deer, and the most dangerous predators are probably nothing more than foxes, coyotes and the occasional rabid skunk or bat.

    Like the weather, dealing with the wildlife in the west is one of the problems (or privileges, depending on your point of view) you face in living here. Recognize that and live with it, or leave !

  8. avatar Sam Parks says:

    Ralph, I am sorry you have been so put off by the Gardiner area. I stay in Gardiner an average of 60 nights a year and I would counter that it, along with Cooke/Silver Gate is probably one of, if not the most wolf-friendly community in the GYE. In my opinion, the majority of residents probably fall into the category of “pro-wolf”, however there is a very vocal anti=wolf minority led by infamous wildlife-hater Bill Hoppe. We need to be just as vocal!

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Sam Parks,

      I have covered the annual bison slaughter there for about 20 years and seen the active hostility of powerful parts of the community to wolves, bison, bears, bighorn sheep, and to the national park itself. I have also met some very good people in Gardiner, though most of those seem to have moved away. I won’t and can’t tell people what to do, but as for me I will see Yellowstone from another direction.

  9. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    I think yer wanting to reinvent the likes of Emily’s List.

  10. avatar Jim says:

    Howdy gang! I was introduced to this site today by a friend.

    There are a few issues here that lead me to think of this as a rather short-sighted line of ideas. If there are local business owners in these gateway towns that think of the wolves and the people that study them as bad elements isn’t it worth showing them otherwise, that there’s at least tangible value to having them all around? If you don’t know where they stand wear a wolf pin or otherwise make your interests known when doing business with them. Chat ’em up. Take the high ground! Leave it to them to shoot themselves in the foot if they want to make an issue out of it. They’ll never feel threatened by a market they don’t have access to.

    The thing about the online database of right thinking people…c’mon now. If you map those that don’t think the same way you do with the intention of some kind of public shaming what’s to stop them from faking being brought into line? If the db can’t be reliable on word alone what’s the next hoop they’ll be asked to jump through to prove their worth, and where does that end? How about an inclusive solution…do the database or map but just highlight those that fight for the protection of the wolves. Put an offer to add businesses to the map. Invite them to be part of your world.

    As you can probably tell by now I’m not an activist. Perhaps more inclusive tactics have been tried and failed, I don’t know. I am interested, though, but all I see so far are pitchforks and torches. Surely there are things that can be done that don’t simply validate the beliefs of those that don’t see things your way.

    Thanks for letting me throw in my 2 cents!

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Welcome to the Wildlife News, Jim.

      With all respect, the let’s be nice and helpful approach has been tried ever since the wolf reintroduction in 1995-6. A few livestock owners appreciated it. Most didn’t care or didn’t want help from these “bad” wolf people. The states, being dominated by rural extractive interests, rejected that approach too, and flat out identified with the radical anti-wolf segment of the hunting community.

      Now those who favor wolf conservation are faced with having at best a minimal population of wolves and perhaps even a wolfless Yellowstone Park.

      As far as businesses go, my original suggestion was no public shaming but instead giving a seal of approval (or something like that) to those who do support wolves and other wildlife too. This is similar to what you seem to be suggesting.

      Some think that will not work — the bad business need to be identified publically. One thing is certain, new tactics are needed. Playing nice was rejected with prejudice by the powers that be.

      • avatar Jim says:

        Ah, well bummer. To date what I know of the situation is what I read in mainstream news. Lots to catch up on to understand it all. Whatever you folks do please just don’t do it on the basis of hate. And best of luck!

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      Hi and welcome! It’s nice to see positive approaches, it can get pretty discouraging at times. Thanks!

      As Ralph said beautifully, when you set aside wildspaces for animals, you are protecting the entire suite of wildlife and plants, not only wolves.

    • avatar A Western Moderate says:

      ++ …but all I see so far are pitchforks and torches. Surely there are things that can be done that don’t simply validate the beliefs of those that don’t see things your way… please just don’t do it on the basis of hate.”

      Amen to that, Jim. After watching it for years, I too am quite disappointed in the state of the entire so-called wolf issue. There doesn’t seem to be much to it except hate. Most of the people talking the loudest don’t seem to comprehend that there can be a middle ground, that people that aren’t totally in agreement aren’t totally against.

  11. avatar BigSkyNative says:

    We have a little cheer for Gardiner now: Hey, Gardiner! Kiss our ass. We won’t even stop to buy gas!

    • avatar SaveBears says:

      I find it funny and I see messages like this quite often on the net, but currently Montana Tourism board is showing a drastic increase in the visitor and bed numbers this year.

  12. avatar Snaildarter says:

    Actually I have taken the opposite approach spreading money politely in Gardner and Bozeman and making it known we were there to see the wolves. We had a couple of ugly comments but I just said if that ever happens I won’t be back. A couple of shop keepers whispered I’m with you but I’m afraid to say it because I live here. Both approaches are good economic weapons but Its important that what you are doing is known to the business community.

  13. avatar john says:

    cutting off your nose to spite your face…boycotting is foolish,, i live there, listen to the crap, but i am there because i just like the park, its cheap/ not as many trinket shops as WEST, closer to park than west by driving speed and mileage than west,, don’t have to go to JH to get to park, and if you go to cooke and SG in winter, you will have the dreaded snow machines running rampant,, why not just enjoy the park for what it is, and stop worrying about who makes what,,who believes what, go and enjoy the place,,,geez, does every place have to be a political statement or somewhere you have to study and find problems with,,,,

    • avatar JB says:

      I don’t see why/how it is “foolish” to attempt to support local businesses that share your values, while avoiding those that don’t? Essentially we’re talking about making informed decisions regarding our consumption. How is that cutting off your nose to spite your face?

      • avatar john says:

        you want to shut Gardiner down? punish people who do support wildlife,, next time BFC ask me to help them, i will just say no! Beccuase the members on this site say think boycotting the town, so they can punish a few, they can go to another facility and pay more, travel more,, boycotting is an idiots way, it punishes everyone, not just the target. It is most certainly foolish,, if it requires more travel to get in somewhere else to the park, its costing you money, and burning expensive gas, additional cost for food,, gardiner has no sales tax currently which saves you money,, would you rather drive up to mammoth an pay 54.00 for bearspray plus 8% tax, thats a nearly $5 addl cost,, when all you have to do is buy it in gardiner, or are you so rich that you disregard those minor cost, obviously your academic lifestyle doesn’t always provide you with economic reality, book learning is way different than putting your money out, investing in a community and dealing with it, as opposed to reading a book about it and analyzing why it didn’t work,, spending 5 dollars additional is not a wise decision on your consumption,, gardiner is less expensive to stay that any of the other locations, you get immediate visual interest into the park with the water falls, the canyon with the sheep, hot springs.. Enter from WEST, you get burned out trees for 7 miles and river bottom for 7 more. Travel to Gardiner, you are closer to the Bozeman air port 77 vs 95, (strait shot vs windy road) by both miles and speed of driving. so if you like driving more, paying more, then go ahead, again, like i said, cutting off your nose to spite your face,

        • avatar cobackcountry says:

          John,

          I think people are saying they’d boycott businesses who are supportive of causes they believe are detrimental to wildlife.

          The whole point is, we (people who believe wildlife matters) would rather pay more to support retailers who are like-minded to ourselves. It is a conscious decision we make about how we spend money we earn. We’d prefer not to give it to people who think our opinions don’t matter because we are merely visitors.

          Don’t be mistaken in believing that none of us have life lessons in the matter. Not all of us find our opinions in a book.

          I’d say your reaction validates the line of thinking that boycotting does have an impact.

          If you are a businessman who supports wildlife, and does NOT support the anti-wolf or anti-bison agenda that currently corrupts wildlife management, then by all means, tell us how to find your shop. I will sped money there.

          But be prepared to back up your position, as I will ask many questions, and be very vocal about your support of wildlife, which may leave you unpopular amongst the town’s people who differ in opinion.

          • avatar SaveBears says:

            co,

            I were a business owner in the area dependent on tourist for my living, you would never know if I were anti or pro.

            • avatar cobackcountry says:

              SB,

              I don’t know if you would from me either. But I also would have to consider losing business from taking a stand, or being ambivalent.

              Probably one of those choices to weigh carefully, and it might dissuade me from going into business is such an area.

              • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

                cobackcountry,

                I think the idea of rewarding businesses that share your values is not just an idea for the Yellowstone area, but nationally, and internationally.

                Many products already claim to represent values external to the amorality of the market place.

                Most, however, are silent. I have yet to see one that says “made with extra fossil fuel, desperate workers, and damage to our neighbors’ property.”

              • avatar cobackcountry says:

                Ralph,

                I agree. In fact, I practiced careful purchasing on my way to South Dakota last week.

                I had the pleasure of talking with an assortment of folks in S.D. Most of those I spoke with were unaware of S.D.’s policies on wolf management. They were acutely aware of cougars that had taken a toll on elk there (a hot and rare commodity). They were very happy to hear some of the issues, and were pretty agreeable that lions are abundant in part due to a lack of competition for food.

  14. avatar Dave says:

    I think before anybody publicly labels a business as “pro-wolf”, they should ask the owner if he/she is OK with this. It might not be in a local business’s best interests, considering the neighborhood, to be publicly known as being sympathetic to the interests of wolves or wolf-watchers.

    • avatar cobackcountry says:

      This was brought up a few times in the past. People considered a list of retailers, and the repercussions. I don’t know what I think.

      I would be interested in knowing how many wolf shirts as opposed to elk or deer shirts get sold. Too bad we can’t track that.

      • avatar A Western Moderate says:

        ++I would be interested in knowing how many wolf shirts as opposed to elk or deer shirts get sold. Too bad we can’t track that.++

        I have a few of each of those. What would that do to your stats?

        • avatar cobackcountry says:

          Probably set the curve 🙂

          I have patronize the same t-shirt shop in West Yellowstone one to two times a year since 1996. I used to see a lot more variety in the shirts and figurines etc. Now, I see wolves, bears, moose and bison….in order of prevalence, then the others trickle down from there.
          I’d be curious to know how the sales have changed? It might speak to the frame of mind of visitors.

          While some owners may not truly ‘like’ wolves, I bet they’d still sock the items that sell.

          I personally own a closet or two full of YNP fleece. I try shop where there is an owner or regular employee I can chat up for info.

          • avatar JB says:

            Here’s another idea. What photographs of wildlife do you have on your walls? At my office, I have a loon, bluebird, white-tailed deer, and coyotes, at home I have a wolf, loon, two photos of swans (mute, I’m afraid), and two of elk.

            • avatar Mark L says:

              Do I count the extinct ones or not? (Or once again, only count as half)

              Any bonuses for cryptozoology specimens?

              • avatar JB says:

                “Any bonuses for cryptozoology specimens?”

                I say extinct species count double (unless they’re dinosaurs). Cryptozoological specimens…hmm…certainly you get a few extra ‘geek points’…

        • avatar JB says:

          I have one shirt with an elk, one with a wolf, and one with a bass. You keeping track cobackcountry? 😉

          • avatar Mark L says:

            Maybe like hanging chads in Florida, JB?
            Oh, and do ducks count? …maybe half? I’ve got like 3 or 4.

            • avatar JB says:

              LOL! I knew I shouldn’t have mentioned the fish shirt. If we start counting ducks, pheasants and turkeys, coback is going to need a calculator. 😉

          • avatar cobackcountry says:

            Laugh it up guys. Ha, some people make a nice living counting this type of info. Market analysis research. If only it were me! Ha, they get paid well to be bored.

            Maybe I’ll take a Wildlife News Survey. Nah, that’s a lot of work. But since we are counting…

            I have a full collection of trout shirts, and my pictures consist of one wolf (they are hard to get pics up close) numerous black bears, grizzlies and bison. I have a TON of moose….but I too have birds (Mountain Blue, Rd Headed Wood Peckers, Humming Birds, Loons, Herons, Falcons, Eagles). I have otters (love ’em), beavers, and a collection of pictures of kids fishing and catching varieties of fish and the occasional turtle and crawfish. Probably my fave here, drum roll……….Boreal Toads and Prebbles Jumping Mice.

            But I keep my sweats and sweat shirts simple….most of the have a moose, or the YNP logo.

            Ladies (or gents if you sew) I took all my kids’ shirts from vacations and made them into baby quilts for their kids to have 🙂

            Seriously, the economic factor of wildlife is interesting to me. Maybe it’s because I managed businesses and did start ups? Or because I come from a family with economists in it? Or maybe because I like knowing how my money is used beyond what I spend on? But economics are a biggy.

            • avatar JB says:

              Ah crap, you made me remember that I have a bunch of other photos hanging in the basement: a loon, hummingbird, wolf, and coyote. The loons are my favorites. They got me into wildlife photography, and ultimately, this field. 🙂

              • avatar cobackcountry says:

                JB,

                I started taking pics when I was a kid. They also sparked an interest in this field for me:)

                I love Loons with babies on board!

                All,

                It is a bit of an eye opener to see how our possessions represent our interests. So I guess we are all proof that we put our money where our hearts are.

            • avatar Ida Lupine says:

              I love the baby quilt idea. I don’t have a whole lot of stuff, a photo of a wolf pair in my office, a wolf t-shirt from Idaho, a Christmas ornament from Yellowstone of a Moose. Mostly birds for me, I love the bird wood carvings that WM writes of; especially ducks and long-legged shore birds that look elegant next to a fireplace.

              • avatar Ida Lupine says:

                Oh, and native wildflowers, dried in a journal, I like that sort of thing and I have one I must have gotten out West.

          • avatar WM says:

            Wildlife pics. Well, I drink my coffee from a wolf mug (3 left from a set of four, and I do wish I could find more of these from National Wildlife Federation from the ’90’s). I have two wolf tees, a bunch of wall pics of various wildlife (Oops, one is a collage of past hunting trips, as much to remember the folks as those horrible tropies), a bunch of coffee table books, which take two seconds to open to some wildlife pictures, including two that are dedicated to bison, sorry three (forgot the one authored by Dr. Geist). Then I have some 3 dimensional art – wood carved ducks and shore birds, a couple dating back to the 19th Century; others more recent from Big Sky Carvers, now out of business I think, including a very nice loon that is my favorite. Then there are my wife’s stylized Save the Whales/Seas print reproductions German artist Hundertwasser did for the Costeau Society.
            ————

            I do try NOT to support the gigantic corporate concessionaire retailers in the Parks, like Aramark and Xanterra.

            • avatar aves says:

              Big Sky Carvers is still around. I have their ruddy duck carving at home.

              They seem to have expanded to alot of cheesy stuff but you can still find the elegant woodcarvings under the “Gallery” tab on their website:

              http://www.bigskycarvers.com/

              • avatar WM says:

                aves,

                Thanks. I hadn’t thought about Big Sky for years. I went to their website, and you are right, they have gotten into some pretty touristy stuff, and their current offerings of decoys and shore birds seem a bit off for my tastes, and not very many different species. I too have a ruddy (second favorite after the loon), as well as a very well done wood duck pair and a couple others, by some of their earlier, and possibly better, painters from 15-20 years ago. It looks like these current decoy designs are on steroids, shiney with thick gloppy paint, and weird conformation – like the almost caricature like tail feathers of a pintail. Ugh. I think it dishonors the design of nature.

              • avatar Ida Lupine says:

                I tend to like the more vintage or primitive style also; I like the sandpipers and shore birds. These are more modern and stylized. I did like the loon and ducks tho.

    • avatar Mal Adapted says:

      I drove across the country several times in the 90s. When I stopped to eat in timber country, if I saw a “We support the timber industry” sticker in the windows of a place I’d turn away and keep looking.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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