The View from the Divide

Wyoming wilderness outfitters Tory and Meredith Taylor share a rare treat ~

The View from the Divide: Four Decades in Wyoming Wilderness – Tory & Meredith Taylor







  1. Virginia Avatar

    Wow – this story says it all. I am a Wyoming native who has watched with dismay as all of the negative impacts have slowly destroyed the Wyoming in which I grew up. I think it is the lack of recognition of these impacts, the “shrugging shoulders” of so many people that alarms me the most. We never want the water ’till the well runs dry.”

  2. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    Guides take the wild out of wilderness. I don’t remember who said that freedom is having the freedom to make mistakes, but wilderness guides are there so clients don’t make mistakes. Guides do the thinking so clients can enjoy the scenery. I realize guides do a lot more than that as far as educating people, and hands on engagement with the natural world, but in the end, they take the element of risk out of the wilderness.

    Bottom line is wilderness outfitters of all persuasions are in bu$ine$$ to make money. They hog as many permits for the backcountry as they can get, and if that means the public can’t get in, too bad. Think about rafting companies and the Grand Canyon. Most permits go to commercial outfitters. People willing to run the river on their own, to think for themselves and pay the consequences for their mistakes, are virtually locked out.

  3. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    I’d say you’re way off base here, especially in the context of Tory and Meredith Taylor’s written “swan song.”

    Tory and Meredith have been friends of mine for as long as I’ve been in Wyoming, almost 20 years, and I know they most certainly haven’t been in it “for the money.” They’ve been in it for the love they have for the land and its wildlife. Wilderness outfitting is the way they have financed that romance. Everyone has to make a living.

    At the same time, they have introduced scores of people to the backcountry of the Greater Yellowstone who wouldn’t have gotten there otherwise, and they’ve taught those scores of people about the conservation issues that make Yellowstone such a contentious place. They have won many friends for the Yellowstone Country through the trips they have run. Furthermore, they have numerous times packed scientists into the backcountry for scientific research, such as a trip they did ten years ago for amphibian research in Yellowstone National Park. They have become so well known that documentary makers from National Geographic and the British Broadcasting System have sought their assistance in bringing the Greater Yellowstone to a larger audience. Packing a movie camera on the back of horse into the backcountry isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Finally, they have been staunch supporters of wolves and grizzly bears in a state that hates both species and retaliates against those care for wolves and grizzlies. Indeed, I can’t think of two people who have done more for conservation in Wyoming than the Taylors. They deserve a conservation “medal of honor” for going above and beyond the call of duty to further the cause of land and wildlife.

    I myself have been a wilderness guide and horse packer (Tory taught me to pack horses) and I can tell you that dudes are more than capable of making their own mistakes even on a guided trip. That’s why many guides are at least certified as Wilderness First Responders. I was an EMT.

    Yes, there may be a lot of jerks in the outdoor recreation business, but quite frankly, I know a lot of jerks in conservation too. There are jerks in every profession. I don’t think that’s a reason to abolish the professions.

    Everybody has to learn about the outdoors somewhere. Even hunter-gatherer societies had a form of outdoor education. It strikes me that your diatribe against outfitters and guides is little more than a diatribe against people teaching other people how to live carefully and comfortably in the outdoors. Not everyone is capable of doing it on their own.


  4. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    Robert–Your diatribe rambles off on all sorts of tangents and never addresses the the core issues I raised. Any of your dudes ever set up camp in a poor location and suffer as a result? Of course not, guides pick the campsites. Any of your dudes ever come to a poorly marked trail junction and make a wrong turn. Nope, guides make that decision. Any of your dudes ever spot a grizzly 125 yards away and tell the guides, “you stay put. I’m moving closer for a photograph.” No. Another guide decision. Sure, dudes can twist an ankle and injure themselves in other mishaps, but guides make most of the meaningful decisions for them, especially the life and death decisions one can face in a wilderness.

    The Taylors and other guides took scientists and film crews into the wilderness. Wonderful. Walmart has Cheetos on sale this week, too. What do either of those things have to do with guides making the important decisions that take the wild out of wilderness?

  5. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    The core issue you raised, such as it is, is a red herring; nothing prevents idiots from heading off into the wilderness on their own and making mistakes and going so far as to getting themselves killed. It happens all the time, and I’ve seen more than a few such idiots. And I’ve helped them. Of course, perhaps I as an experienced guide could find such an idiot in trouble and say, well, too bad buster, I have no obligations to you, sayonara.

    Wouldn’t be very ethical or neighborly though, would it.

    This simply isn’t a valid issue. Sounds to me that you’ve got a chip on your shoulder about guides. That’s your problem, but don’t go criticizing my friends when you don’t know them at all.


  6. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    Robert–I’ve got a chip on my shoulder about guides? Me thinks thou doth protest too much.

    This is supposed to be a place to discuss various issues Robert; you go off the deep end when the discussion turns to wilderness guides, wilderness guiding outfits, and the ethics of it all. It’s not a personal assault. It’s not the end of the world. I had no idea you were a guide. Try to calm down and look at the big picture. As a guide, you might have something worthwhile to add to the discussion if you could pause for a moment and lay off the insults.

  7. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    Your big picture is pretty small.


  8. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    Dear Big Picture Bob–Your idea of the big picture seems to be a Dollar Bill$ for Wilderne$$ Guide$. Tell me again why the NPS and other agencies give commercial guiding outfits reservations for backcountry campsites months in advance, while ordinary po’folks can’t make reservations until 24 to 48 hours in advance? I reckon the wilderne$$ guide$ figure it’s their right to shove po people to the back of the bus regardless of race, color or creed because wilderne$$ guide$ and the companie$ they work for are just so special.

  9. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    Just as I thought. You’ve got a hard-on for guides.


    PS. I’d get rid of the sun hat picture. It’s ridiculous, pretentious, and a symbol of colonial oppression.

  10. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    Big Picture Bob–At the Grand Canyon, roughly 20% of the rafting permits go to private parties, while 80% are allocated for commercial guide$. Would you advocate a similar system for NPS and FS land in the Yellowstone region?

    Earlier, you remarked that everyone has to learn about the wilderness somewhere. Everyone has to learn about sex somewhere, too–that’s no excuse for turning into a prostitute.

    I’m terribly hurt to learn you don’t like my hat. I had no idea it was a symbol of colonial oppression. I wore it a lot one winter while monitoring bald eagles for the Arizona Bald Eagle nest watch program. Cheap and efficient at blocking the sun. Lots of other volunteers with the nestwatch program wore the same symbol of oppression. Guess we need to get high paying job$ as wilderne$$ guide$ $o we can afford something up to your $tandard$. Given your va$t experience as a wilderne$$ guide, what kind of politically correct hat would you recommend Mr. Bo$$ Man?

  11. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    “nothing prevents idiots from heading off into the wilderness on their own and making mistakes and going so far as to getting themselves killed.” RH

    Robert–the thing that “prevents ‘idiots’ from heading off into the wilderness on their own,” is that commercial outfittter$ and guide$ either have too many permit$ or want all the permit$. The idiots can’t go because people making buck$ off the wilderne$$ have gotten greedy and grabbed the permit$.

    Just because people don’t hire guide$ doesn’t mean they’re idiots. That comment perfectly captures the colonialism and paternalism of some guides. Not all guides. Specific guides. No need to name names.

  12. Ken Cole Avatar

    Do I need to reach into the back seat and do some slapping?

  13. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    I wouldn’t advise it.


  14. Ken Cole Avatar

    Let’s keep it civil then. No name-calling please.

  15. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I’ve been enjoying myself in the Sonoran desert for a week now. I get a motel every so often and check the blog.

    I just want to say that Meredith (whom I met first) and Tory are the best kind of people when it comes to conservation. Wyoming would be an ideal state if there were a lot more people like them.

    Their kind of educational guiding hardly overruns a place like the Washakie or Teton Wilderness. I wrote two guidebooks to these areas, so maybe I’m guilty too, but in the summer you don’t see anyone except at a few major attractions. Almost everyone is on a horse. The backpacking guide didn’t sell.

    The fall hunt along the southern boundary of Yellowstone Park is a real problem (as Bob Jackson, who patrolled there for many years has written widely, including hereP).

  16. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    Quite frankly, their kind of guiding is found also at NOLS, where I worked for a summer, and even Outward Bound. NOLS is all over the Greater Yellowstone. Is NOLS a bunch of moneygrubbers?

    One needs to understand that the Teton and Washakie Wilderesses are horse country, just as the Bridger and the Fitzpatrick Wildernesses are backpacker country. Two environments, two different ways of experiencing them.

    I strongly resent and will not tolerate the kinds of puerile comments Chuck Parker directed toward Tory and Meredith and myself. If Ken or anyone else objects to how I feel about it, fine. I’m through with this goddamn blog. I’m tired of having to put up with idiots.


  17. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    The slippery slope . . .

    How often have ranchers justified their stranglehold on public lands by claiming something like, “I’m a 4th generation rancher and we love the land.”

    Yellowstone wasn’t overrun with snowmobilers in the 60s and early 70s, but by the time the public noticed the snowmobile issue in the 90s, it was all about money and protecting the financial interests of snowmobile related business interests outside the park. “This business has been in the family for 30 years . . . we love sharing the park, etc.”

    Same with permits to go down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. If anybody wants to stick their head in the sand and pretend commercial wilderness guides won’t get the lion’s share of backcountry permits for Yellowstone, be my guest. I don’t care if they’re educating the damn Pope about wilderness values. Private citizens should have first rights to public lands. For profit business should only get the $craps.

  18. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I’m offended at your comments about Meredith and Tory.

  19. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    “One needs to understand that the Teton and Washakie Wilderesses are horse country, just as the Bridger and the Fitzpatrick Wildernesses are backpacker country.”

    I visited South Africa and Namibia several times during the 90s, and this kind of superior attitude, “one needs to understand,” was constantly used to justify apartheid, racism, and bigotry.

  20. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    Ralph. My comments were not directed at Meredith an Tory specifically, but all commercial wilderness outfitters in general. Even if I had said, “Meredith and Tory take the wild out of wilderness,” what’s the problem? Why are you so offended? Is the topic open for discussion, or is the topic off limits on this public forum???

  21. Don Riley Avatar
    Don Riley


    I have lived in Dubois for the last 15 years. I know Tory & Meredith, know what business they were in and know the outstanding reputation they built. I am not a personal friend, have never been in their house nor they in mine but I have personally witnessed some of the scorn towards them, publicly and privately as have I witnessed the results of some of their hard work and dedication to the wilderness you love.

    I hope you revisit the articles associated with this thread. They have nothing to do with the positives and negatives of outfitters nor their impacts on the rights of private citizens, nor the Grand Canyon nor snowmobiles in Yellowstone nor ranchers with cattle leases on private land.

    Their story is about what they observed over 3 decades in the wilderness, what they chose to work on and write about, and most importantly the changes they have documented in their writing and images. Their message may be reduced to a few simple words: Hey guys, we watched the changes, researched and understood the causes and tried to warn you.

    Yeah, they made a living doing what they loved but they are not rich. They live modestly, work hard and care, they care alot.

    More to your point however, their permit is not and never was exclusive to their own use. It did exclude other commercial outfitters but no private person or citizen lost their “first right” to the public lands Tory & Meredith used for their lively hood and the Taylors most certainly never claimed “ownership” of those lands to the exclusion of anyone.

    The use of the lands allowed hundreds, if not thousands of private citizens to see pristine mountain valleys and peaks, wildlife and flowers they could not safely visit on their own. Apparently “removing the element of risk” is wrong for a qualified person to do as a service for an unqualified person, at least in your opinion. Perhaps you need a little more understanding of some of the things that can happen in the back country. There are plenty of examples, just ask your friendly neighborhood guide.

    The Upper Wind River Valley and the adjoining Yellowstone Country are better understood and appreciated by many more “private citizens” than ever would have been the case without the Taylors and others like them.

    Are there jerks in the outfitter ranks, Yup, just like on web blogs, but the Taylors are not among those.

    Hope your decision to stop visiting this blog was born out of frustration and will be revisited after an evening’s kool aid. Your knowledge and understanding of the way Wyoming works with the wildlife and environmental issues facing this state is very important to the understanding of those of us whom regularly visit, but seldom comment.

    Don Riley

  22. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    “During one of our final outfitting trips last year, we took a pack trip with the theme “On the Trail of the Nez Perce” through Yellowstone. We started at Fishing Bridge and took a timeless trip through Pelican Valley’s lush, deep grass, spotting bison herds, a grizzly sow and two rolly-polly cubs, elk, wolves, migratory waterfowl, and gurgling sandhill cranes. It was 2008, but it could have been 1908 or 1808.” The Taylors.

    Gee, I used to do a lot of solo hiking in Pelican Valley when I worked in Yellowstone in the 1970s. But in the early 1980s, the NPS began requiring groups of 4 or more. No problem for business owners like the Taylors, but a terrible loss of freedom for me. I don’t want to pay big bucks to go out with a commercial outfitter and 12 people and sing Kumbia around the campfire at night.

  23. Don Riley Avatar
    Don Riley

    I don’t know about the 70’s & 80’s but Pelican Valley is open now. It is closed until the middle or end of July due to critical bear habitat.


  24. Ken Cole Avatar

    My interjection was a lame attempt at trying to calm this discussion down. My first thought was to close down comments as it seemed that the insults were getting out of hand.

    I think both sides of the discussion were a bit out of line myself. I’m glad it didn’t occur in a bar as I think it may have come to blows.

    I can understand why RH got upset and it seems apparent that Chuck does not know the people who wrote the article. I have a personal distaste for much of the guiding profession through my exposure to it but I don’t agree that all wilderness guides are a bad thing. I also don’t think that the way some places dole out the permits is acceptable either.

  25. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    I am usually not a moderator type, but I’d have to say my thoughts mirror EVERYONE’s above.

    I see two lines of thought here, both with the same result. One, where folks have the attitudes which makes for deliberate exploiters of this land of ours and two, ones who are indirect abusers of this land of ours.

    I was a backcountry ranger in Yellowstone for 30 years. I’d say no one alive has travelled and lived away from Yellowstone’s roads more than me. But every time I got up in the morning and walked out that cabin door I was abusing Yellowstone. It was because I was part of an “unnatural” environment. I wasn’t a member of a hunter – gatherer population, a population that was subject to all the same population limiters imposed by nature on wolves and buffalo.

    I was part of an unnatural situation, and therefore was an abuser. There are a lot more homo sapiens around today than before Whiteman came upon the scene in the Greater Yellowstone. The Catch 22 was my job, as enforcer of all that was “right”, meant I travelled where people weren’t. Thus, I was in a place where I shouldn’t have been in an ecological sense.

    Everyone thinks of Yellowstone’s Pelican Valley, and its closure and use limitations, as something needed for bear protection. But it also helped a lot of elk who very much NEEDED to stay in the middle of this open valley to escape the mosquitoes. Hunted elk could and can not tolerate people during the protective calving summer times. What happened in the fall during hunting seasons outside the Park affected the migrating elk populations of Yellowstone the same as it does the buffalo after the Park harasses the bison below Steven’s Creek and over on the Madison during the winter. These actions cause both species to run away….and away from their homes. People use in Pelican Valley to elk would have the same affect as someone taking all the screens and windows out of our homes which were surrounded by swamps.

    It took me only two times of travel through Pelican Valley prior to the opening of the flood gates each year to permanently remove elk from this valley. It was the same for Big Horn Pass open country in the Gallatin when I patrolled there. And it is the same for all those indirect abusers in the form of NOLS and the Outward Bound groups.

    Of course I, being the protector of Yellowstone, meant I had to patrol Pelican and the upper Gallatin to make sure no one was illegally using these areas. I was an indirect abuser made worse by my original sin of having prior knowledge of what my actions were doing to these wildlife populations. Yes, I tried forever to let Yell. Biologists and administrators know of these visitor use damages to wildlife but it was to no avail.

    I also doubt if Robert in his earlier days with NOLS knew he was part of an organization, by their focus to get away from it all, that adversely affected and did more damage to more populations of extended families elk herds than all the direct and indirect abusers combined camping at Bridger Lake. I also doubt Tory and Meridith in their pristine travels through Pelican understand they were seeing a beautiful but stark and sterile landscape…and they were part of the reason it was so. I doubt C. Parker in his travels through Pelican in the 1970’s knew I had already flushed the elk out of the valley on my early season patrols to Fern Lake and Pelican Springs cabin each year. We all tend to think our trips as the best and original landscape pristine when it is not.

    Tory and Meridith’s photos show beautiful landscapes without the wildlife of the Lewis and Clark writings. There is something very much missing in their beautiful, but sterile photos…as well as all those NOLS and Outward Bound student photos they cherish throughout life. I’d have to say from my perspective, “Forgive them for they know not what they do”. Tory and Meridith are indirect abusers and they don’t know to the extent they are. None of us do for that matter. We have nothing to relate to to know the comparative differences.

    As for those “direct abusers” it all is a matter of semantics. Is an open pit mine worse than all those exploitive outfitters, who by their quest for dollars, so they as composites of individuals can stay in Gods Country, become extractive exploiters? Their travels on the Mirror Plateau and their insistence, through govt. capitulation, of having “first right” over the general public makes them arrogant and even more exploitive. They are killing off the Mt. Bison by their stance on the right to stay on this Plateau at night.

    But those govt. administrators who capitulate are of even greater “sin”. They know or choose not to know the reasons folks shouldn’t be on the Mirror, but allow use so no flack enters into their career, “rise to the top” ambitions.

    There are too many of us homo sapiens, but does this mean I, with that knowledge, am willing to take myself out of the overpopulation picture so the world is better? No, I want to live.

    On this blog we all show we want to validate our lives and the older we get the more we want to think we did ok. Robert, through an extension of life with Meridith and Tory, feels threatened by anyone questioning T & M’s (and greater extension perception as outfitters / cattlemen on public lands) worth as “good” people.

    I grew up in an Iowa farming community and for me to be raising buffalo in these environs as compared to traditional cattle operations means I am seen as a threat by all those cattle producers. To Robert I am also seen as the “bad” because with fences my wildlife does not fit his definition of wildlife. His definition is a result of a life long quest the same as all of us to justify our lives.

    My life as a ranger fits into his definition of ‘doing right”, however. Chuck has invested a lot of his life and identity in the wilds also. Although he wants his right to travel Pelican he does not know I, as a patrolling ranger, already made his experience not as top notch as he wants to believe it was. For all of us it is ‘Did we do right? Was our life worth it?

    Tory and Meridith I knew because they packed a top dog LA reporter into Thorofare so he could see and write first hand of the salt baiting abuses. This reporter had read the Jackson Hole News and the story that had come out of someone “leaking” my govt. report on Griz mortality to this newspaper. Local news was one thing, national news was another…. and Tory and Meridith soon got into something bigger and more sinister than they ever envisioned. But the same as me, I’m sure they thought their conservation advocacy was “right”.

    The Park tried everything it could to keep Frank Clifford out of Thorofare. The second in command for the biologists called Meridith to discourage this trip. When that didn’t work the Park Public Affairs got hold of Bridger Teton to see what they could do. They in turn let T & M know they did not have an outfitter permit to stay overnight in the BT. All this by supposed hallowed land use agencies in an attempt to sweep environmental abuse under the table.

    T & M and Frank Clifford then made the 32 mile horse trip, in the cold and snow of Oct., with no overnight stops. It was very hard on them and I did everything I could to thaw them out. The Park, Wyoming Game and Fish and the USFW administrators, when alerted the trip couldn’t be stopped, expedited their careerists from normal duties to do a forced march trip into Thorofare to intercept me before I talked to outsiders who couldn’t be controlled. These govt. folks were all people I knew and all of whom stayed one time or another overnight as guests to Thorofare. Their setting for giving me fatherly advice was the Thorofare 1800’s barn, the hallowed symbol of what all back country horse culture stood for.

    These rangers, game wardens, and F&W officers turned administrative flunkies told me this info of salting was very sensitive in nature (they said it went all the way back to Triangle X and their bud Dick Cheney) and it would do well for me and the mission of the park if I moderated what I and all of them in the barn had seen of salt lick abuse in the BT. Of course to put a blanket on all this was also important for them personally because they had stayed for years while on “patrol” (talking horses rather) at the G&F cabin one mile away from my cabin. It was a cabin surrounded by 4 active and very BT illegal salt licks….a cabin where outfitted clients used the notched logs as rests to shoot baited elk.

    This is the kind of stuff Tory and Meridith rode into and they, nor I, backed down to blatant environmental abuse …because we were “right”. The result was front page all across the country in LA syndicated papers. Meridith, as part of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, nominated me for their Govt employee of the Year award.
    As Tory notes, the back lash from outfitters was tremendous. T &M stuck to it till the death threats came on the phone at night. Then they told me they could do no more. Plus, the Forest Service controlled their permits and they wanted badly to gain Yellowstone outfitter permit status.

    I don’t think they knew until then how far Western politics (govt.) attitudes reached. They had to weigh in if they could continue to do “good” if they were banned from avenues allowing continued “good’. I could have looked at it as abandonment when the “going got tough” but I was the principle the public identified with in this ‘fight” and both of us knew it. They did what they could under the circumstances.
    Then I was on my own. The years of public scrutiny followed with the Cheney boys trying to do dirty tricks (including wire taps and opening mail). But the public exposure back fired on the “bad” boys and the heat was on for the BT, Yellowstone and Wyoming govt. to do something to sweep it under the table again. Wyoming salt baiting law was enacted and I was flown to Washington and the Senate floor for pictures and hand shakes, for what that was worth (salting still goes on in the BT). Tory and Meridith continued on to do what they did as outfitters. They got the Yellowstone Institute contract and they were in with Yellowstone blessings. They ended up as part of what I’d consider were a very small, fingers on one hand, numbers of indirect abusers. The rest of the outfitters I considered direct abusers. I wish them well in their warmer climes.

    We all do what we can under the conditions we were dealt and the environment we grew up in. To change is what this blog site is all about.

  26. Virginia Avatar

    I know that I am not really qualified to comment on the discussions going on here, however, I want to say that I have gained much knowledge from the information posted by RH and by Chuck Parker and look forward to more discussions from both of you. While reading the story by Tory and Meredith, I detected the change that came over them throughout their years of guiding and feel that they came to the right conclusion regarding what has been happening over the years in these special places. I am not a fan of guides per se, but not everyone has the outdoor knowledge, gear, horses, rafts, etc. to be able to participate in the experiences offered by these people. Because of the epiphany they had through their experiences, they have even more to offer.

    I hope RH will reconsider his decision not to share his knowledge and experience with those of us who look forward to his blogs. Please don’t punish the rest of us because you disagree. We can agree to disagree – right?

  27. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    Bob–What time of year did you do your early season patrols in Pelican Valley? I lived year ’round in Yellowstone, and when I was on x-c ski trips in Pelican Valley during the winter, I never saw a single horse on x-c skis with a ranger perched on top. “I doubt C. Parker in his travels through Pelican in the 1970’s knew I had already flushed the elk out of the valley on my early season patrols to Fern Lake and Pelican Springs cabin each year. We all tend to think our trips as the best and original landscape pristine when it is not.”

    Permanent rangers either didn’t have the time for long x-c day trips/overnight excursions(Roger Rudolph) or the inclination (Tim Blank, Bob Mahn). Seasonals like Joe Fowler also had limited time. I made it a point to spend time in Pelican Valley during every season, how about you? Are you sure you flushed the elk out of Pelican Valley before I got there? Or were you in Iowa, or Mammoth, during the spring and early summer while I was in Pelican Valley?

  28. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    The question is, ‘Did you know the difference of when the elk were there or not?”. Or was it bison you saw on those skiis? My horse trips started each year with the first greening of grass. My horses needed the same graze elk needed to return to Pelican. Never saw any human foot prints that time of year except for the ones on upper Sedge Creek (guys coming over Jones Pass on foot, poaching bears…never caught them).

  29. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    Do I know the difference between an elk and a buffalo? Are you serious? Did I know “the difference of when the elk were there or not?’ How would you know, given that you were essentially a 90 day wonder who didn’t live in the park year round? Show up in June with no idea of what was going on in April or May, let alone during the winter. You never saw any human foot prints. Jeez, that’s shocker. Rangers stuck to the official trail; that left 99% of Pelican Valley for the rest of us. You didn’t have to be Kit Carson to avoid rangers.

  30. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    What´s wrong with guides? Maybe the only thing is that you feed an “outfitters industry”. Everything on a somewhat larger scale :-)) For many, “hiring a guide” means to hire kind of a professional entertainer, delivering a full-service package deal, with a money back guarantee. I´ll give you an example from a different world: I´m currently planning my fall 09 hiking vacation. It will be in Slovakias Tatra Mountains and I will hire a guide. Why? Am I afraid to hike in unknown terrain, in bear country, in an area with no trails and no hiking maps available? Not at all, but I will hire a local, preferably a hunter, a farmer, a biologist, to take us out into the woods for a few days to increase our chances to see a bear or a wolf and show us a few scenic places I would probably not find on my own. Besides that, it´s fun to meet these people and travel with them. They are part of the wilderness, they are proud to guide you (and rarely carry a rifle along). They need not to invest first to obtain a concession here and a permit there but they seldom disappoint. And, they would never admit, but they urgently need the money, they are asking for. And small money it is – my guide for the autumn trip asks for $ 50 (fifty) a day!

  31. ynp4me Avatar

    Thank you Bob for taking the time and sharing that important Yellowstone history on the of backcountry use by guides. I remember the coverage of this issue when it happened.

    What can be done now in BT to stop the salt lick use?

    Chuck Parker, I like the hat and enjoyed a chuckle reading your commentary as usual. LOL

    ~ Vicky

  32. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Besides the discussions above we all should first and foremost read the article and carefully listen what the Taylor´s tell us. Gives you a lot to think about!

  33. Bonnie Avatar

    Chuck, are you saying that only backpackers and locals should have access to Yellowstone’s backcountry? What about a poor city dweller that happens to enjoy horseback riding, but doesn’t have enough vacation time to haul their horses all the way from Chicago so they can ride in Yellowstone. Not to mention the cost of extra animals and equipment if they should want to make an over night stay. You almost sound like some of the locals that maintain they are the only ones who should have a say in what happens on Federal land because the rest of the Americans don’t live in close proximity, so therefore can’t possibly have a stake in it. You should be grateful that most Americans make the sacrifice of living in the cities and suburbs and only make occasional pilgrimages to “God’s country”. If they didn’t, the wild areas we all treasure would be overrun with housinig and stripmalls in nothing flat.

  34. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    To respond to a few postings;

    Chuck, Why would you want to keep out of view of the rangers in the first place? Anyone trying that always raised red flags with me. I’d follow those kinds of tracks to see what they were up to. It didn’t take long to figure out if they were from someone with a focus and up to no good or they belonged to anti social Walter Mitties. The later were harmless and their attempts to stay away from others put them through areas where neither wildlife or anything of environmental consequence happened. I’d let them have their miserable life.

    And evidently you must have missed Sedge Ck on your romps. Do you even know where it is? The only “trail” on Sedge are small axed blazes every 200-400 or so yards. Old and some new freshings. No down timber cut. It is a poacher route used by a very small number of guides to take buffalo skulls out of Pelican in the summer (the guides not on the daily dude show shuck camp chores, rope the still green heads and drag them into the timber for another years aging) and used by the griz poachers in the Spring.

    Nasty route I must say. Maybe you didn’t want to crawl over all that wet, slippery down timber (one fall there and a broken leg could happen …and what does one do then so far away from a trail?) or get your feet wet walking through the bogs.

    For Peter, I have a feeling the “guides” in Europe have a different perspective on showing people around. In the Greater Yellowstone, most outfitters and guides look at summertime dude trips only as a way to pay for horse upkeep and wages till the fall hunt outfitting commences.
    That is where their identity lies, the cowboy Wild West, where it all is a world of fakery. I call the guides “heel grinders” because they would take grinders to the outside of the shoe heel so they then would walk bow legged. Another trick was to take your horse through deep water while wrangling horses, leave the feet down..and then wait to take the boots off back in camp to pour the water out. Yes, I saw this happen with a “seasoned” ten year hunting guide. It was all show. As for money, the outfitters in my area got $5,000/hunter, and with 80 – 100 hunters for the big camps, they grossed $400-500,000 in a 7 week time period. They would churn those hunters out and the guides didn’t care a hoot about them after the elk was packed and the tip was transferred to their grubby pockets. The filled out hunters would then be told it was a lot more fun to sit on a saddle at the Cowboy Bar (in Jackson) than having to stay in camp. the outfitter didn’t want to have to pay for any more meals for dead wood.

    For ynp4me, All BT would have to do to stop most salt baiting would be putting signs at the trail heads saying “no salt baiting allowed”. Then at any of the salt stations in the back country there should be a G&F sign saying “no hunting over bait”. These signs the dudes coming in and hunting would see. Questions and doubts would be forefront and the outfitters would have to answer them. No money from dudes means no outfitter.

    It is so easy to change the illegal salting, but the govt. administrators don’t want to do it because they then would have the yelling from the outfitters….even though no outfitter was mentioned in those signages.

  35. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    Bob–why avoid arrogant, overbearing, obnoxious, self-righteous, know-it-all, self-important, 90 day wonder rangers? Well, I can think of a few good reasons.

    Pity it’s come to exchanging insults on the Internet. I admire your efforts to stop hunting outfitters from salting, and other abuses of our public lands in the Yellowstone region.

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Brian Ertz