National media discover the decline of wolves in Yellowstone

Although it is old news here, it is good to see these facts being widely disseminated-

Wolves decline in Yellowstone. By Janice Lloyd.  USA Today

As predicted, the remaining elk in the Park are tough critters that can beat up on the wolves.



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  1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I guess wolves aren’t the Devil incarnate after all.


  2. gline Avatar

    Why do we have to watch the same movie over and over?

  3. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I spent all of October and part of November in Yellowstone this year. It was the least productive fall I have ever had in Yellowstone and my experience was repeated by other photographers and wildlife observers. Yellowstone has become so over- managed (Rubber bullets, Crackershells, Beanbags, and Loudspeakers to chase the bears and wolves away from the roads) and over-studied (Half of the wolves have radio collars) that it is hard to see the animals, and if you do see one, your photograph and viewing experience is likely to be ruined by an over-sized GPS collar on the animal. It is time to get these hover -mother researchers out of the park and let the animals be wild and free.
    They will dart, drug , and collar these poor wolves until they all are gone. This is a classic example of studying wildlife to death.

  4. Mike Avatar

    Larry –

    In my personal opinion with Yellowstone, the crowding and traffic is more detrimental to the wildlife than the researchers, as was the case when a wolf was run over by gawkers this year. I’d like to start seeing use permits for the park similar to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Yellowstone is just WAY to busy. It’s disgusting actually to be there in August even. The wildlife jams there are just shocking with people pulled over on the narrow road blocking the view of drivers for any wildlife that may be thinking of crossing.

    I stopped going to the park even in the fall because of the traffic. There are just way too many cars in the park (especially monster SUV’s that limit visiblity when they are on the side of the road or in front of you).

    Also, I hope I don’t offend anyone but I find the use of radios by gawkers to be perhaps just as bad as the researchers because gawkers just swarm down on these animals from all locations of the park, speeding towards where these wolves or bears are in many cases and creating a hazard. It’s like one big flotilla of rubber, steel and tripods constantly maneuvering around these animals.

  5. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    One of the few subjects, you and I will agree on…I have done some of my work in Yellowstone, but now, I would loath to work in the park, there are just to many out of control people during the summer, and it is starting to become detrimental to both the environment as well as the wildlife, since Lewis has taken over the park a few years ago, the amount of control by the LE’s and the out of control visitors has become terrible.

  6. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Mike – telling American taxpayers they cannot drive thru their National Zoo – great idea.

  7. Terry Avatar

    In the last few years, I have been visiting Yellowstone basically in the winter months or in an off season. I was there in January and February and truly enjoy the solitude. Even with the snow covered roads, it is much easier to get around. I visited the park this year with my husband in the latter part of May and was astounded by the inconsiderate attitude of some of the visitors. People just pulling over wherever they felt like, blocking the roadways and trying to get entirely too close to the wildlife. Does the ultimate photo mean that much that safety and animal welfare is jeopardized ??? And a lot of these people are downright rude. I really don’t know what the solution could be to this summer season in Yellowstone. Perhaps it will come down to something like the snowmobile regulations where only a certain amount are allowed in the park per day. I haven’t been to the park at that time of the year because of these reasons but I feel it has become a dangerous situation. There are children running around in the roadways unattended, vehicles stopping when and where they feel like and animals being approached too closely. Maybe someday it will be like Denali Park in Alaska…admittance by tour bus only. I would truly hate to see this happen. I agree with everything that’s been said here. Visitors are out of control !!!

  8. savage Avatar

    Yellowstone is for all of us. Reasearchers, SUV’s, tourists and all. Im just happy the wolves and grizzlies are still there. It changes peoples preceptions and attitudes once they see them. Which improves the public opinion, and is a good thing for the wolves and grizzlies future everywhere.

  9. Mike Avatar

    ++One of the few subjects, you and I will agree on…I have done some of my work in Yellowstone, but now, I would loath to work in the park, there are just to many out of control people during the summer, and it is starting to become detrimental to both the environment as well as the wildlife, since Lewis has taken over the park a few years ago, the amount of control by the LE’s and the out of control visitors has become terrible.++

    Couldn’t agree more. As I said previously, I would love to see a permit system similar to the Boundary Waters which they had to institue because the place was being loved to death.

    Yellowstone needs a break from the insanity.

  10. Virginia Avatar

    Terry – I live 52 miles from Yellowstone and have been going to the Park since I was a child. What you describe isn’t anything new – it has been like that in Yellowstone for as long as I can remember and that is a long time. Many “visitors” are loud, obnoxious, inconsiderate of other people and especially of the animals. Any improvements made to the roads and facilities has usually made matters worse. There are not enough law enforcement/park rangers to patrol this huge national park and keep all of the “visitors” from destroying what is left of the Park. If you watch Old Faithful you will see that even it has decreased in volume because of all of the garbage thrown into it over the years. It is disgraceful. I have watched cars trying to follow the wolves when they are trying to cross the road. Late last fall, we witnessed a man honking at the buffalo that were trying to move down the road as they couldn’t walk through the deep snow on the sides of the road. My husband came very close to getting out of the car and jerking the guy out of his car. It is very frustrating that people don’t understand Yellowstone is not a zoo.

  11. Alan Avatar

    “Does the ultimate photo mean that much that safety and animal welfare is jeopardized ???” The answer to that is obviously no. A lot of times people blame ‘photographers’, but I would like to point out that professionals like Larry are not to blame, it’s tourists; most of whom do not have the equipment to take close up photos of wildlife, yet still want to go home with pictures like they see in the gift stores. Pros and serious semi pros spend big money on big lenses so that they do not have to get too close. Do pros sometimes get 80 yards from a bear? (Legal is 100). Sure. But do they stick their camera right in a bear’s face twenty feet away such as I see tourists do every year? With perhaps one or two well known, notorious exceptions, absolutely not. Yet, somehow, photographers get a bum rap. (BTW, I know Terry wasn’t accusing any individual of anything, just commenting.)
    Regarding the summer traffic: Parking regulations need to be made clear at each entrance, large signs, front page of the paper, special handouts….whatever it takes. Then they have to be enforced. Way too often I have seen rangers drive by or around a jam, yell out with a loadspeaker that people have to move or park off the pavement, and drive on. Clearly they are ignored. On scene I have seen rangers warn people that they will get a ticket if they do not move back, move their car, whatever. As soon as the ranger turns his/her back, they are ignored. Magically, no one seems to own the illegally parked car. Rarely have I seen a ticket written. There is always one car in front of every jam holding everybody up. Unless there is an animal in the road or a fallen tree across it, that driver needs to get a ticket. If the next car fails to move, they should get one as well. And please stop putting a gadzillion ugly ‘no parking’ signs all over the place! You are ruining the view! Make the rules plain at the gate and enforce them. Maybe the rangers don’t want to spoil anyone’s vacation, or maybe they just give up in the summer; but they don’t seem to have qualms about writing a ticket for parking in the winter time in Lamar, when there’s only two or three dozen cars in the whole park. When word got out, and it would, I think they would put a big dent in the number of vehicles stopping and parking in the street.
    Regarding the USA Today article, I was a little disappointed that it was ended on a kind of positive note: Wolves aren’t in any real danger. Reached an equilibrium. Part of the ebb and flow……blah, blah, blah. No one addresses the wolves still being killed by WS IN ADDITION to the hunt, or how Montana, for example, manages to maintain the magic number of 500 wolves no matter how many are killed.

  12. Salle Avatar

    I have to agree with the majority of comments concerning the traffic congestion in the park. This summer I had the opportunity to hang out with a friend who had a boat on the lake, which was nice because I don’t know that I would ever have had the opportunity to see the Thoroughfare area and the estuary where the lake returns to the river or the Promontory Point or Wolf Bay etc.. The problem was getting to Bridge Bay marina and back out of the park, a 90 min. drive from the west entrance sans traffic.

    Once on the lake, there are so few boats out there that you can be miles from anyone else in the park, and that is truly awesome.

    People who have little opportunity to enter the park have this attitude that precludes any safety concerns, the rules don’t apply to them when they are on vacation ~ just try to cross the street in one of the gate communities and see how easy it is to be run down by a vacationing “touron”.

    If you are going to meet someone or trying to get to a trailhead at a given time in order to start your hike or whatever and make camp or get back out by dark, good luck if you didn’t enter the gate before 7am.

    Once upon a time there was talk of limiting the number of vehicles that enter per day, not sure what happened to that. Maybe folks would plan ahead a little better. As it is you have people arriving in West Yellowstone, for example, and start asking where the Walmart is and having no clue about any of the wildlife. They look at you like you’re some sort of spoilsport when you tell them they can’t leave food out, even in town, because of the bears. They don’t prepare for weather unlike the beach in San Diego, they don’t realize they are having a heart attack because of the elevation etc.. If they actually had to plan their trip, they might take their own well-being and that of other visitors into account.

    Another problem is that the current admin. of the park is so clueless when it comes to logistics and traffic control. I sat through seven-mile long jams on numerous occasions on the west entrance road along the Madison because every other clown had to stop in the road and take a picture of an elk or bison with a radio collar on it, parked in the middle of the road on a curve and insisted that if I wanted to get by them I should just pass them. And I sat for hours at Norris jct one day, early in the season, because of a motorcycle accident above Twins Lakes. The whole jct was closed for two life-flights, two victims-one was a fatality, that had to come in – one from Idaho Falls and one from Pocatello, skirting thunderstorms. Bicycles couldn’t even get through during the hours in between arrivals. The park traffic/logistics folks could have learned from that incident on a number of levels but instead, conditions only declined throughout the summer. There aren’t enough rangers on patrol at known traffic clustering spots, there aren’t enough pullouts, people don’t bother to use the ones that are there and nobody gets a ticket for causing a seven-mile jam. If folks had to pay a fine for such foolishness, maybe they’d get a clue. At some point someone is going to die in a jam and then there will be some big issues.

    And why there was a line-painting crew clogging up the one route through the park near Old Faithful on Labor Day weekend is beyond any rationale I could defend. There was less hassle getting through the construction at Gibbon Falls than anywhere else in the park while that route was open.

    I do blame Ms. Lewis for most of it.

  13. Alan Avatar

    Rather than a permit system, how about a limit on the number of vehicles allowed in each day, like they do in some areas of some parks? Problem is, just as with ideas to allow a bus system only, the only logical way to drive from Cody to West Yellowstone or Jackson to Livingston, is through the park. One reason so many people speed in the park is because they are just using the park road as a highway. Commercial trucks are not supposed to be allowed (and should not be), but there is an exception in the park compendium because it is “impractical to go around”.

  14. Mike Avatar

    In my experience there from 2004-2007 most of the traffic was from day users around the park, not out ot staters. I’ve seen people from Montana and Wyoming create giant campfires during fire bans, chase wildlife, creep up on animals to get the best photo ,etc. The idiocy is not really limited to tourists unfortunately.

    The problem seems to be that a large number of people seem to think the park “owes them something”, whether they travel from 100 miles or 2,000. They made the trip, and darnit if they aren’t going to get what they came for, whether it’s that frame filling shot for sale or letting Timmy pet the bison.

  15. Salle Avatar


    This is true also.

    Anyway, back to article, I do like Rolf Petersen’s comment, and I am bothered by the “happy ending” to every bit of news about the wolves in decline. They are not evil, they just do things that aren’t part of the Bambi narrative… TV, I guess.

  16. Alan Avatar

    Mike, you are right of course. It does not matter how far someone has driven. That’s not what makes them an idiot. I do have one question, though. Why is creeping up on an animal to photograph it necessarily a bad thing? I can understand if you are disturbing it, but I’ve “crept up” on many animals, photographed them and left without them ever knowing I was there. Why is “creeping up” to take a picture bad, but “creeping up” to kill an animal, like a hunter does, acceptable? I’m sure you meant chasing after and disturbing animals?
    BTW, during the summer months you are hard pressed to find many Montana and wyoming plates (at least the counties close to the park). Most folks I know have the good sense to stay out at that time.

  17. Salle Avatar

    I would wager that a large number of license plates from states bordering the park are likely rentals.

  18. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Those compact white sedans from Utah are almost all rentals. You can generally tell which RVs are rentals. They say things like “Travel America” on them.

  19. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    That is good that this has national attention. People need to know this.

    Mike, I agree, I wish Yellowstone would be able to restrict traffic. I would love to see it become like Denali, but as Talks with Bears said, you probably could not get away with it. Yellowstone is too much of a road trip destination. If you drive anywhere even close to the vicinity of the park in Wyoming there are signs all over pointing out fast and scenic routes and even the new signs at the border (at least in Nebraska, Utah, and Montana) all have a picture of the Tetons. You also have to wonder how much some other areas would suffer. I would also wonder if it would affect tourism in the Black Hills as many people probably do a combination trip.
    My fear is that Yellowstone would become what I’ve heard Yosemite has become. Unfortunately Talks with Bears is also right about describing Yellowstone as a zoo, which is what many people think of it as.

  20. Mike Avatar

    Mike, you are right of course. It does not matter how far someone has driven. That’s not what makes them an idiot. I do have one question, though. Why is creeping up on an animal to photograph it necessarily a bad thing? I can understand if you are disturbing it, but I’ve “crept up” on many animals, photographed them and left without them ever knowing I was there. Why is “creeping up” to take a picture bad, but “creeping up” to kill an animal, like a hunter does, acceptable? I’m sure you meant chasing after and disturbing animals?++

    Alan I’m a photographer as well. When I say “creeping up on an animal”, I’m referring to a goup of people in Yellowstone pushing down on them like paparazi and changing their behavior. I’ve seen this in many instances. No doubt there are a lot of ethical photogs out there, but there are also a lot of unethical ones (using calls, chasing wildlife as it tries to run off, etc). It’s one of the main reasons I switched to further north in Montana.

    BTW, during the summer months you are hard pressed to find many Montana and wyoming plates (at least the counties close to the park). Most folks I know have the good sense to stay out at that time.

    I spent two months in Yellowstone in 2006 from late July to the end of Setember camping in the campgrounds. I never left the park except to get groceries and from that experience, the vast majority of the traffic was from local use. Most of the tourists I saw were centered around Canyon and Old Faithful. You can def tell a rental vehicle from one that’s not. Rental places will sell their cars after a certain amount of mileage. The campground users were def mostly locals.

    I believe you when you say most folks you know have the sense to stay out, but there are a lot of people in both states.

  21. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    BTW, during the summer months you are hard pressed to find many Montana and wyoming plates (at least the counties close to the park). Most folks I know have the good sense to stay out at that time.

    You want to get there in late spring to see babies or in the fall to hear elk bugling. I always try to stay out during the height of the tourist season.

  22. Alan Avatar

    Mike, I knew what you meant. I’ve just always wanted to use that line about comparing hunters and photogs!
    Guess I’ll need to pay closer attention to plates. I sure don’t see it in the summer. There are so many vehicles in the summer. To say that the majority are local. Wow. I sure don’t see it, but who am I to question what you saw in 2006? Some rental companies sell their cars at a certain mileage, not all. There’s always Rent a Wreck!!

  23. Mike Avatar

    haha that’s a good line about photogs and hunters too. Well played.

    Do you photograph in YNP every summer? I assume you live near the park. Do you have a link to any of your images?

  24. Elk275 Avatar

    I do know that in the summer months 90% of all fish caught in the Madison, Firehole and Yellowstone River are caught by residents of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. At least that was the case 10 years ago. Either the locals are the majority of fishers or they are the best fishers.

    There will never be able to totally restrict traffic in Yellowstone some of us use it as a highway. I uses it to go to Jackson or Cooke City.

    I do not feel that the traffic is any worst today than 35 years ago. I work road construction in Yellowstone and work on the by pass around West Thumb in 71 and 72. After I was injuried in a car wreck in 72, I worked as a flag man for a month 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for one month — I am over it and can live with it.

  25. Jay Avatar

    Most of the activity–even in the summer–is restricted to a few hundred yards of the roads in the park. So even though the roads are busy, the animals still thrive, and don’t really seem to avoid the roads much. From that end, I would argue the number of people that get to see wildlife, and develop an appreciation for wolves, and grizzlies, and bison, and maybe even donate money for wildlife organizations, is not necessarily as horrible as some are portraying it to be. Many visitors have literally no experience with wildlife, so to be able to go to a place like Y-stone and see some animals up close is profoundly important to their recognition of the importance of having these animals on the landscape.

  26. Salle Avatar

    It would be nice if they would learn something about the wildlife and their habitats before they go to the “drive-in”.

  27. Mike Avatar

    Jay you make some great points. It’s important for people to see these animals because after doing so, most would want to protect them.

  28. Jay Avatar

    Salle–what better way to learn than to go see it and experience it first hand? Cut them a break–they’re spending their hard earned vacation going out to view and appreciate nature, not chug margaritas at some mega-resort.

  29. cc Avatar

    I wonder if those wishing for a reduction in cars or visitors to YNP are considering that they themselves might be amongst those kept out. Would they then complain about lack of access to the park? Would they want only those they deem less educated than them be kept out?

  30. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I have no problem with staying out of the park, for me the whole experience has been tarnished by the poor management and poor behavior of visitors, and as I said, I did part of my work in the park, when I was FWP. I would never expect to have an exception made for me when I say I would like to see some bit of better management undertaken.

  31. Salle Avatar

    I’m with Save Bears there. There could be some consideration for those who work and make deliveries or are camping inside or have paid the fees to keep a boat at the marina. We usually rode motorcycles except when hauling the boat in or out. Also, I have used the park as a through-way to get to parts of Wyoming that I couldn’t access during winter as it is a day-long or more drive to get to some places, and it’s not a daily jaunt, I usually make plans ahead of time due to distance, and cost. There could be a permit for that with some conditions attached. It’s not impossible to manage.


    I am certain that many learn about wildlife and feel some connection that bonds them to the ownership idea and inspires them to protect what they see. But a lot of folks are total asses while they are doing it. It really blows it for the rest of the visitors impacted by their rudeness.

  32. JD Avatar

    Doug Smith’s comments are laughable. Yellowstone remains the best place in the USA to see wolves, even with their numbers decline, because there is no other place where one can readily see them. Where are you going to go, Isle Royale ?

  33. JW Avatar

    I agree with Jay. 98% of the park is backcountry. While less traffic/congestion would be good, Yellowstone serves as a first hand experience for many to nature which causes people to value and protect the resources. Even with the congestion, etc, JD, Doug S. is correct. Wolves in Yellowstone are still the most protected group of wolves in the USA if not the world and are very viewable (obviously, this is what part of the thread is about), even with low population numbers currently, which has nothing to do with tourists.
    I think folks on this thread need to take a step back and realize that part of the reason that wolves are loved by so many (certainly not all) is b.c of the wolves in Yellowstone and the fact that many people know individual wolves life histories. And yes, Larry, that is partially (or mainly) b.c of the dedicated biologists that you so often burn in these posts.
    So for those hoping to have greater public interest in wolves (and ultimately more laws to protect them), don’t forget about how valuable Yellowstone is in facilitating that.

  34. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Hasn’t there been an increased problem with bison on the roads in the Park? By that I mean not more bison on the roads, but a refusal by some folks to drive around them or through a herd?

  35. Jay Avatar

    So if I read your post correctly Salle, you’re saying that if you’re well off and have the means to own a boat, or want to use the park as a convenient short cut, than it should be ok for those types to access the Park, but everyone else (lets say, a family that wants to show their kids what nature is all about) needs to get in line? I’m glad you’re not in charge of things.

  36. Salle Avatar


    You might look at it from that perspective if you like, however, the park is only open to the well off during the winter, entirely. In the summer it is a way across some tough mountain ranges that are only accessible in summer months. Most locals of the region west of the park have to wait for the passes to clear to go to the other side, mostly because they neither have the time or financial means to go at any other time which would require days off from work ~ if they have a job ~ and the cost of fuel to get there and back. When you’re looking at 3-500 extra miles to travel, it’s not doable.

    It costs a minimum of $1,000 to rent a slip at the marina for the summer and that is only until 9/15 and that’s after the lake is thawed enough to launch. Small boats are not cheap either. It also costs a good deal to camp in one of the campgrounds regardless of whether you have a tent or an RV. If you paid these extra fees, you should be able to get in and out to access your venue. You don’t have to be THAT well off to have a boat, by the way. “Well-off” is a relative term.

    So if you don’t like the limited access idea, how about this?

    Instead of allowing people to purchase their gate passes at the gate where they can hold up a line of traffic for a considerable amount of time, passes should only be checked at the gates and purchase of passes should be conducted at the visitor centers that are located in communities outside the gates where the park service and NF agencies have space and personnel to sell passes and answer questions. This could facilitate the actual information dissemination process where visitors would be required to READ the fliers and newspaper and become INFORMED of park policies and personal safety notices that they usually throw on the floor or refuse to accept at the gate. Many would rather sit at the gate for up to ten minutes to ask questions and be shown features on the map while those who are in line behind them have to wait for them to move on. The park admin. should be more mindful of keeping the flow of traffic moving and enforce use of pullouts as well. If the public actually had to get out of the car before entering the park to become informed and acknowledge, when they sign for the pass, that they have read and understand the policies and probability that they will be cited for violations, including parking on the roadway in the traffic lane, it might resolve a lot of the cluster-f*&k problem for everyone. Then, after getting off the road in an appropriate fashion, Timmy can go pet the bears or jump in a geyser with his parents’/guardians’ knowledge of what is likely to take place at that interface of nature and accept responsibility for whatever takes place thereafter.

    How’s that sound? With rights come responsibilities, people should remember that part of their freedom declarations.

  37. Salle Avatar

    Here’s some interesting news out today:

  38. Virginia Avatar

    Ralph – I have to respond to your question about bison on the roads. As I said above, many people will honk or raise their engines behind the already stressed out bison trying to get down the road. Is it too much to ask to just wait and let them go at their leisure – after all, they have a tough time just surviving in YNP. People are in way too much of a tear to get down the road in the Park and need to remember why they are there – to see the animals and nature and not to hurry them along their way. Even driving around them is not necessary – let them take their time and go somewhere else if you can’t give the bison a break! Next time I see this behavior, I might be the one jerking the guy out of his car to explain this to him. Sorry to go on about the bison, but it just gets me so angry.

  39. Alan Avatar

    Ralph, I was slowly inching my way through a bison herd that was on the road last year, as I have safely on tens of dozens of occassions, when a big bull put his head down and smashed in the side of my car. $1000.00 deductible, $800.00 in damage! Rangers tell you it never happens, but it does. I have met at least two other people it has happened to. I don’t drive around or through bison on the road anymore. I pull into the first legal turnout and wait for the road to clear, no matter how long it takes.
    I agree with JW about how the park is 98% back country. I do not photograph much in the park in the summer time. If I go at all I hike. With the exception of some busy areas and trails, most notably around Old Faithful and the Canyon, within three minutes of leaving the trailhead or road you are on another planet; very few people even in July and August.
    I do disagree with the statement that wildlife biologists and researchers are primarily responsible for the love that so many people have for wolves and other wildlife, however. I know that when you hang out in Lamar Valley it seems like everybody knows the life history of every wolf out there; but those people are a miniscule percentage of the wolf and wildlife lovers in the country and certainly the world. I would submit that quality wildlife photographs by individuals such as Florian Schultz, Tom Mangelsen, Jess Lee, George Lepp and others; as well as video records by dedicated videographers like Bob Landis, Jeff Hogan and others; are far more responsible for bringing new wildlife and nature lovers into the fold than all the technical journals and reports written by biologists. Indeed, when a biologist or researcher wants to write a book or article for the general public, who do they go to to bring their reports to life? Wildlife photographers. When Defenders of Wildlife wanted to bring the story of wolf 253m to the public, who did they contact? Wildlife photographers. I personally received a call. When magazines or newspapers or blogs want to make the story of wolves personal for their readers, who do the go to? One picture does equal 1,000 words. I am not saying that the researchers and biologists do not do important work, but garnering support for wildlife is not a primary, or in most cases even a small part, of that work.
    Finally, I would not want to see anyone unable to visit Yellowstone who wants to go; but I think they should be required to obey traffic and other laws there just as they do (hopefully) at home. This park is huge. It can easily support 3 plus million visitors per year, especially when most visit in the summer and spend most of their time around Old Faithful, Canyon, and a few dozen popular trails. Just why is it that on the west side road coming in from W. Yellowstone, near the eagle’s nest where there is supposedly no standing, stopping or walking, are there always people standing, stopping and walking? Why isn’t there a ranger posted right there writing tickets? I would think that he would pay for himself. Just one example.

  40. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    Larry, why the beef with researchers? Without wolf packs being collared you and others wouldnt be able to find them to view and photograph. You definitely wouldnt know anything about the packs. Why dont you direct your frustrations towards the collaring that goes on outside the park that mainly allows packs to be found and killed? I have viewed and photographed many magnificent collared wolves in Yellowstone and i would say that a very small percentage of my sightings were by chance without knowing the general location of a pack due to radiocollars. The collars in my photos don’t bother me at all. Maybe my opinion would change if I were selling photos for profit…

  41. Virginia Avatar

    I do agree with Alan that the more publicity YNP (and other national parks) receive, the more people in this country will support wildlife issues. I watched again (about the 5th time, I think) Nature on PBS Sunday night when they replayed “Christmas in Yellowstone.” It is truly a spectacularly filmed and narrated program and is wonderful to watch every year. It brings the other animals to light such as the coyotes, foxes, otters, as well as the elk, wolves, buffalo. The winter backcountry of YNP is seen through the eyes of Tom Murphy, author of “Silence and Solitude.” I just hope that millions of people were watching with me to see the real Yellowstone.

  42. Alan Avatar

    Remember, Thomas Moran’s beautiful paintings and sketches were considered fanciful; writings about the area were considered embellished. It wasn’t until the early photographs of William Henry Jackson started rolling in that the country and Congress were convinced of the reality of the wonders of the Yellowstone, and a National Park was established. One has to wonder, if there had been no photographs, but merely written reports from geologists, biologists and others, how long it would have taken to establish the park; or if it ever would have been established. You can tell people that children are starving in Africa; you can write about it, you can even draw a sketch or paint a canvass; but these are mere shadows of reality. One photograph, though, and you are there. A photograph is reality. Achild’s eyes draw you inside and you feel the hunger, you know the pain. Writing connects with the brain; photography with the soul. Never underestimate the power of photography.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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