Leaving Only Footsteps? Think Again

New York Times‎ - Sunday Review By CHRISTOPHER SOLOMON FEB. 13, 2015 ONE of the most popular places for backcountry skiing in North America is Teton Pass in Wyoming, high above the adventure playground of Jackson Hole. This winter, as skiers and snowboarders unload gear for a day of sweat and powder-skiing, the researcher Kimberly Heinemeyer has been moving among them with a clipboard. Dr. Heinemeyer, a senior scientist with the research group Round River Conservation Studies, explains that she’s studying the effect of recreation on wolverines. She asks skiers if they will wear a small orange GPS armband for the day that tracks their movement. Most people gladly agree. Full article read more →

Doug Peacock on De-listing grizzly bears in the Yellowstone Ecosystem

“Yellowstone grizzly bears face the two greatest threats to their survival in our lifetime: global warming and the U.S. government. Between them they could wipe the bears out.” – Doug Peacock   Round River co-founder, long-time board member and friend, Doug Peacock, is well known for his writing on wilderness. Many of you have read his book on brown bears, Grizzly Years. Recently, Doug wrote a piece for The Daily Beast, on the U.S. government’s push to delist the grizzly, and read more →

Guest Post by Dr. Jeff Nichols

Dr. Nichols visited our program on the Taku this summer as part of a growing relationship between Round River and Westminster College.  We were honored to have him with us, and look forward to more visits by Jeff and his colleagues to all of our programs in the future.   Learning on the Taku with Round River I just returned from a week’s site visit to Round River Conservation Studies’ Taku Summer Program. Westminster College recently partnered with read more →

Mobile science – Wolverine research brings together unlikely groups

By Sarah Jane Keller Missoula News/Independent Publishing Three months ago at a trailhead in eastern Idaho’s Centennial Mountains, wolverine research technician Kyle Crapster eyed two snowmobilers from across the parking lot as they pulled avalanche safety gear from a sticker-emblazoned truck. He suspected they were heading for the steep, open slopes that help make this area west of Yellowstone National Park, known as Island Park, an international snowmobiling destination. Wolverines share the snowmobilers’ affinity for isolated alpine terrain with deep snow, and Crapster was part of a research team tracking the movements of both to learn if the traffic impacts the animals. He approached the two men to ask them to take a GPS along on their ride. One of them noticed his clipboard and cut him off before he could start: “I’m not carrying one.” Fortunately, such rejections are rare. About 90 percent of snowmobilers and skiers approached have taken the GPS units into the mountains. Since 2010, researchers have collected roughly 10,000 GPS tracks in the area. They’ve fitted 23 wolverines with radio-collars in those areas, including two in the Centennials. Eventually, they’ll compare the two datasets to see if the presence of people affects how the animals behave, reproduce and where they choose to live—things that could ultimately affect their survival. Wolverines are scrappy scavengers, generally weighing between 20 and 60 pounds, with stout legs, snowshoe-like paws and sharp claws that equip them for travel near the treeline. When a three- to four-foot dump overwhelmed the researchers’ snowmobiles… read more →
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