New Heathens

More Good News From British Columbia

Time to check in with a couple homestate issues close to my heart that I keep tabs on in this blog.

In addition to the great US performances at the Olympics in Vancouver (and, seriously, Shaun White was amazing), there is more great stuff to report from British Columbia.

You may recall me blogging about possible Canadian coal mining in the North Fork of the Flathead river drainage putting sensitive bull trout habitat at risk. The North Fork of the Flathead starts in British Columbia and flows across the US border into Montana where it forms the Western boundary of Glacier National Park before joining two other Flathead River forks and eventually pouring into Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi.

This week Canadian Premier Gordon Campbell announced that the Canadian side of the Flathead River drainage is now off-limits to mining and hydrocarbon development.

Montana's two senators (the much-beat-up-about-health-care) Max Baucus and Jon Tester will write a bill for our side of the border to also protect Flathead's North Fork.

As someone who visits the North Fork annually, and an enthusiastic angler who has been delighted the couple times he's caught a bull trout, I am thrilled about this news.

North Fork, Summer 2009

Meanwhile, progress on protecting America's last wild, free-roaming bison herd, Yellowstone's, took a step back. Marty Zaluski, head of Montana's Department of Livestock, announced that the agency would go back on its plan of allowing an unlimited number of bison to cross out of the park's border in the winter in search of food at the less-snowy lower-elevations to the west.

Sorry guys.

At issue here is that some Yellowstone bison carry the disease brucellosis, which can cause cows to abort their fetuses. However there are zero cows in the area in which Yellowstone's bison would cross, and there has never been a documented instance of a buffalo giving brucellosis to a cow.

I follow this issue closely.

I think we need to put Shaun White in charge of bison management in America.

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  1. Nate, thanks for the update on issues that matter to many of us. That's great news about North Fork and what an awesome picture! Shaun White for Bison Management? You got my vote!

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