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NRDC Tour of Yellowstone's Whitebark Pine Ecosystem
Sarah Kuck, 21 Aug 08


Last night, I touched down just north of Jackson Hole, Wyo., in the Grand Tetons. The landing strip -- the only airport inside of a national park -- lies just within the shadow of the jagged mountain range.

I am headed to Yellowstone for a tour of the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem. Yellowstone is the world’s first national park, and one of the largest relatively intact temperate zone ecosystems left on Earth. It’s home to iconic species such as the Grizzly, Bison and elk; geologic features like geysers and hot springs; and the headwaters of the Yellowstone, Snake and Green rivers.

I’m about to learn a lot about this ecosystem, thanks to the Natural Resources Defense Council. The NRDC is hosting the tour to talk about how climate change is affecting the Whitebark Pine. They’ve worked diligently to convene a core group of scientists, conservationists and journalists here in the mountains to hold a weekend learning session about the ecosystem's values, threats and future.

From invasive species to snowpack melt, national parks like Yellowstone are quickly starting to feel the effects of climate change. Getting the best minds together to collaborate and share their ideas on how best to solve these problems is an impressive start to coming up with a solution. I’m looking forward to seeing what will come out of the weekend.

Tomorrow we’ll start by learning about the issues from the field’s top scientists. Then we’ll embark on a two day backpacking journey into the park to see the ecosystem and its challenges first hand.

But tonight there’s Dubois, population 952. The former timber town is now home mostly to transient communities of artists and tourists. I was told that Dubois, unlike overrun, expensive Jackson Hole, is where to go to get a true taste of Wyoming. I’m just happy that the Stagecoach Motor Inn has wireless.

Photo credit: Flickr/Stuck in Customs, licensed by Creative Commons.

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This sounds GREAT! So nice to see that finally, after decades of neglect, someone is taking natural resources conservation seriously! Enjoy your trip!

Posted by: Hayden Hughes on 22 Aug 08

Could at least one of the causes of life and the Earth, as we know them, "going to hell in a handbasket" be that the all-too-human global political economy is constructed as a perpetual motion machine and operated as a colossal pyramid scheme?

Posted by: Steven Earl Salmony on 24 Aug 08

As described above, please note that the 'perpetual motion machine' is unsustainable in its current form and its operation as a colossal pyramid scheme is also unsustainable. Neither the present form nor the functioning of the global economy responds to the practical requirements of Earth's limitations as a relatively small, evidently finite, noticeably frangible planetary home.

Posted by: Steven Earl Salmony on 25 Aug 08



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