Brooke Palmer, a seasonal trapper with the Colorado Division of Wildlife holds a female Gunnison Sage-grouse. The grouse was trapped and collared for relocation to “seed” a satellite lek outside of the Gunnison Basin.
It’s been a long wait for a Gunnison Sage-grouse (GuS-g) listing decision and the Jan. 10 US Fish and Wildlife News Release didn’t surprise anyone close to the issue. The Service officially proposed listing the Gunnison Sage Grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In the News Release, the USFWS applauded local partners and agencies – and rightfully so, Gunnison formed a GuS-g working group years ago, bringing together the entire extended community where grouse habitat exists. Ranchers, conservation groups, Western State College, land managers, and government agencies are on the same page and managing the grouse as if they were already listed. Sisk-A-Dee is managing the public viewing blind and special events like the Gunnison Sage-grouse Festival so people actually have an opportunity to see and learn about the grouse.The ESA is a powerful tool and it’s not easy to get a species listed – there’s a long waiting list of “Warranted But Precluded” species deserving of ESA protection. But there are only 4,000 or so GuS-g’s left in the world, mostly in the Gunnison Basin, literally all of the eggs in one basket, so they had to be listed. (more…)
We went to see Chasing Ice at the Boulder Theatre last night – it’s the story of our time. James Balog inspires with his superhuman dedication to the story; and the footage, well you’ll just have to see it to believe it. Whether you’re a climate change believer or not, go see this movie! Afterwards, James (who lives in Boulder) came out and answered questions. He shared a message of hope in spite of what we had just witnessed. This was an event that we’ll never forget.
Vedauwoo Rocks and Aspen On a Cold Winter Morning. Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming
Absolute cold has a way of cleansing the soul unlike anything else – life’s distractions disappear like frozen breath in sub-zero air. Purity of light, true blue sky, hoar frost on grass, sage, and chaotic aspen branches, and the crunch of snow underfoot make these mornings memorable. The sun’s warmth in little alcoves out of the wind is surprising in spite of the -12 F temperature. The raven doesn’t care that it’s so cold, but does scold me when I skirt a giant boulder and come into view. Other than a few LBJ’s (little brown jobs) that burst from a shrub, the raven is the only creature moving. Deer, rabbit, and fox tracks give clues to some other residents – maybe I’ll spot them next time. I used to come here in my teens and still get the same feeling of discovery, wonder, and peace today.
I’ll be back with acclaimed photographer Michael Forsberg at one of the best venues in the land and we’ll photograph sandhill cranes in the San Luis Valey at the peak of the spring migration – when up to 27,000 cranes visit the valley! We’ll also explore the Zapata Preserve, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and more. It’s a great photo experience in a supportive environment – and Chef Mike’s meals are pretty awesome too. Click the link above if you’re intersted in joining us or just call (719) 378-2356 – 888-5-zapata (toll free) e: firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s official – The Trust For Public Land completed the purchase of PXP drilling leases in Noble Basin, the Upper Hoback River of the Wyoming Range. This is the single most important thing to happen in Western conservation in recent memory; not only because of the importance of this land to Greater Yellowstone, but for the way it happened – a grassroots effort that involved folks from across the spectrum, pulling together to preserve some of our Western heritage and create a lasting legacy. Thanks to TPL, TWS, WOC, Citizens For The Wyoming Range, Dan, Dave, Steff, Carl, and everyone who used your voice to stand for something so important. It’s a great day for Western conservation! The press release is here: (more…)
The first sunrise of the new year squeezes through a gap in the clouds to light the Flatirons. Boulder, Colorado
Partly because we could have the gargantuan vegetarian breakfast at Turley’s, we headed out with Abby the labby for a walk below the Flatirons to welcome in the new year. A simple study of a place that we love.
A look back at 2012 – in pictures of course Happy Holidays and here’s to a grand 2013!
“Lift Off” An adult bald eagle takes flight from a snag near Lake Derby. Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR, CO. This eagle landed to my south while I was facing north, aniticpating eagles returning to the roost in the evening. We spent a few minutes together before he left for the roost. I guess he was checking me out. Haliaeetus leucocephalus(more…)
Composite panorama of a ferruginous hawk in flight. Red Desert, Wyoming
I’ve been looking at this set of ferruginous hawk images for months, thinking there’s something interesting here beyond a single frame of a hawk in flight – which I’m still happy with because ferruginous hawks summer in Wyoming’s sagebrush deserts and they’re a Federally threatened species. I fooled around with a timelapse, but that didn’t work becasue the bird blipped up and down in the frame, which could induce nausea. Looking at the series of 22 images, there’s this flight sequence that looks really rhythmic and the backgrounds are almost the same blue. I’ll keep fooling with it to get the blues to the same tonality, but I’m pretty happy with this for now. What do you think?
Sage Spirit’s progress and success depends on having the financial resources to travel, make images, and bring the story to stakeholders across the U.S. Read more about this conservation project and donate here.