Saturday, March 28, 2009

Recent backcountry news

A federal judge granted an injunction against the new regulations allowing concealed carry of loaded weapons in National Parks (story). The NRA has already filed to remove the injunction. I discussed this previously and I hope the injunction stands and that ready to use weapons continue to be forbidden in Parks. I am in favor of the gun restriction primarily for resource protection. Poaching of Park animals occurs despite the laws against killing them; I know some people will continue to bring loaded weapons into Parks and I see the restrictive gun rule as some protection.

I'm very much in favor of wild wolves living in backcountry areas of Washington state. Like many, I was happy to hear Canadian wolves had colonized areas of the Methow River area. Now it appears that at least one of the wolves was killed by locals. I know anti-wolf sentiment is strong among some people but I hope not the majority of people in the US.

More positively for wolf recovery, the Pt. Defiance Zoo is expanding its captive breeding program for red wolves. This should allow more animals to re-introduce into native habitat in the southeastern US.

A bill sponsored by several members of the Washington Congressional delegation proposes to expand the wilderness area of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area and designate two rivers as 'wild and scenic'. The Alpine Lakes is an extremely popular area for backcountry recreation and since it is close to the Seattle Metropolitan area, is heavily used. Expanding the Wilderness area will hopefully protect more of this very scenic area from overuse and development.

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